Church in Many Houses read through: Chapter 9

Chapter 9: Moving from Church with Cells to Church that is Cells

Summary:What is the church? Looking at how we address the functions of a church will help us determine what we truly believe about the church.

If aliens were to try to determine what “church” was by listening to people’s routine conversations, they would end up very confused, because we use the word in so many ways. For example, we say that we: “go to church” “construct a church” “attend church” “belong to a church”. So, is church a building to enter or an organization to which we belong? Or is it an event to attend? The way we answer that question deeply influences the way we do ministry. (Location: 1,643)

Note:This is an interesting thought experiment. It also works with asking our children what “church” is.

Church history documents that during times of ease and prosperity, the Church can take on a variety of forms. However, when the church experiences the intense stress of persecution, it is stripped away of anything superfluous, and it reverts to its most basic components. (Location: 1,661)

Note:What will the church look like in North America ten years from now? How many people will have the “privilege” of shallow bathing in hereditary Christianity?

In other words, the answer to most ministry questions is, “the cell group”. For example, how will church members find meaningful connection (fellowship) with other believers? In a cell group. How can evangelism happen best? Through a cell group. How will people be discipled and grow spiritually? Through a holistic cell group (that is, a group which fulfills all the purposes of the church). (Location: 1,693)

Note:How we answer this same question, “How can we make ______ more a part of our church?” will tell us what mindset we have.

The reason that cell groups are the answer to most ministry questions is that the purposes of the church are accomplished best through relationships. (Location: 1,696)

Church membership. If the cell is the church, can someone be a member of a local church without belonging to a cell group? If so, what exactly are they joining? (Location: 1,716)

This is a crucial discussions for this author as well. Someone might be very active in a cell, but are they a member? Is there some way of measuring who is in and who is out? If not, then one of the most important functions of the local church, that of recognizing one’s citizenship in heaven, is hindered – if not lost. (See 9Marks, Membership)