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.
For the month of August, we’ll be talking about cell evangelism. Experienced cell pastors will write twenty blogs on this theme. If you’d like to receive these blogs daily in your email, please click here:
- Week 1: Biblical base for cell evangelism (August 07-13). Jesus taught his disciples how to fish for men using group evangelism or net fishing. The reality is that people are going to hell without Jesus, God has ordained cell groups to be outward oriented.
- Week 2: Prayer and cell evangelism (August 14-20). Satan has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe (2 Cor. 4:4), and we need to enter spiritual warfare for lost souls. Many cells have used the "blessing list" as a tool to pray and bless those close relationships who don’t know Jesus. Praying for the empty chair is an effective evangelistic tool.
- Week 3: Various type of cell outreach (August 21-27). Each cell needs to discover what works in their particular culture and context. Creative ideas include picnics, asking for prayer requests in the neighborhood, feeding the poor, and evangelistic events. Cell churches evangelize in the cell and the celebration.
- Week 4: Equipping for evangelism (August 28-September 03). Cell churches emphasize evangelism training in the equipping track.
What has your experience been in cell evangelism? Share your experiences here.
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New: 2016 JCG Event in Virginia
- We will be holding our first JCG conference in the eastern part of the United States in Virgina/Washington D.C. at the Elim Church Virginia area on September 24, 2016. The cost is 39.00. If you’d like to attend, please click here.
Major 2017 JCG Event
- We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 25, 2017. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Sign upnow for $39.00 ($59.00 at door).
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Joel Comiskey’s new book, Children in Cell Ministry, can now be purchased here.
27 videos on cell church from Joel Comiskey
- There are 27 videos on all aspects of cell church (with downloadable resources) on Ministry Grid. Check it out.
Free Ebook byJoel Comiskey and small group health assessment
- Free Ebook from Joel Comiskey (Making Disciples in the 21st Century Church). Joel’s book is available at the end of the Thriving Small Groups Assessment. There is no catch to this. We are not asking for your contact information or trying to up-sell anything. At the end of the assessment, you will also discover the health of your small groups. I think you’ll find both of this free resources extremely helpful.
Joel Comiskey’s new book: 2000 Years of Small Groups
- Ebook: 2000 Years of Small Groups
Bill Beckham’s new books
Audio books (Click here)