By Joel Comiskey, check out the free videos
I believe in the local church. I believe that each believer should be part of one local church, submissive to pastor and elders—as well as submitting to one another.
For this reason, I believe it is unethical for small group members and leaders from one local church to invite and shepherd the sheep from other local churches.
We’ve been talking about outreach this month, but I need to constantly remind members and leaders that outreach is for the unconverted and unchurched. We should not be inviting evangelicals from other churches! I’m specifically talking about not inviting believers who are committed to other evangelical churches. Those believers need to go back to their pastors and ask them to start groups in their own churches.
When Cho started the modern-day cell group explosion back in the 60s, he called them cells because they were connected to one body, one local church. Just like the cells in the human body are intimately connected to the body itself, so also the cells in the local church are connected to that same local church.
On a positive note, cells should be actively engaged in talking to people who don’t have a small group within the local church. If we really believe that disciples are formed and shaped through the cell and cell system, we should desire that everyone attending a particular local church should also be in a cell group.
And we should not worry if more than one group invites the same person to attend their group. What a blessing to shower love and care on those who don’t have a small group.
“Take for example my own cell group. Since we are a recently multiplied group, we need people!” Our low numbers drive us to grow. We multiplied with four core team members, so we could easily invite four new believers to strengthen our group. While we continue to pray for unbelievers, we are open for local church believers who do not have a group.
I counsel cell leaders to limit the number of local church members to about eight people. The rest should come from outreach to the unconverted and unchurched.
Since my own local church meets in a permanent “tent” structure located on the church’s physical property, we have been able to hold weekly celebration gatherings for a long time now. Lately, the attendance has been increasing, and we have noticed various people who are not in a cell (I do know that many churches are not meeting in celebration because of COVID, so members will need to be creative in discovering those local church believers who do not have a cell group).
A few weeks ago, we talked to a person after the celebration service who attended the service but did not have a cell group. We invited her to our group, and she showed up at our Zoom cell group last week! We had to help her figure out Zoom, but she did get the hang of it and contributed a lot to our group. We appreciated her honest feedback as a two-year old believer.
Let us keep reaching out. God desire to make disciples who make disciples through cell church ministry.