By Joel Comiskey, free teaching videos on leading small groups
Covid-19 is a strange time for small group outreach. Traditional methods of inviting friends and neighbors to the small group isn’t the same online. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!
I believe that each online small group should include some kind of outreach. If you are following the 4 Ws (welcome, worship, Word, witness), remember that the 4th W is the witness or outreach time. So what does that look like with online cells?
Whether online or face-to-face, the first place to begin is prayer. Although we can’t place a physical chair in the middle of our zoom groups, we can pray for those who we want to invite to our online group. Prayer will not only open the door for people to be saved but also prepares those in the group to reach out and remember those without Christ. As the group prays, God works in the hearts of the members to contact non-Christians, serve them, and invite them to the group.
In my own group, we finish with a prayer time for those who don’t know Jesus or those not in a cell group. For example, last week we prayed for a neighbor to join us in our online group. We invited her several ago, but she hasn’t responded yet. We then prayed for a relative who is in the hospital at the point of death.
It would be easy for us just to enjoy the fellowship of those present. Yet, we know God wants us to exercise our muscles and reach out. We as a group realize that the very process of evangelism brings spiritual growth, not just when someone comes to the group or receives Jesus.
Paul the apostle summarizes growth through evangelism when writing to a house church in the first century, “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). As this house church in Colossae shared their faith, they grew in their relationship with Jesus Christ and became strong disciples as a result.
We live in strange, difficult times. Yet let us ask God to give us a desire to reach out. We must not allow the evangelistic fervor to die out in our groups. Jesus desires that we continue to make disciples who make disciples.