Church in Many Houses Read-Through: Ch 3

Chapter 3: The Example of Jesus and Wesley

Summary: We can see the Cell approach in the ministries of Jesus and Wesley. This should give us pause if we think our schemes are better.

Quotes and Commentary:

“Humanly speaking, Jesus’ lasting impact came through the people he left behind. Jesus’ strategy for changing the world was to train disciples who could make disciples of others. It wasn’t Jesus himself who carried the message of the Gospel to Rome and beyond, it was his followers who did so.” (Location: 515)

Note:What would have happened if Jesus had decided to focus more on his public ministry with the miraculous healings, the feedings, and rebuking the religious leaders? What would have happened had he fashioned his ministry after the popular schemes today?

“Jesus’ goal was not to gather followers. Jesus’ goal was to train twelve people to carry out his mission. Jesus was not upset or worried when the crowds started to desert him. His only question was whether or not his twelve would turn aside. In John 6:66-67 we read, “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. ‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve.” Though the crowds left Jesus, he knew his 12 could eventually reach them again. But if the 12 turned away there would have been no one equipped to carry on Jesus’ mission once he left the earth.”(Location: 520)

Note:An interesting observation.

“The eight steps Coleman identified are: 1. Selection. 2. Association. 3. Consecration. 4. Impartation. 5. Demonstration. 6. Delegation. 7. Supervision. 8. Reproduction.” (Location: 551)

Note: These are pretty standard and have been assimilated by many strategies.

“As he was preparing to ascend to heaven, Jesus gave his followers this Great Commission; “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19) How did Jesus’ followers know how to go make disciples? They knew because Jesus had just made disciples of them! They could replicate the process Jesus had used with them.” (Location: 554)

Note:Here I think we find the reason why leaders struggle so much when they try to encourage others to disciple others. The oft heard phrase is, “They just don’t know how!” I think this is the case because church members 1) are making excuses because of a heart issue, 2) they haven’t taken enough time to think about their own past and how they have been discipled, or 3) because they have never been discipled themselves.

“Clearly, the point of the class was not the acquiring of information, but rather mutual encouragement in living out the faith.” (Location: 630)

Note:This strategy was assimilated by Wesley because of his view of sanctification. Just because someone doesn’t hold to a Wesleyan view of sanctification does not mean the cell concept is moot. I think a better option would be to insert one-to-one Bible reading here when the individuals have a good concept of application.

“All local churches are to be God’s instruments for changing the world by making disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Location: 656)

Note:It is pretty difficult to get around the concept of the church making disciples in the New Testament. But often times we become complacent when we keep the believers who are “already in” happy.

“If you are looking for a way to keep church members happy, then I would not advise you to adopt the cell based approach.” (Location: 660)

Note: Because it can be uncomfortable. Sitting and listening to someone speak is easy. No one needs to know what you think, no one can even ask. You can nod in approval and look good for doing it. But sitting down and talking about Scripture with someone else can be difficult.

Overall, there is a false sense of security for us when we feel as though we have accomplished our duty by hearing someone preach. If we want transformed lives and if we want to see other lives transformed, it has to become personal and relational.