Evangelism and Multiplication
By Joel Comiskey
Those in the cell church world have known for a long time that the most effective way to evangelize is through friendship evangelism (or many use the term “oikos evangelism”). After all, surveys have consistently shown that the majority of converts come through a friend or relative. Cell evangelism is most effective, therefore, when cell members invite those they come in contact with most frequently, and who God has placed in their path. In other words, God gives relationships with others, and then reaches those people through those relationships.
However, it’s important not to limit cell evangelism. Scripture tells us to plant and water and that God will give the increase. It doesn’t mention one particular way to evangelize. Jesus evangelized through open air preaching, one-on-one relationships, and healing people. Some cells reach out through neighborhood barbeques, picnics, feeding the hungry, prayer walking, and other types of outreach events.
Relational evangelism works best in conjunction with other forms of outreach. It’s unwise to only rely on getting to know a few friends over a long period of time when the rest of the non-Christians are going to hell without Jesus. Because people are so different, we need many ways to reach them. Some will come to Christ one way and others will respond in a different manner. All ways are important for the furtherance of the gospel.
I like to take my own cell on “treasure hunting” adventures. Just last week, we decided to do some role playing to prepare us to go out this next Wednesday. Some members felt unprepared, and I had fallen into the trap of doing too much myself on past excursions. This next Wednesday, I will be the coach and allow the members to pray with people, give out tracts, and offer food to the needy. So what is “treasure hunting?” In a nutshell, it’s attempting to discover where God is working and then reaching those people who God wants to touch (something like the person of peace). It’s helping people move one-step closer to Jesus and loving them in the process.
Food and fellowship is always a good outreach idea. Some cells are very effective with evangelistic dinners, social events, cookouts, and parties. Jesus was always eating with people—often in their homes. The early church shared meals in the home.
Moving the cell from house to house is another excellent way to attract visitors. When a cell member hosts the meeting in his or her home, that member’s friends and family are more likely to attend. After all, many of these people have already visited the home, thus eliminating one barrier —fear of the unknown.
Every cell member should be involved in actively reaching out. Each member should exercise his or her muscles in evangelism, so that true discipleship can occur. If we believe the goal of the cell is to make disciples who make disciples, it’s important that the potential disciples have been using their evangelistic muscles to reach out and win new people.