by Joel Comiskey
During a seminar in New Jersey, I talked about helping the transition process by posting physical cell indicators in the church building (e.g., cell maps, pictures of cell leaders, banners, etc.) so that those on Sunday will know that cell ministry is the priority. The host church of the seminar, Family Restoration Center, really picked up on this idea and decided to start work immediately on a map where they could place each leader’s photo, indicating the cell’s location.
Many Sunday attendees don’t know that the cell is the church and is just as important as the Sunday celebration. They get the impression that small-group ministry is just one of the many options to consider—rather than being as important as the celebration service. I’ve noticed that many churches don’t take advantage of the celebration service to promote cell ministry. There’s a tendency to separate the two rather than using the one to promote the other.
The lead pastor is the primary channel, although not the only one, to promote cell ministry during the celebration service. He’s the gatekeeper through which publicity flows. The pastor’s personal involvement (such as leading or attending a cell) allows the pastor to freely add cell examples to sermons.
Cell ministry can also find a great friend in the bulletin or other advertisements in the church. Some churches don’t have a bulletin, but if there’s even an occasional handout, it’s a great time to give cell ministry its proper place. Cell announcements should be given priority space so that those visiting will immediately see the heartbeat of the church and know where to go to get involved in a cell group.
Here are some idea to relate cell to celebration:
- asking a cell member who has been transformed through relational ministry—new friendships, special ministry times—to share what God has done
- hearing the testimony of someone who has received healing within the cell group
- presenting a new multiplication leader to the entire church
Those attending the Sunday celebration need to realize that the primary pastoral services of the church are offered through the cell system. If they need ministry and help, they can find it in a loving cell group.