by Joel Comiskey
I was recently in a mega church in southern Califorina which had positioned their cells for community. As I spoke to the senior staff, I told them they were aiming too low. While I applauded their emphasis on community, I reminded them that true community gives itself away to those who need it most–those without Jesus. They excitedly received my words and admitted the lack of evangelism in their small group ministry.
One common thread among the growing cell churches around the world is cell evangelism. Each cell at Cho’s church has the goal of winning two people to Jesus each year. If the goal is not met, the leader goes up to prayer mountian to pray and fast for its fulfillment. I’ve attended a couple cells at the International Charismatic Mission in Bogota and they are primarily evangelistic. We’ve heard repeatedly from Mario Vega about the evangelistic thrust of Elim’s cell groups. I’ve heard Mario say over and over that cells at Elim exist to evangelize. One exciting cell church in U.S. is pastored by Rob Reimer. Here’s what I said about his church The Church that Multiplies:
Rob Reimer, founding pastor of South Shore Community Church in New England, is a great example of cell evangelism. Reimer says, “Something is unhealthy about cells that don’t reach people. In my experience, every church that tries to transition to the cell church strategy and fails, misses this key point of evangelism. Some churches compromise this principle and multiply cells through transfer growth. It is an unforgivable cell church sin.” Rob Reimer doesn’t want his cells to multiply unless they have reached new people for Christ. The cell members are instructed to get to know non-Christians, and they do that through a variety of means. Above all, Reimer exemplifies the evangelism fervor he wants others to follow. He writes, “I’m passionate about reaching lost people, and I preach it and model it. If the senior pastor doesn’t preach it, bleed it, and model it, people will listen to what he says, and do what he does! He has to lead the way.”
Cell evangelism helps each member to exercise his or her muscles and grow in the process. Just like Paul says in Philemons, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (v.6). When we reach out we grow in our own faith. Cell evangelism also gives the group a purpose beyond itself. Close fellowship and community, in other words, occurs in the process of reaching out, just like soliders at war who grow in comraderie in the process defeating the enemy and winning the battle.
But what about you? Why do you believe evangelism is important in cell ministry?