It’s a Two Way Street

By Michael Sove

Celebration and cells are the two wings that the cell church uses to soar as God intended it to soar.  I like the quote by J.I. Packer who writes:  “. . . I go around telling people that if they’re not with the whole congregation on Sunday, and in the small group somewhere during the week, their Christian lives are unbalanced.”

Because both the celebration and cell work together and are equally important we do all we can to make connection between the two.  Everything you do at celebration should support the cell and everything you do at cell should support the celebration.  People will flow in both directions as well.  Some will come to cell and then flow toward celebration and others will come to celebration and flow toward cell.  “It’s a two way street.”

Here are some of the ways we connect cell to celebration:

  • Cell Spots – We will often use video testimonies from people in our life groups during our celebration services.  We want people to see that lives are being changed and exciting things are happening in our Life Groups.
  • Cell Group Tags – Everyone who is in a cell wears a tag, which says “Ask me about Neighborhood Life.”  We have three services and we want people to be able to see potential people to connect with before and after services who are not in a cell.
  • Invitation Before Final Prayer – Before I close the service in prayer I invite people to our cells by drawing attention to the tag I’m wearing and invite them to connect to one of our cells by finding someone with a tag or coming out to our cell booth for further information.
  • Cell Booth or Rack on Wall – We have a rack on the wall, which is very visible as you move toward the worship center that holds cards for all our cell groups.  These have the basic meeting information as well as a photo of the cell leaders.  This is also the place where cell agendas and other information related to cells can be picked up.
  • “Meeters” – We work real hard at connecting new guests to cell members.  We have found that face to face contact is really important in trying to connect people to cells.  If they just pick up a list or receive a phone call from a stranger they are less likely to go to cell quickly.  So after our staff meeting on Tuesday we contact cell “meeters” who will be available after a service to meet new guests from previous weeks we’ve potentially targeted for them.  As cell pastor I play match maker here and it really works.  No guarantee they’ll come to cell but it begins to build a potential relationship.
  • Connection Week – Every month the first Sunday through the following Saturday is called “Connection Week.”  All our cells hold events or throw parties with the intention of inviting unconnected guests as well as unchurched friends.  We are able to use that as another way to invite people to connect.  I have stories of people who first came to a party and later got saved and are now leading cells.  This monthly “Connection Week” is a big momentum builder.  Before you ask, our cells meet three weeks for normal cell gatherings and one week for parties or events.  Usually the parties or events are held on the weekend and not the normal cell night as guests are more likely to come to a weekend event. 
  • Sermon Illustrations – If you are the one preaching on Sunday do all you can whenever you can to talk cell values and illustrate from your cell experiences.  You have the chance every week to make a connection between your message topic and some aspect of cell life.
  • Invite Cards – Not only do we have good information in a very visible spot for people to pick up in relation to interest in cell groups and also attempt to match potential people, but all cell leaders have invite cards (business cards) that they pass out to their cell members so that their cell members can give invites both in the celebration and outside the building.
  • Music & Message Application– This doesn’t have to do with people but it is a powerful way to connect celebration and cell.  We have provided acoustic versions of our celebration music to all our cell groups.  This works both ways to enhance worship.  The songs that people are familiar with during worship are now recognized in cell and helps with cell worship.   Then when they come to celebration they are very familiar with the songs and are able to enter into worship.  Obviously if you can apply in cell what you are hearing on Sunday, this goes a long way in connecting these two aspects.  We don’t always apply the Sunday messages but in certain series we do and it enhances connection between what is happening in celebration and cell. 

These are just a few of the ways to make a connection between the two wings of the church.  Do whatever you can to support the cell while at celebration services and whatever you can at celebration services to support cells.  “It’s a two way street.”

What other ideas do you have and what have you tried to connect the two?

Michael

3 thoughts on “It’s a Two Way Street

  • I’m curious about the “two-way street” principle of this column, vs. the fact that all but one of your tactics are designed to draw Celebration attenders into Cell.
    Is this because you’ve discovered that more people enter your community through Celebration vs. Cell? Is it because it’s a more labour-intensive exercise to move people from Celebration>Cell, compared to Cell>Celebration?
    It sounds to me like your experience is much like our own: people entering the community from both streams, but the Celebration>Cell extension seems like a harder adjustment for people to make, compared to those who attend Cell first.
    Thank you for these ideas; I particularly like the week4 Party strategy.

    Ian

  • This is the blog I was waiting for and very much appreciate you taking such pains in detail to tell us what you are doing at Allen Memorial. I still share the pictures you gave us a while back that show the cell table and materials table you use. Keep inspiring us with you example!

  • When I use the two way street language I’m focusing on the fact that each element needs to support and feed the other element. Yes I focused more on what we can to in Celebration to draw people to cell because in our experience the majority come to celebration first and then make their way to cell. I also emphasized celebration to cell because many people and leaders miss the power of what can be done weekly to bridge the gap.

    Thanks for your response Ian!

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