While speaking at Bethel Community Church yesterday, I reminded the participants that community and evangelism go hand in hand. For part of the time I talked about the need to build a sense of family in the cell, pointing out that many lonely immigrants were pouring into the greater New York/Newark area. “People are lonely and looking for community and a sense of belonging,” I told the 800 pastors and leaders present. During the seminar, I also talked about evangelism and outreach with the vision of raising up a new leader. In other words, community and evangelism are different sides of the same coin.
Research and experience show that better, more biblical community develops when a cell reaches out to non-Christians. The newer person actually adds to the growth of the believers in the group by giving them an opportunity to ministerâ€”and thus grow.
When a small group has a common evangelistic objective, it starts working together to accomplish a goal. The common objective creates a unity and camaraderie. Everyone gets involvedâ€”from the person who invites the guests to the one who provides refreshments to the one who leads the discussion. The team plans, strategizes, and finds new contacts together.
The friendship and love (community) develops in the process of reaching out as a group to non-Christians. Today’s broken society desperately needs a loving family. How will people find it unless small groups who are living in community are willing to spread it?
The cry of the lost drives cells to share their rich community rather than hoarding it among themselves. When multiplication takes place, new groups are available for lost people to receive wholeness.