What if the COVID reality could strengthen our churches?

What if it could? That is a big question. I am sure that you have seen some strengthening of your church, maybe through your online engagement, maybe through more people “watching services”, maybe through other means. But I am thinking of something different. What if people were actually more engaged in evangelism and discipleship during the COVID reality than then were before it? Could it happen?

In thinking about this question I remembered a book I read back in 2012. While I had disagreements with the author and some of his ideas, it was the book which got me thinking along these lines. I am posting my review from the first time I read it, and then will be posting quotes, notes, and summaries of each chapter over the coming weeks. Would you be willing to pick it up and read along? Maybe some of the quotes will get you thinking or enable you to share some of what you think about the issue.

The Church In Many Houses: Reaching your Community through Cell-Based Ministry

by Steve Cordle

Point: The cell-based understanding of the church facilitates and stimulates personal growth and community outreach.

Path:The book is divided into three sections: 1) The emerging cell movement (background and general principles) 2) Laying the foundations (what it looks like) 3) Strategic Issues (moving forward and answers for difficulties).

Sources: Cordle relies on personal experience, statistical data, Methodist methodology, and Biblical principles.

Agreement:

The overarching principle is right on – we are not a church “with” cells (or small groups), we are a church “of” cells. Whether we admit it or not, the local church functions at a relational base. If there is no relationship going on, what are we considering the “church”?

He uses the terminology “pre-Christian friend” instead of “unbeliever.” I loved that!

Everyone is involved.

There is a focus on prayer.

Multiplication is the purpose.

This is not a program.

Disagreement:

His view of the worship service, or celebration, is geared toward unbelievers.

He uses numbers all the time to prove points, but numbers are not what Jesus focused on.

I have questions about his view of woman in leadership. I don’t think that woman should be relegated to the back seat, but he has them in pastoral roles.

He sees spiritual gifts as things to be discovered and stressed.

Personal App: Am I seeking to reach outward and multiply disciples? If so, how am I implementing that?

Favorite Quote: “Meeting in homes also locates ministry in the midst of multiple neighborhoods, spreading the gospel across an area instead of stockpiling believers in a central building” (34).

Stars: 4 out of 5

The concept gets a 5, but I had to let a lot of terminology, specific application, etc. slide through.

It would be worth another read and I would recommend it.

Mountain hike

We try to visit different places in our valley for our own enjoyment and also to make connections with our friends and soon-to-be friends. There is a bond that is formed as soon as we hear someone say, “I’m from the village ___________.” And we can say, “We have been there! We really liked the __________.”

This past week we took a hike to an abandoned village in the Tabaida Berciana which is a section of mountains we can see from our city. Here are some photos from the hike.

Biking in our valley

One of the things we enjoyed doing nearly as soon as we moved to Spain was visiting different villages. Before purchasing a vehicle, we had a running stroller to cart Tanzen around, then bikes. Now we have three, so our caravan is a little more intimidating, but we keep exploring! This past week we followed the Camino De Santiago through a few villages and celebrated with snacks…and a nap.