How can I help my cell group to grow?
Jonathan Her // July 26, 2019, 11:52 pm
Growing up as a Christian, I didn’t experience the love of Christ within the Church until I joined a cell group.
So the cell group is really important to me. Nothing else so closely resembles the communion Jesus modelled with His disciples: a group of disciples committed to the Lord and to one another.
Some of us believe that only cell leaders should bear the responsibility of the cell’s growth. Nothing can be further from the truth. In my own life, I’ve seen more and more cell leaders call it quits from the burden of carrying a “one-man show”. In order for cell groups to grow, we need to play our part. If one of us behaves like a cancerous cell, the whole group will suffer.
So how do we make progress together as a cell? In my own experience, here are some ways to really help your cell grow.
1. AIM TO EDIFY
The Church grows through edification – when it is built up. And how do we edify each other? We do so through love, for “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We build up the church when we serve and speak excellently (1 Corinthians 14:26b).
I am moved whenever I see my cellmates go out of the way to serve in cell group, even when they do not need to. These can be things like driving each other back home after meetings, giving someone lozenges for their sore throat or helping to wash the dishes when we eat dinner together. Some serve through their speech also, by speaking kindly to comfort those who feel down.
I believe these acts of service exemplify the love which builds up the church and brings people back week after week.
There are some who feel the weight of God’s presence and know the need to be reverent. When talking to these people, I feel more at ease to share vulnerable struggles, trusting that they will not take the issues lightly. I have been hurt in the past, by some who made light of the things I shared. Sadly, that made me more reluctant to share what is on my heart.
The greatest killer of edification is inappropriate jokes and comments. For example, when a cell leader asks a question pertaining to a serious topic, some people might think it’s funny to make a joke about it and not answer the question seriously. Such behaviour could derail the discussion from being sombre and soul-searching as originally intended.
Cell groups miss the mark when members do not take the Word of God and His presence seriously. We can laugh and joke where appropriate, but the overall posture of the meeting should be an earnest pursuit of God’s heart.
2. SHARE RELEVANTLY AND SUCCINCTLY
My Bible study leaders have a lot to share when it comes to Scripture, but they usually hold off speaking to help the members digest certain lessons or truths. Cell leaders also practise this a lot because they are interested in their cell members’ growth and want to give them an opportunity to share as well.
Be ready with a sharing that will benefit our cellmates, instead of just rambling about whatever comes to our mind.
If cell members have the same mindset in giving preference to one another in speaking, everyone would have an equal chance of receiving love and edification through their own sharing. If one person dominates the sharing session, few will truly pay attention. So we should be ready with a sharing that will benefit our cellmates, instead of just rambling about whatever comes to our mind.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
Succinct and relevant sharing is crucial because it lets us learn from each other’s scriptural insights and spiritual experiences, and spurs the group towards faith and love.
3. WORSHIP BOLDLY
“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart.” (Psalm 86:12)
In my fellowship group at school, everyone sings so spontaneously and boldly that the eruption of praise makes even newcomers and shy believers willing to join in.
But in my cell, the worship leader is frequently stressed out because if he doesn’t sing or play well, nobody else will follow. Perhaps people are shy about others hearing their voice. But mature cellmates can take the first step to project our voice along with the worship leader – that helps encourage everyone else to join in the praise.
4. PRAY IT UP!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
I’ve found that the times I feel the most love for my cellmates are also when I’ve prayed over them the most. Having led word study in cell, I’ve noticed that when I have prayed for my cellmates, they are more attentive and receptive. But when I’ve neglected prayer, much of what I try to share fails to connect with them.
Every meeting needs prayer. Our prayers for the cell act as a shield against the enemy who seeks to kill, steal and destroy anyone vulnerable (1 Peter 5:8). It keeps the messages God speaks to each cellmate safe from being stolen by the enemy.
Praying for our cellmates fosters our love for them.
Intercession changes things. I remember one time when my cellmate was sharing her difficulty in ministry. I went home to pray and intercede. After a few days, I received an update that her situation had improved. What joy to see my prayer answered and real progress happening through prayer!
If we love our cell and cellmates, we will pray for them. Likewise, praying for our cellmates fosters our love for them.
My brother once asked me what my purpose was in attending cell group. I didn’t have an answer initially.
In the army, soldiers are trained to kill when necessary. However, as soldiers of Christ in the Church, we are trained to love. This training is not easy, as it involves self-denial and taking up the cross each day. But when Jesus comes back for His pure and spotless bride, it is going to be worth all the sacrifices made.
Whatever our cell group looks like, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and run the good race, holding our cellmates’ hands all the way until we cross the finish line.
May God be king within our cells, as we keep Jesus’ command to love one another even as He has loved us.
This article was first published on Jonathan’s blog and is republished with permission.
THINK + TALK
- What do the conversations sound like in your cell group? Do they build up or tear down?
- Does your cell group worship freely?
- How will you pray for your cell group this week?