Connecting Celebrations to Cells

by Jeff Tunnell

This area of Cell-based ministry requires thoughtfulness, diligence and a good system. Frankly, I am looking forward to Michael Sove’s blog this week because as the Cell Pastor at Allen Memorial Baptist he has a good working model of all three of these requirements.

In connecting Celebrations to Cells I believe we need to foster an acute awareness of visitors in our Celebrations.  God has led them to join us, whether once or for a few weeks.  Jesus states in John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”  Our theology reminds us that a visitor is not acting alone, but in fact the Father is trying to connect them to His Body.  What must we do to accommodate their visit?  How will we offer a simple, friendly connection to the family of God?  Who will take them into their cell?  What must we have prepared in advance to greet them with the love of Jesus? How will we direct them toward a cell group, or its leader, in a beneficial way?

Some of the answers will be in printed material, such as brochures, bulletins, maps, banners, etc.  Other answers will only be achieved by mobilizing people to do the work of ministry in each Celebration offered by the cell-based congregation.  Developing the “acute awareness” will be the responsibility of leadership within sermons, illustrations, leadership meetings and personal examples.   These are my thoughts today, what are yours?

Harvest Events

joelChristmas is coming soon, and it’s a great time to reach out. Some unchurched people feel a responsibility to fulfill their religious duties during the Christmas season and are willing to attend a Christmas cell or celebration event.

The beauty of cell church ministry is the use of both wings to evangelize (cell and celebration). I’ve written a lot  lately about the role of the cell in evangelism, but what about  celebration outreach?

In the early church, God granted a gigantic celebration harvest when three thousand were added on one occassion, five thousand on another, and we read in Acts 2:47, “. . . the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Sometimes people prefer to come to a celebration event first. They’ve been befriended by someone in a cell or just heard about the church’s Sunday celebration service. Faith Community Baptist Church in Singapore uses annual “harvest events” to evangelize the lost. In December, they have designed an evangelistic event called “Come Celebrate Christmas.”  Rob Reimer, pastor of a cell church in New England, preaches an evangelistic message on grace about 8-10 times a year. He told me,  “Most of our evangelism growth occurs through the cells – that is, people from the cells, doing teamwork evangelism, bring people to church.  But, usually their first exposure to a ‘Church’ experience is Sunday morning worship.”

About a month ago, Nancy, a single mom living in Moreno Valley, saw Wellspring’s sign on Sunday outside our rented public middle school and decided to attend. She liked the worship service and  has been coming back ever since. My wife befriended Nancy after the service and invited Nancy to attend her women’s LIFE group on Wednesday afternoon. She came to the LIFE group and loved it.

One Southern Baptist pastor said to me, “I train our cell leaders to be ready to pounce on every visitor in the church. Our cell leaders immediately try to assimilate the newcomers by inviting them to their cell groups.”  You don’t have to “pounce” on visitors but it is important to love and eventually invite them to the cell.

Christmas day this year (Saturday) is sandwiched between two Sunday services, so it’s a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors. How are you planning to reach your non-Christian or unchurched contacts this year? Don’t miss this opportunity to reach out through the cell or celebration.

Joel

Minimizing the Hindrances to Multiplication

By Michael Sove

I just finished telling my wife, “Its not rocket science.”  It’s not that complex when I think about the times we were able to multiply our cell and the times we were stuck and not able to multiply.  It all comes down to minimizing the hindrances.

#1  Lack of Passion for Unconnected / Unchurched People –  Prayer is the foundation for multiplication.  Every week we pray over the open chair.  We are forever asking God to fill the open chair with people of His choosing.  We ask God to give us eyes to see the people He would have us reach out to.  Our target is those without Christ as well as those who are in the church but not connected to a cell.

#2  Lack of Vision for Multiplication – From the day you begin your cell you should be talking about the need to grow and multiply so that more people can be reached, discipled and released.  Multiplication should not come as a surprise but an expectation.  You need to cast vision for the harvest.  We must make more room for more people to experience what we have come to love.

#3  Lack of Growth in Numbers – You can’t multiply a cell that has no growth.  One of the quickest ways to grow is to continue to invite new people.  The core team members and I make it a goal to invite new people weekly.  As more and more people are added to the cell there is a sense that something is happening, a built in multiplication expectation.

#4  Lack of Trained Leaders – One of the major hindrances to multiplication is the lack of trained leaders.  Just because a cell grows doesn’t mean automatic multiplication.  Multiplication depends upon trained leaders who can plant new cells or help you multiply the existing cell.  Train all cell members who are willing to be trained.

#5  Lack of Delegation and Using the Gifts of All – Another hindrance to multiplication is thinking everything depends on you and failing to utilize the giftedness of all the members.  When you utilize the giftedness of all you are indirectly preparing your cell for multiplication.  As people experience the blessing of being released into ministry, more will be willing to be trained and released to cell leadership.

Minimize the hindrances and you will maximize the multiplication opportunities!

What other hindrances to multiplication would you add to the list above?

Michael