Worship, Passion, and Missions

joelGreat weekend of ministry at Vineyard of Harvest in Walnut, CA. This is a dynamic Chinese Church that forms part of the Vineyard movement. Their cell church influence comes mainly from Lawrence Khong (Faith Community Baptist altarChurch) and Larry Kreider’s house to house ministry.

As I ate dinner with the pastors, the lead pastor, Kenneth Kwan, admitted to me that they’ve neglected the cell emphasis and need to get back on track. VOH has an exquisite building in a wealthy area of southern CA, and they realize that God is calling them to send people from their building to penetrate the community through multiplying cells. As I ministered at VOH, I noted three top-notch qualities:

Worship: What powerful worship! Of course, the Vineyard is known for great worship, and this church certainly follows that tradition. Those in the congregation aren’t afraid to outwardly express their inward convictions. I was pleasantly surpised to see pastor Kwan grab a banner and march in front of the congregation, along with the others who were waving banners as part of worship. Dynamic! This church believes that ministry flows from the heart of God. Cell leaders and members are encouraged through dynamic worship. Cells, in fact, are the conduits of the Spirt’s grace and power.

Passion: Pastor Kwan speaks and preaches like a fiery southern Baptist preacher. Booming voice, passionate delivery. He stirs people to action. After his passionate introduction of me on Friday night, I felt stirred with enthusiasm. Kwan’s early passion and zeal comes from an encounter he had at John Wimber’s “signs and wonders” conference in 1988. Then in 1991, he planted VOH.

Missions: VOH holds a yearly mission conference to keep the fire burning for worldwide outreach. I spoke on the missional task of raising up an army of harvest workers and the worldwide cell church movement. VOH sends teams all over the world, has planted five churches, and believes missions must be at the core of all they do and say.

Two questions (feel free to answer one or both):

1. Which of these three characteristics (worship, passion, and missions) do you feel is the most necessary to make cell ministry work effectively?

2. Which of these these three characteristics is your church lacking the most?

3 thoughts on “Worship, Passion, and Missions

  • In adapting cell principles to midwestern United Methodist Churches, I separated the ministry of the church into two segments, like a body has the left hand and the right hand. You need both.

    In this peculiar way of looking at cell ministry, worship, passion and mission are all concerns of the “temple” or church system; that is their proper place and they should receive a priority. The inspiring emphasis on worship, passion and mission in the church will fire up the members to serve Christ.

    The primary if not the only concern of the cells is evangelism (Matthew 28:19); that is their purpose, along with equipping new disciples to become disciple makers (Matthew 28:20).

    The “church system” conducts worship and provides all the services of a mother church. The “discipleship system” does evangelism and equipping through cells. The two are very different, again like left hand/right hand, left brain/right brain.

    Therefore, to answer the question from this peculiar viewpoint:

    1. Which of these three characteristics (worship, passion, and missions) do you feel is the most necessary to make cell ministry work effectively?

    None. If the focus on evangelism in the cells is lost, all is lost. A “simple and clear definition of a cell church: ‘a church that has placed evangelistic small groups at the core of its ministry.’ The word “evangelistic” is crucial to this definition.” It’s important that the priority within the cell remain evangelism, and this can be a challenge when there are many distractions.

    2. Which of these these three characteristics is your church lacking the most?
    All three of them, but we are doing better at missions than worship or passion. I admire and respect the excellent example set by churches like Vineyard of Harvest and hope to learn from it.

  • Thanks, David, as always. VOH was a church that was doing really well on the celebration side of the cell church but had de-emphasized cell ministry and needed to get back on track. Thus, your comments are right on. I would say that PASSION is essential at both a cell and celebration level. I also believe that MISSIONS is part of the AIR of the cell church (I include prayer in that category). Thanks for reminding us of the importance of evangelism in the cell. I would only add evangelism that leads to multiplication–otherwise you can have a lot of BIG cells. . .

  • I felt that my post might have been a bit too direct – there is so much to admire in churches like VOH.

    But from my reading in the literature of the cell church movement, my soapbox is the difficulty of keeping the cells focused on evangelism and it’s one of the little speeches that come out of me automatically.

    In my trying to bring cell church principles to my ministry setting, I found it helpful to dramatically separate the two – the church system and the cell system – for two reasons.

    First, by setting up the cell system to run on a parallel, independent track and not trying to change the traditional church (at first), I believe we can avoid systemic resistance that would interfere with the cell system and prevent it from being effective. It would therefore spread like leaven and not be squashed by the traditional church within it was taking root.

    Second, there is so much drift in small groups to become like little traditional churches, and by trying to keep them focused on evangelism, I hoped to prevent that drift. Even when the model is as fine a church as VOH.

    As for evangelism that leads to multiplication, I personally don’t believe that it’s possible to have genuine evangelism that doesn’t automatically eventually lead to multiplication. We can talk more about this if you wish.

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