By Joel Comiskey
I ate dinner with a fruitful host (who was also the cell leader) in Eastern Russia who told me that one of the hardest things about hosting her cell group was “not wanting the people to leave.” She told me she encouraged her cell members to stay as long as possible, and sometimes they even stayed the whole night at her encouragement (btw, this was a women’s cell group!).
Most people are not like this Russian hostess. Most hosts are ready to call it quits one hour after the cell meeting ends (a normal cell is 1.5 hours so I’m referring to 2.5 hours in total). Lots of clean-up awaits. Kids have to get ready and go to bed. The day starts early the next morning. Yet, I’ve found that some cell member just don’t get the hint when the host is ready to close the door after the refreshment time. Some cell members are just overjoyed with the rich fellowship. They can’t get enough of it. Community is sweet. For some, the cell is their family. Others are naturally very chatty and relational and become so comfortable they don’t want go home.
Remember that cell ministry is marathon ministry. Hosts open their home week after week. Cell leaders and members must respect the host and avoid abusing his or her gracious hospitality. Here are a few tips:
- volunteer to bring refreshments. Hosts love those who take this responsibility!
- showing up on time. A host is ready to go at the agreed upon time. If you as a member show up late, you are not respecting the agreed upon time-tables for the event.
- leave on time. Respect the fact that hosts have a life beyond the cell. If your host demonstrates that he or she is like the Eastern Russian hostess mentioned at the beginning of this blog, you can ignore this counsel. Yet, please take heed to it until you are 100% sure.
What does it mean to leave on time? A normal cell group lasts approx. 1.5 hours. The refreshment time afterwards lasts between 30 minutes to one hour, in my experience. Unless you know for sure, I would not stay beyond the 2.5 hour rule (both cell meeting and refreshment time).