Importance of fellowshipping with other Christians

Fellowship with other Christians (Why it is important)
Objectives

Get church members to realize the importance of being connected to home cells.
Teach members how they can contribute when they come to home cell meetings.

What are cell groups?

Cell groups are small groups that meet on a regular basis outside the church setting.

Biblical basis of cell groups
It was the practice of the early church

(Acts 2:44-46 NIV)  All the believers were together and had everything in common. {45} Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. {46} Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…

The early believers met in the temple courts very much like the modern day Christians meet in church. But not only that. They also meet in their homes. Many churches practice the home cell concept. This means that besides meeting in church during the weekends, the church members also meet in a smaller group setting in homes during the weekday.

While the home cell concept seems like a new phenomenon, it is really not. It had been the practice right from the birth of the early church. Churches that practice this are not adopting a new thing but simply going back to the basics.

It is a commandment

(Hebrews 10:25 NIV)  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Christians should meet together, all the more as they see the last days approaching. We are much closer to the last days that the early church believers. There is so much deterioration going on in our world that Christians just cannot survive on their own. We need to take advantage of the strength that comes from being together.

Why is it necessary to meet in small groups?

The local church carries out a lot of its ministry work through the concept of cell groups. When a church carries out its ministry through cell groups, it is following the example of how Jesus fulfilled His ministry while He was on earth. He did it through a core group of twelve disciples.

Discussion : What do you do when you go to church on Sunday?

·        Worshipping God

·        Listening to sermons

·        Meet friends

·        Pray

Discussion : What do you do in cell groups that you normally do not do on Sundays at church?

Share testimonies that can glory God

The cell group is an excellent place for people to share about the good that God has done. Giving glory to God is not only commanded by Him (Luke 17:12-18), it is crucial in building faith and reminding us of God’s faithfulness.

Share prayer requests and be prayed for

It may be possible to be prayed for in church but the cell setting is one whereby you know people well enough to be able to share your more private struggles. You can also exchange commitments with one another to pray for each other on a regular basis.

Receive encouragement from one another

(Hebrews 10:25 NIV)  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

It is important that Christians get in close touch with fellow Christians for mutual support. The best way to do it is in a cell group setting.

During cell meetings, we can :

·        Learn that our problems are not unique

·        Learn how other Christians overcome their problems with God’s help

·        Share our problems with other Christians so that we can get their assistance, encouragement or prayer support.

This, however, can only be possible if each member plays his part. When we come to home cells, do we make an effort to encourage others or share of what God has done in our life so that others can benefit as well?

Meeting of other felt needs

The small group of believers that Jesus left behind suffered severe oppositions as they went about preaching the resurrection of Jesus. But the support that they drew from each other was crucial. Without that group support, it would have been difficult if not impossible for the believers to go through the persecution. Support can also come in other means such as financial support, etc.

(Acts 4:32-35)  All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. {33} With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. {34} There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales {35} and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Likewise the cell can be an ideal place where people come together to share their needs and receive help. One such help is prayer support. No one likes to share their personal struggles in front of the whole congregation in church. However, it is much easier to share with close friends in a cell setting and receive not just prayer support but also tangible support.

(James 2:15-16 NIV)  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. {16} If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?

Is there someone in your home cell with a need that you can meet?

Spend extended time in fellowship

Church going on Sundays can turn out to be a rush-rush event. People may not have time to spend extended time in fellowship with one another. The cell environment is an excellent place for Christians to avoid the crowd and rush of church and really enjoy the company of each other.

Be accountable to a core group of Christians

If you go to a big church, you would not be missed even if you fail to go for several weeks. There is no one we are accountable to. In the cell group, our close contacts will surely know if we have not been going to church or we have not been spending time with God daily. Accountability is important because there is someone to correct us and bring us back to the right way.

Partake of deep spiritual truths

Jesus spent a lot of time teaching to the multitudes but He also set aside precious time to convey important truths to His small group of followers. He reserved difficult truths for the small group setting because He knows that they may misunderstand Him and have to be corrected.

(Mark 8:31-33)  He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. {32} He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. {33} But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."

If we only go to church on Sunday to hear sermons, even if we understand wrongly, there is no one to correct. When we are in contact with the teacher, we can have interactive Bible lessons. The teacher is able to ensure that the students got the message.

Mentor others

The cell group is an excellent platform for mentoring others. Our Lord Jesus mentored a group of 12 men so that they could take on the task of evangelizing the world when He has departed from this world. This small group spent a lot of time with their Master so that he could impart not just knowledge but also His life to them.

Cell meetings are a platform for evangelistic support

(Acts 2:47 NIV)  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

(Acts 5:42 NIV)  Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

When the early Christians met, they were not just a group that was interested in meeting each other’s needs. They also had an outward and evangelistic focus. The group was active in proclaiming the message of salvation and the group was growing because many people were added to their numbers.

The cell meetings can be an important platform for your evangelistic efforts.

Sharing with each other the list of people we are reaching out to so we can prayer support.
Tangible support in our evangelistic efforts. E.g. My friend asked me this question but I don’t have the answer. Can you help me? Or I have a friend who likes to play chess. Since you also play chess, perhaps I can introduce him to you so that the two of you can spend some time together.

As a cell member, are you supporting your other members in their evangelistic efforts by encouraging them, praying for their oikos, etc?

Transforming the community

(Luke 9:1-2)  When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, {2} and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

If we are eager to reach the community, there is no better way than to do it through the cell groups. The nation is not going to be saved with everyone flocking to big auditoriums to hear the Word of God. No, the gospel has to be brought to them, house by house. And there is no better way to do it than through the small group setting of the cell group.

Our part in the cell group

As seen above, the cell group is an excellent place to not just meet the needs of the cell members but also the community. But these things will not happen unless each cell member is willing to contribute towards these goals.

For example, we have said that the cell is a good place to receive prayer support. But this will not happen if every cell member only wants to be prayed for and is not willing to do his part to pray for others.

Each of us have been given special gifts and talents that we can use to serve the cell group. We can serve in teaching, in encouragement, in worship leading, in helping members in tangible ways, even in extending hospitality. We can also serve the community through the cell group. We do so by praying for the community, doing kind acts, meeting real needs of the neighborhood, etc.

Sharing : What gifts have God blessed you with that you can use to serve the cell group and the community? List out two areas you want to increase your contribution to and chart your progress after a few weeks.

Even if we do not think we have any gifts to contribute to the cell, many areas of contribution do not require any special gifts or talents but only our willingness to do a part. For example, we can determine to contribute to the cell ministry by praying for the community or praying for the cell members on a regular basis.