Chapter 2: What Happened when Martha Went to Church
Quotes and Commentary:
Summary: The cell group model enables a smooth transition for individuals to enter into a body of believers, be discipled, and begin to disciple others.
“I was now officially the pastor of a church that had no members…” (Location: 285).
Note: What?! How can you have a covenanting body of believers without the believers?
“The mission of each church is to reach unreached people and to lead them to become disciples of Jesus” (Location: 296).
Note: That is the mission of every disciple, it is the congregated membership to which they come once they become believers.
“At Crossroads, we describe the process of disciple-making in terms of four basic steps: 1) reach, 2) connect, 3) equip, and 4) send” (Location: 375).
Note: The author uses “reach” to denote what happens when they invite someone into the cell group, however according to his story, and also regular experience, the reaching takes place while building the relationship which would enable someone to invite another into a Bible study. I think in this area the book, “The Trellis and the Vine” has a much better scheme.
“At its essence, a cell group is a set of Christ-centered relationships which is focused primarily on evangelism and discipleship” (Location: 395).
Note: The best way to do this is using one to one Bible reading. I like the idea of using the questions from the sermon, however, I think the one to one and the sermon questions could be merged.
“Cell groups meet outside the church building. Most often they gather in homes, but they could also meet in restaurants, parks, or work places. Their location significantly influences the group dynamics. A group that meets in the church building inevitably takes on a classroom or an “institutional” feel which can hinder personal transparency and warmth. Also, pre-Christians are not as comfortable entering a church building as they are going to a home or a restaurant. Since evangelism is one of the main functions of a cell group, the meeting place should help, not hinder, outreach. 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” (Location: 399).
“One of the most common meeting formats used in cell-based churches is that of the “4 W’s”. They are: 1. Welcome – getting acquainted. 2. Worship – exalting God through song or other means. 3. Word – study of the scripture. 4. Works –ministering to one another and planning group activities” (Location: 407).
Note: This is easy to remember, but probably not necessary to follow if the group is used to one to one Bible reading.
“Applying the Scripture: the group discusses questions designed to apply the Bible text which was taught in the weekend message. The group leader does not teach a lesson, but rather facilitates discussion of a set of questions which have been provided by the church for that week”(Location: 414).
Note: It is crucial for these groups to understand that teaching in this setting does not look like a classroom session. While that is easier in many respects, that is not immediately reproducible nor help everyone look for the answers themselves.
“Newcomers Class: Not all cell churches would include this component in their strategy, but it is an important one at Crossroads. The Newcomers Class provides a practical first step for people who are new to the church. Participants learn about the vision and values of the church, and if they have not already done so, they are given the opportunity to make a commitment to follow Christ” (Location: 441).
Note: This would be an excellent opportunity to teach through the Big Story of the Bible and presenting a full view of the gospel.
“The apprentice role is a transitional role, not a permanent one” (Location: 462).
Note: If the overarching idea is to multiply, this is crucial. Some might be thinking that it is necessary to lower our expectations of the leader, but in reality we must raise them to accomplish this. Anyone can stand and give a lesson, but it takes a greater effort to mentor someone else to lead a group in studying the Bible together.
“At Crossroads, coaches are always “player-coaches”; that is, they not only minister to leaders, they also lead cell groups themselves” (Location: 471).
Note: No matter what terminology we may use, when the leadership is separated from the interaction of the flock, that disconnect will be multiplied over time.
“This structure is often called the “Jethro principle”, named after Moses’ father-in-law. Exodus 18 recounts that Jethro saw Moses being consumed with the demands of managing the problems of the entire nation. So Jethro encouraged Moses to divide the people into manageable groups, then delegate the leadership responsibilities for each among capable individuals. When adapted to a church’s cell group context, the essential principle is that every leader in the church provides and receives ministry to a limited number of people” (Location: 473).
Note: This idea is a direct blow to the ego of those of us who think we can do everything. We cannot.
Overall, in order to best disciple and instruct individuals in the whole council of God, we need to be intentional about giving them a place to learn, share, and grow in their own abilities to disciple others.