By Joel Comiskey, check out coaching
Celyce and I ate dinner with close friends recently. I was struggling emotionally with various trials before our dinner, but as we interacted in Christian community, God lifted my burdens, as we laughed, shared, reminisced, and had fun. What I experienced that night was the joy that flows from friendship and community.
This month we’ve been exploring fun in cell ministry. The dictionary definition of fun is: enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure. The same dictionary defines joy as: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirt and goes beyond feelings and emotions (Galatians 5:21). We can experience joy in trials and temptations
(James 1: 2). When talking about fun in cell ministry we’re really talking about experiencing God’s joy. Jesus said to his own small group, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete (john 15:11-12). Joy chases away boredom and stirs people to want to come back.
God’s wants to fill small groups with joy and enjoyment. Spending time with God and his people should not be a dreaded, boring experience. But often hindrances and obstacles kill God’s joy in the group. Here are some joy killers:
Routine: I interviewed one fruitful cell leader in Honduras who said that she always tried to change the cell order because “variety is the spice of life.” When a group becomes too routine and follows the same order all the time, boredom ensues.
One man/woman show: When the leader does everything, people feel neglected and bored. They are relegated to sit and listen, just like on Sunday morning. The best cell leaders are facilitators and get other people involved.
Numbers game: When the cell leader views the members as goals or statistics, the members feel it. Relationships, not statistics, produce joy in the group.
Only a social gathering: The cell is not only about having a fun time together. Yes, fun is important and wise cell leaders will plan occasional fun gatherings, yet the cell group is more than a social event. It’s all about making disciples who make disciples.
No vision: Cells that don’t prioritize making disciples who make disciples lose their purpose and resulting joy. Some of the most joyous times occur when the group reaches non-Christians and plans the next multiplication. Cell groups experience Christ’s joy in ministering to the poor and needy.
I challenge you to measure the joy level in your own cell group. Does your group like hanging out together? Are you varying the activity in the group? Does your group have a clear vision to reach others for Jesus? Just like in Christ’s small group, Jesus wants to fill your small group with his joy.