by Joel Comiskey
As I was giving announcements during our Sunday celebration service this morning at Wellspring, I reminded those present that Christmas is an opportune time to share the good news of Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. I reminded them that our LIFE groups (Living in Fellowship to Evangelize) are not just for community and one-another ministry, but to give away that community to a hurting, dying world. I also encouraged everyone to invite an unchurched person next Sunday to the celebration service on December 20. “Many unchurched people still feel a religious obligation to attend church on Christmas, so please invite them to our celebration gathering next Sunday morning,” I told them.
I was reminded afresh that the cell church is made up of both wings, cell and celebration. We see this two-wing dynamic in Acts 2:42-47 when the early church met together in the temple courts (large group expression) and from house to house (small group expression). We see this same structure in Acts 5:42, ï»¿ “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Again in Acts 20:20, Paul says, “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.”
Both wings of the cell church play their essential part. For some people, the larger setting is the best introduction to the gospel message, while then being invited into the circle of warm relationship and support through cell ministry. For others their introduction to the gospel is through a small group of believers in their neighborhood, and they are then invited to the larger celebration service.
There are different times in the life of a church when one wing is emphasized over another. During the initial process of planting a cell church, for example, the cell is emphasized over the celebration. The opposite is true when transitioning from a traditional church to a cell church (see my video on this topic). Nevertheless, both cell and celebration play an essential role in cell church ministry. Bill Beckham says, “The cell church is balanced between corporate community and cell community: between a large-group expression and a small-group expression.”