by Joel Comiskey
Even though prayer is primary in the evangelization of lost souls, God uses human beings to reach unbelievers. And while it’s true that only God can regenerate someone, He uses people to plant and water.
Cell groups and cell churches primarily focus on building relationships (oikos connections) in the process of sowing the seed. Meeting needs is also a critical component of softening hardened ground. But what about other evangelistic techniques? What are some of the additional ways cells reach out?
My personal conviction is this: Do whatever it takes to win people to Jesus. I’ve coached some cell pastors who limited themselves evangelistically, thinking that cells and cell churches only practice certain types of evangelism. One cell church pastor, for example, limited himself by ONLY spending months and months getting to know a few non-Christians. He thought this was the only way cell churches COULD evangelize (i.e., other methods were “against the rules”).
I told him to open his mind and methods by starting a food pantry, passing out fliers, and any other evangelistic method that worked in his community. I shared with him other methods that cells have used effectively such as:
- Special dinners or potlucks. Remember that Jesus was always eating with peopleâ€”often in their homes.
- Moving the cell from house to house. This is an excellent way to attract visitors. When a cell member hosts the meeting in his or her home, that member’s friends and family are more likely to attend.
- Video in the cell. Some have used the Jesus video or parts of a secular video with a specific purpose in mind (e.g., Shindler’s List)
- Sports event. One cell leader in Portland, Oregon said in one of my seminars: “We as a cell group plan an evangelistic outreach every six weeks. We’ll go to a Portland Trailblazer basketball game or something else at least every six weeks. In this way, we’re constantly reaching out and befriending non-Christians. Without regularity, we find we lose persistency.”
- Interest/share groups. Ralph Neighbour has developed and tested materials to prepare members to start 12 week outreach groups to reach non-Christians.
- Witness-Works time. Use the Witness/Works time to talk about cell outreach or plan for a future multiplication. Laurence Singlehurst (Cell UK) has developed excellent materials to enhance this aspect of the cell.
Many cell churches also reach out via the celebration service, planning 2-4 harvest events each year. The cells are mobilized to invite their non-Christian contacts and follow-up visitors and new converts.
Cell churches are uniquely positioned to reach out through a wide variety of methods. What method (s) has worked best for you? What are you currently doing to reach out?