by Joel Comiskey
We as Christians believe that apart from Jesus Christ, there is no hope. We believe people are going to hell without the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. And we also know that we have the good news to share, so people can go to heaven. This reality stirs believers to share the gospel at every opportunity. But there’s another important factor for sharing the gospel: spiritual growth. That is, we become more like Jesus (better disciples) as we share the gospel.
Paul the apostle sums up the idea of growth through evangelism when writing to a house church in the first century. Paul said, “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” (Philemon verse 6). We do need to share the gospel individually, but we also need to practice group evangelism since all the New Testament letters were written to house churches. When Jesus told his disciples that he would make them fishers of men, he was referring to netfishing, or cell evangelism. As we reach out as a group, we enter into a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. We grow in our understanding of the incredible good news of the gospel, and how it is the power of God to transform each and every person, no matter how far away that person is from God.
When the group only focuses on fellowship, it is missing an important aspect of spiritual growth and failing to take the group members to the next level. In fact, the very process of cell evangelism brings spiritual growth, not just when someone comes to the group or receives Jesus. I encourage cell groups to pray for non-Christians each week and plan ways to reach out, even if those evangelism attempts don’t bring much fruit. Remember that in the process of reaching out, group members will grow in discipleship. And of course, when the fruit comes, the excitement level rises. I think of James, a new believer, who has brought a new level of excitement to our cell and celebration because of his child-like joy.
In June on the JCG blog, we’ll write about what it means to grow in discipleship through group evangelism. Experienced cell church pastors will write 25 blogs on this topic during the month of May. We’ll cover:
- Week 1 (June 02-8) Growing in discipleship through group outreach. Some people excuse themselves from evangelism, saying “I just don’t have the gift of evangelism” or “I don’t do small groups.” Yet, we need to realize that group evangelism makes us more like Jesus and helps us to become better disciples.
- Week 2 (June 09-15) Netfishing. In societies that are more individualistic (the West), we equate evangelism with personally going out and sharing the faith. I do believe in personal sharing, but we also need to realize that Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were writing to house churches when they wrote about evangelism. Sharing the gospel as a group not only strengthens the faith of each member, but it also brings the new believer into a family of faith–rather than trying to follow-up after someone “accepts Jesus.”
- Week 3 (June 16-22) Developing Relationships. The early church primarily evangelized through the network of close contacts which mainly included the extended family (oikos). The best cell evangelism happens when each member is encouraged to pray for close contacts (family, friends, work associates), serve those close contacts, and eventually invite them to a cell activity.
- Week 4 (June 23-29) Authentic sharing as a group. Evangelism in a small group involves authentic transparency which means taking off the masks and letting others see what’s really happening. Authenticity helps members to deal with anger, marriage conflict, or accountability to have personal devotions. Transparency is a powerful evangelistic tool because it helps non-Christians understand that they don’t have to be perfect to come to Jesus and that accepting Jesus is the first step in the process of following him. It also helps the members of the group grow in their own faith.
- Week 5 (June 30-July 06) Outreach Activities. Cell members grow in their faith through a variety of outreach activities, which include praying for the lost, picnics, barbecues, handing out fliers, and social outreach (e.g., acts of kindness). The cell group plans for these activities and in the process each member grows in his or her faith. It’s wonderful when God brings the fruit, but small groups need to be faithful to practice cell evangelism, knowing that group members grow in the process of reaching out.
Please share how your group is practicing cell evangelism.
Nosotros, como cristianos, creemos que aparte de Jesucristo, no hay esperanza. Creemos que la gente va al infierno sin el conocimiento del salvador Jesucristo. Y tambiÃ©n sabemos que tenemos buenas noticias para compartir, as que la gente puede ir al cielo. Esta realidad mueve a los creyentes a compartir el evangelio en cada oportunidad. Pero hay otro factor importante para compartir el evangelio: el crecimiento espiritual. Es decir, nos parecemos mÃ¡s a JesÃºs (mejores discpulos) al compartir el evangelio.
El apÃ³stol Pablo resume la idea de crecimiento a travÃ©s de la evangelizaciÃ³n al escribir a una iglesia en casa en el primer siglo. Pablo dijo: “Oro para que la participaciÃ³n de tu fe sea eficaz en el conocimiento de todo el bien que estÃ¡ en vosotros por Cristo JesÃºs” (FilemÃ³n 1:6). Necesitamos compartir el evangelio de forma individual, pero tambiÃ©n tenemos que evangelizar en grupo ya que todas las cartas del Nuevo Testamento fueron escritas hacia iglesias en casas. Cuando JesÃºs dijo a sus discpulos que Ã©l los har¬a pescadores de hombres, Ã©l se refera a la red de pescar o evangelismo celular. Cuando evangelizamos como un grupo, entramos en una comprensiÃ³n completa de todo lo bueno que tenemos en Cristo. Crecemos en nuestra comprensiÃ³n de la increble buena noticia del Evangelio, y cÃ³mo es el poder de Dios para transformar a cada persona, no importa lo lejos que esa persona este de Dios.
Cuando el grupo se centra Ãºnicamente en el compaÃ±erismo, le falta un aspecto importante del crecimiento espiritual y falla en tomar a los miembros del grupo al siguiente nivel. De hecho, el proceso mismo de la evangelizaciÃ³n celular trae crecimiento espiritual, no sÃ³lo cuando alguien se acerca al grupo o recibe a JesÃºs. Animo a los grupos celulares a orar por los inconversos cada semana y planear formas de alcance, aunque esos intentos de evangelizaciÃ³n no traigan mucho fruto. Recuerda que en el proceso de alcance, los miembros del grupo crecerÃ¡n en el discipulado. Y por supuesto, cuando el fruto viene, el nivel de emociÃ³n aumenta. Pienso en Santiago, un nuevo creyente, quien ha trado un nuevo nivel de emociÃ³n a nuestra cÃ©lula y la celebraciÃ³n a causa de su alegra en Cristo.
En el mes de junio en el blog de JCG, vamos a escribir acerca de lo que significa crecer en el discipulado a travÃ©s del evangelismo en grupo. Pastores experimentados de la iglesia celular van escribir 25 blogs sobre este tema durante el mes de junio. Vamos a cubrir:
â€¢ Semana 1 (Junio 02-08) Creciendo en el discipulado a travÃ©s del alcance en grupo. Algunas personas se excusan del evangelismo, diciendo: “Yo no tengo el don del evangelismo” o “Yo no hago grupos pequeÃ±os.” Sin embargo, debemos darnos cuenta que la evangelizaciÃ³n en grupo nos hace mÃ¡s semejantes a JesÃºs y nos ayuda a ser mejores discpulos.
â€¢ Semana 2 (Junio 09-15) Red de Pesca. En sociedades mÃ¡s individualistas (Occidente), igualamos el evangelismo con salir personalmente y compartir la fe. Yo s creo en el evangelismo personal, pero tambiÃ©n tenemos que darnos cuenta que JesÃºs y los escritores del Nuevo Testamento estaban escribiendo a las iglesias en las casas cuando escribieron acerca de la evangelizaciÃ³n. Compartir el Evangelio como un grupo no sÃ³lo fortalece la fe de cada miembro, sino que tambiÃ©n trae el nuevo creyente a una familia en la fe—en lugar de tratar de seguir despuÃ©s de que alguien “acepta a JesÃºs.”
â€¢ Semana 3 (Junio 16-22) Desarrollando relaciones. La primera iglesia evangelizÃ³ principalmente a travÃ©s de la red de contactos cercanos. El mejor evangelismo celular ocurre, cuando se anima a cada miembro a orar por los contactos cercanos (familia, amigos, compaÃ±eros de trabajo), sirvir a los contactos cercanos y, eventualmente, invitarlos a una actividad en la cÃ©lula.
â€¢ Semana 4 (Junio 23-29) Compartiendo autÃ©nticamente como un grupo. El evangelismo en un grupo pequeÃ±o implica autÃ©ntica transparencia que significa quitarse las mÃ¡scaras y dejar que los demÃ¡s vean lo que realmente estÃ¡ sucediendo. La autenticidad ayuda a los miembros hacer frente a la ira, conflictos del matrimonio, o la responsabilidad de tener devociones personales. La transparencia es una poderosa herramienta de evangelizaciÃ³n, ya que ayuda a los inconversos a entender que ellos no tienen que ser perfectos para venir a JesÃºs, y que aceptar a JesÃºs es el primer paso en el proceso a seguirlo. TambiÃ©n ayuda a los miembros del grupo a crecer en su propia fe.
â€¢ Semana 5 (Junio 30-Julio 06) Actividades de alcance. Los miembros de la cÃ©lula van a crecer en su fe a travÃ©s de una variedad de actividades de alcance, que incluyen orar por los perdidos, picnics, parrilladas, repartir volantes y proyecciÃ³n social (por ejemplo, los actos de bondad). El grupo celular planea para estas actividades y en el proceso cada miembro crece en su fe. Es maravilloso cuando Dios trae el fruto, pero los grupos pequeÃ±os tienen que ser fieles al practicar el evangelismo celular, sabiendo que los miembros del grupo crecen en el proceso de alcance.
Por favor comparta cÃ³mo su grupo estÃ¡ practicando el evangelismo celular.
6 thoughts on “Growth through Cell Evangelism”
es muy importante estas enseÃ±ansa,y practicarla par que el seÃ±or haga la obra en cada uno de nosotros,DIOS los bendiga y que su gracia,y su favor,sea con cada uno de ustedes en el precioso nombre de cristojesus.
Dear Joel: Below is a very long explanation of some of the training and some of the results of what a team of us from Campus Crusade has been doing in Africa. If you can use any of the information feel free to cut and paste. I typed some of the following in an outline format and transfered it here. The format did not transfer well. In Him, Ted Martin Keep up the good work.
This is Ted Martin. We are now living in the Phoenix area of Arizona. I am still working with Campus Crusade for Christ International. I am on your email blogs list, so I keep up with what is happening with the cell church movement and am involved in promoting it.
I am working with a group of about six men plus wives called ILA (International Leadership Academies). In Africa where we are working at the present time we have a program that they call TLM (Transformational Leadership Movement). For example in Ethiopia we trained about 30 people in our First Generation. (Approximately 5 from 6 different cities) Our team trains the first generation. They then train a second generation that the recruit and train in what they have been trained and put into practice.. Each first-generation person gets about 5 each in their second generation. That would be about 25 in each of the 6 cities. The second generation, trains a third generation, who then trains a fourth generation. Thus far there are about 1000 trainees in the four generations in Ethiopia. The first generation training is in English, the second usually in Amharic the national language, some of the third and fourth generation people sometimes are trained even in additional languages. Our team trains in different things, but several courses are not limited to the Leadership group, but are taught in the local churches to the people in the churches. Two of these have been very successful. One such course is â€œLife Groupsâ€ (the name used for cell groups). And one is called â€œPrayer, Care, Shareâ€. It teaches the people in the churches and in the Life Groups how to reach out evangelistically and bring people to the Lord and into the Life Groups (or start new ones).
With your emphasis this month on evangelism through cell groups I thought that I would send you a little information below on how we train group members to do evangelism. Then I will give you some reports from some African countries on some of their results.
This is basically The Prayer, Care, Share Training
Training in: The Great Commandment: Love God, Love Others (Our Motivation)
& The Great Commission: Go, Make Disciples (Everybodyâ€™s Task not just fulltime workers)
Training in: Where do you get these disciples? From your 5 circles of relationships: relatives, close friends, fellow workers/students, close neighbors, acquaintances. To begin, choose 5 people from these 5 circles who: donâ€™t know the Lord, that live in the local area, and you think would be most open. Put them in your journal and begin praying for their salvation and open hearts.
Training in what to do with the 5 you start with:
What do you do? Prayer
Go to them and make personal contact.
Tell them that you like to pray for people; Ask are there any things you could be praying for, for them.
Make a list and tell them you will be praying for them.
Faithfully be praying for these people and their requests
Keep in contact (perhaps weekly) to see how it is going in the areas prayed for, and find additional areas.
Training in what to do next with the 5 you are praying for:
What do you do? Care.
As you are praying for the people, do things that show care for them. (At the end of the explanation of the training is a possible list thing people have done to show care for people in African Cultures.)
As you are contacting people to get their updated prayer requests, show care by asking them questions about themselves, their story of their background, their lives, their family members and their names, their work, etc.
Training in what to do as people become open and receptive to you and ask about you.
What to do? Share: Share your story. Share Godâ€™s story
Share your story:
Prepare your own personal story (testimony) not more than 5 minutes, following this outline.
Before: What my live was like before I put my faith in Christ as Lord and Savior
How: How I met Christ: heard to gospel. How I put my faith in Him.
After: How my life has changed since I put my faith in Christ and began to obey Him.
Work together in teams of two or three to prepare your story. Give it to others (Christians and strangers) before sharing it with the 5 you are especially praying for and working with.
At an appropriate time share it with the people you are working with, praying for. Some times you may simply share part of it.
Share Godâ€™s story: The Gospel
You can share it from a booklet or orally (especially where people do not read and write).
Practice using booklet: Use booklet â€œWould you like to know God personally?â€
Practice sharing orally Four Principles
God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
Man because of sin if separated from fellowship with God
Jesus by His sinless life and death on the cross paid for manâ€™s sins
We must personally receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, then you can know and experience Godâ€™s love and plan for your life.
You can receive Jesus by personal invitation through prayer.
People who pray to receive Christ should be baptized and become part of your Life Group.
The following is a list of ways people in Africa have shown care for people they are working with.
1. Watch your neighborâ€™s children to give the parents a chance for some time alone.
2. Visit people who are sick or housebound. Take them food.
3. Bring together a group of children to play (invite their mothers, too).
4. If a neighbor is passing by, invite him in, even if things are not as neat as you would like.
5. Help them with work in their garden or field.
6. If you have transportation, offer to give a ride if they need it.
7. Offer to pick up something at the market for them.
8. Walk through your neighborhood and talk to people. Visit with them if they have time.
9. Give friendly greetings to people you see often but do not know. Look for opportunities to get to know them.
10. As you are listening to people, pay attention to what they are saying (problems, difficulties, or struggles they mention) and you will find ways to show care to them.
11. Get groceries for widows
12. Give clothing, shoes, soap, tea, food for the needy in your neighborhood
13. Take clothing for a newborn
14. Give blankets to older people
15. Collect firewood for the elderly
16. Help someone carry a load
17. Plow other people’s fields
18. Help people with their projects
19. Plant trees in the community
20. Let people borrow your tools
21. Help your parents wash clothes, wash dishes, cleaning, help with meals
22. Invite people for coffee or a meal
23. Invite people for a holiday
24. Organize people to get government food to needy families caring for orphans
25. Train people in a project, such as raising rabbits, chickens, or goats, to help get them out of poverty
26. Help with children while parents work
27. Care for children after school until their parents come home from work, perhaps teaching them Bible stories
28. Organize kids after school to play soccer or other activities
29. Show interest and kindness to someone hated or neglected by the community
30. Session leader give an example of caring from your personal ministry.
31. Have the class suggest their own ideas for showing love through acts of kindness. Remember the ideas you like best:
The following are some stories of results of people and church groups that have been through the above training.
July 2012: Pastor Solomon, an assistant pastor in a large Hawassa, Ethiopia church who planted a new church in November 2010 said, â€œMost people are coming into the new church because of care being given to them. Now we follow up, care for them and diciple people.â€ The church has grown to over 200.
July 2012: Admassu told of one church plant near Dilla, Ethiopia that was planted 5 years ago but only had 20 people attending. The church members were trained in Prayer, Care, Share and in 6 months the church grew from 20 people to 205 in attendance.
Nov 2012: Rev. Koech in Bomet Kenya after receiving the prayer care share training (June 2012) he went back to his church and trained 10 members only. These 10 people became aggressive in relational evangelism and brought many people to church and now there are 135 people in the church.
Admassu told us a remarkable story of PCS partnership reaching a Muslim area in Ethiopia.
Using primarily a Prayer, Care, Share approach to the M area, the church planters have seen lasting fruit. One authentic â€œcaringâ€ approach was to help the village families plow their fields. This â€œcaringâ€ Great Commandment approach caught the notice of a local teacher of the Koran. In his curiosity and through the prayer and sharing of those he talked to, he came to Christ. (This man was very sick and they approached him as a friend prayed for him and he was healed immediately and received Christ). As a result, a whole village came forward and received Christ. Now a new church is planted in that village. The village did not observe Ramadan as a result, and is now worshiping and serving our Lord.
1. A man In Ethiopia named Zelalem was working age but lived at home. His mother did all the chores for him and cooked all his meals. He didn’t help with anything at home. After learning Prayer, Care, Share he decided to show care for his mom by helping with the laundry and cooking some meals. This change so impressed his older brother that his brother gave his life to Christ!
2. Edward is a mechanical engineer working at a tire factory (300 workers) in Nairobi, Kenya.. He was trained in Prayer, Care, Share. He brought the training to a fellowship at work. The group was exclusive with 7 people at the time. Now, the fellowship is open, and 30 to 34 people come at 6am (demonstrates commitment and that needs are being met given Nairobi traffic and the early hour before work). Twelve at work have received Christ. The chief shop steward and CEO (non-Christians) noted the positive affect of the fellowship.
3. A man in Nekemte, a town in Ethiopia, was walking along and saw a lady who wanted to carry a load (of wood?) on her head. She was having trouble getting the load up to her head. There were people standing around, but they did not help her. So this man decided to care for her and help her. He did not help her lift the load up to her head, but instead carried it home for her. Later he was able to start a Bible study there.
4. A man In Ethiopia named Zelalem was working age but lived at home. His mother did all the chores for him and cooked all his meals. He didn’t help with anything at home. After learning Prayer, Care, Share he decided to show care for his mom by helping with the laundry and cooking some meals. This change so impressed his older brother that his brother gave his life to Christ!
5. Edward is a mechanical engineer working at a tire factory (300 workers) in Nairobi, Kenya.. He was trained in Prayer, Care, Share. He brought the training to a fellowship at work. The group was exclusive with 7 people at the time. Now, the fellowship is open, and 30 to 34 people come at 6am (demonstrates commitment and that needs are being met given Nairobi traffic and the early hour before work). Twelve at work have received Christ. The chief shop steward and CEO (non-Christians) noted the positive affect of the fellowship.
6. A man in Nekemte, a town in Ethiopia, was walking along and saw a lady who wanted to carry a load (of wood?) on her head. She was having trouble getting the load up to her head. There were people standing around, but they did not help her. So this man decided to care for her and help her. He did not help her lift the load up to her head, but instead carried it home for her. Later he was able to start a Bible study there.
Allen: Sometimes I drive a neighbor child to school along with my son. The mother started to come to my house and asked for prayer because she was not feeling well in her pregnancy. One night they came and asked for a ride to the hospital. I spent the night at the hospital with them. Later I shared my story and she received Christ.
Adem: â€œI was praying for my neighbors and I specifically focused on a Muslim family. The wife was sick for four months and had been admitted to two hospitals with no hope of recovery. The family had no money to take her to another hospital. I used to go and visit her to build a relationship that would enable me to share Christ. The opportunity came when the wife asked me to pray for her and I did. While praying for her an evil spirit left her and she was instantly healed. Her husband asked me to pray for him and he was set free from an evil spirit also. The couple started sharing their testimonies to who ever comes to their home. Eight families have come to Christ as a result.â€ *
Wow, Ted, you and your team are amazing!! I’m so glad to hear from you again!! God is using you, brother. Thanks for sharing.
I’m thinking right now of a way to condense what you’re doing and put it into a blog format to go along with this month’s theme. Thanks!
A brother and i started a men’s only cell on Mondays at five. we have a meal that one of the guys make. I am teaching on Timothy this week. how paul took him and disciple him. pray for me! going to talk about group evangelism too. I am writing a hand book on evangelism to help brothers and sisters in sharing. It is small so you can put it in you pocket. I got the Idea from Jesus talking with the lady at the well. asking her for a drink of water. I have 103 way to start to talk with someone. It will be done at the end of this month. Oh the men that meet at the cell they are from three churches. Your brother in Christ. bob doria
sounds very exciting, Bob. Keep up the great work.