By Joel Comiskey, Groups that Thrive
Jesus cares. He cares for both body and soul.
We read, “That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was” (Mark 1:32-33). Jesus healed, cast our demons, and fed the people. He took care of their needs.
I recently taught a course at Indiana Wesleyan University called The Missional Church. Our textbook was Timothy Keller’s Mercy Ministries. Keller, a conservative evangelical, clearly lays out the biblical mandate to minister to physical needs and preach the gospel. Both are important. The students identified the primary needs around their local church (physical, mental, and social) and then determined how to meet them. Cell churches can reach out through cells and not just through church-approved programs.
When I first studied the Elim Church in 1996, the district pastor in charge of my visit told me that Elim emphasized two evangelistic principles: 1. Prayer 2. Find a Need and Meet it. When I later wrote the book about Elim, Passion and Persistence, I highlighted numerous testimonies of how the Elim cell groups first focused on caring for physical needs. Elim followed David Cho’s advice: “I tell my cell leaders, Don’t tell people about Jesus Christ right away when you meet them. First, visit them and become their friend, supply their needs, and love them.”
We know that people will only be saved through hearing and believing the gospel of Jesus Christ. At the same time, we must follow Christ’s example of ministering to people’s physical needs.
For March, let’s talk about meeting the physical needs of those around us. How can our cell groups reach out to needy people, meet their needs, and preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Click here if you’d like to receive these daily blogs in your email inbox. Here are some suggestions.
- March 05-11: The Biblical base for meeting needs. Jesus is our example of caring for people’s physical needs. The early church followed his example.
- March 12-18: What are the needs around your cell group? How can your group envision outreach events? What are some strategies the group can use to meet needs?
- March 19-25: What are the needs around your local church? Perhaps two or three cells can come together on a Saturday to serve the poor by giving food, helping at a rescue mission, or visiting those in prison. What are some of those possibilities?
- March 26 to April 01: Testimonies of meeting needs through cell ministry. Let’s praise God for how he is using the cell and cell church to meet needs.