Evangelism and Multiplication
By Joel Comiskey
By Joel Comiskey, coaching available here (free first session available for those interested in receiving coaching)
Because cell evangelism strengthens community, rather than hinders it, I encourage groups to pray for non-Christians each week and to plan ways to reach out.
But not everyone shares my view.
Some group members abhor the idea of evangelism in the group. They only want fellowship. I’ll never forget the resistance I faced from a group member who said, “I came to this group for fellowship, not evangelism. I want to get to know people—not invite new ones to the group.”
When she said this in front of the entire group, I knew I had to deal with it. If she had her way, the group would grow inward and stagnate. I talked to both the woman and her husband after the meeting, explaining to them that our group had the dual focus of community and outreach and that cell outreach was essential in the disciple-making process. Thankfully she (they) accepted my exhortation, stayed in the group, and even reached out in their own neighborhood.
As the group facilitator, your role is to help members to understand that community and evangelism go together. As we’ve learned, group outreach doesn’t hinder deeper community. In fact, it enhances it. The research is clear. Outreaching groups share more transparently than those who only focus on fellowship. The process of evangelizing, in fact, strengthens the bonds of community. When a new person comes to the group, members develop close bonds as they minister to the newcomer.
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 of discipleship. When a small group has a common evangelistic objective, it starts working together to accomplish the outreach goal. This mutual vision creates a unity and camaraderie. Everyone gets involved—from the person who invites the guests to the one who provides refreshments to the one who leads the discussion. The team plans, strategizes, and finds new contacts together.
The cry of the lost drives holistic groups to share their rich community rather than hoarding it among themselves. When multiplication takes place, new groups are available for lost people to receive Jesus and grow as disciples of Christ. Today’s broken society desperately needs a loving family. How will people find Jesus unless small groups are willing to spread God’s love?