Church in Many Houses Read Through Ch. 8

Chapter 8: Moving From Programs to Relationships

Summary:In order to focus on the most important ministries of the church, we need to cut the programs.

While natural forces shape natural features, people are shaped by other people. (Location: 1,471)

Note:I like this concept. God uses circumstances, His Word, and even nature to mold our hearts, but the truth is still there. It is a person who makes an impact, not just a solitary fact.

The Bible reveals that God wants to shape us into the image of Jesus. One of the primary means God uses to reshape our lives is Christ-centered relationship. (Location: 1,474)

Since people shape people, a church which seeks to stimulate genuine spiritual growth in its members must catalyze authentic, Christ-centered relationships. (Location: 1,489)

Note:Seems like he is stating the obvious, but how often do our programs fail in this regard?

Tragically, churches can be very lonely places for far too many people. Even while actively involved in church programs, countless men and women are living with quiet desperation and secret hurts known to no one else. We cannot hope to truly disciple people into Jesus’ image if we leave them in their isolation. (Location: 1,495)

Note:I wonder what an anonymous survey in our churches would reveal about this fact. Probably more than we want to admit!

The following are some of the common ways cell churches assure that authentic relationships remain at the core of the church. 1. Eliminate Programs…2. Promote cells over service…3. Cultivate transparency…4. Provide pastoral care through cell groups

Instead of spending hundreds and thousands of hours producing that program, what if our members had invested that time in building their small groups? (Location: 1,527)

Note:I think the reason it is easier to spend time on programs instead of people is because you have something to show for it. You can never look at a person and say, “Well, here is the final product!”

But the reality is that every program we call our people to support means there is that much less time for them to be engaged in relational evangelism and discipleship. (Location: 1,535)

Note:Take note.

If each week the church announcements center on the need for workers in various ministries, then people understand that service is valued highly. But if each week people hear an invitation to join a group or a sermon illustration about cell groups, then they pick up the idea that cells are where the action is. (Location: 1,556)

Note:This is an interesting concept. What do the bulletin and announcements say about a church?

A small group will not become a true community just because they spend time together in a living room. It is quite possible for people to pull their chairs close to one another while keeping their souls hidden from one another. Unless the members allow one another to see what is going on in their hearts and lives, they will remain at a relational distance. (Location: 1,568)

Note:This one is tough. Trust is not easily earned, but can be quickly lost.

At Crossroads Church we are pleased when a cell member steps up and serves on a ministry team. However, our main goal is not to get new people involved in ministry team. Our primary goal is to help people connect to a cell group. They can serve in addition to, not instead of, growing spiritually in a group. If people are evangelized and discipled in cell groups, then every member can be on the front lines of the church’s mission. (Location: 1,611)

Note:This is a good question, where is the front line of the church? I think most people would look at who they see up front on a Sunday, but that wouldn’t be the whole story.

By making cell groups the center of its ministry, the cell church leverages the power of relationship. When we invest time in developing relationships with both believers and pre-Christians, we are focusing our attention on what is most important in ministry. The relational nature of cell groups is consistent with the relational nature of the church itself. This makes sense, since the cell group is the most basic expression of the Church. So when we are focusing on building relationships we are focusing on making disciples and building the church. (Location: 1,623)

Note:Good summary of the chapter.