Evangelism and Multiplication
By Joel Comiskey
Even though I wrote Home Cell Group Explosion eighteen years ago, the concepts still ring true. The focus of HCGE was cell evangelism that leads to multiplication and how cell evangelism is the key difference between cells and small groups.
Cells, in contrast to many small groups, are open, evangelism-oriented, and are intimately entwined into the life of the church. They meet weekly to build up each member and to spread the gospel to those who don’t know Jesus. Where did this emphasis come from? Yes, the Bible. But more recently from John Wesley (1703-1791) and David Yonggi Cho (age 80).
Wesley wasn’t persuaded that someone had made a decision for Christ until that person became involved in a small group. Wesley’s classes (cells) served as an evangelistic tool (most conversions occurred in this context) and as a discipling agent. Evangelism took place primarily in the class meetings and in people’s hearts in the hours following the class meetings. Wesley acknowledged that the beginnings of a person’s faith could be incubated more effectively in a warm Christian environment of the cell.
If Wesley was the forerunner of the small-group movement, David Yonggi Cho ushered in the new era. Cho, the founding pastor of the largest church in history of Christianity in Seoul, South Korea, credits the growth of his church to the cell-group system. He commissions each cell to bring non-Christians to Jesus Christ, with the goal of multiplying the cell. If the cell leaders fail to reach their goals, Cho sends them to the church’s Prayer Mountain retreat to fast and pray.
Community is a lovely part of cell ministry but cells must never sink into fellowship only. In my own cell, we have a goal to reach two new people this year. Every cell group we set out two empty chairs and pray for the two new people. We regularly go out to evangelize, praying for people, and giving out food. We come back from these excursions refreshed as a group
Cell evangelism takes the pressure off one person, and gives everyone the opportunity to exercise their faith and become disciples in the process. It’s not the experience of one person doing the work of the ministry. Rather it’s a shared experience. Wise cell leaders understand this and empower everyone in the group to do their part.