Cell Sub-Groups

by Cliff Ravenscraft on June 3, 2005

in Blog

I've recently made a proposal that we officially add three sub-groups of cells to our Cell Strucuture in our ministry. I figured that since I put so much effort into putting this together, I would simply share it with you here. Please read on…
In the Cell Church model, a Cell is understood as a Basic Christian Community. Any other groups that exist in a Cell Church would be a sub-group of a Cell group or sub group of multiple cells. These sub-groups do not exist independent of the Cell or Cells.
The Cell is the basic building block for the Cell Church Model. It embodies the essence of all that the Bible says about “Church.” Here people live in community and accountability with one another. In the Cell Group, the presence, power, and purpose of Christ is experienced. It is here, in the cell, that the saints are equipped for the work of the ministry. Periodically, all these Cell groups join together for times of large group meetings and celebration, but the focus and life of the Cell Church is in its Cells.

The Cell group meeting is the most critical church meeting for a Christian in the Cell Church Model. The Cell is the fountain from which every value of the Christian's life and every function of the church will find its source. Every member is a member of a Cell Group. While members may be involved in other groups (focus groups/discipleship groups/ministry teams) as well, this involvement never replaces their commitment to and involvement in the primary group, the Cell.
I see a need for at least three types of “sub-groups” to be promoted within the cell structure of Reality Ministries, Focus Groups, Discipleship Groups, and Ministry Teams. I will attempt to define quickly the purpose of each of these three groups.
What is a Focus Group?
A Focus Group is a group that is started by a member or members of a cell or a group of cells. The purpose of this type of group is two-fold.
First and foremost, this group should be evangelistic in nature, meaning that this group is not only open to non-churched, non-Christian people, but the members of this type of group are ENCOURAGED to reach out to those type of people to BRING THEM IN to the group for the purpose of building trusting relationships with its members. The primary purpose of a focus group is to have this group be a “first step” toward involvement in a cell group.
The second purpose of a focus group is to help edify and build up the cell members and other participants, through relational community. This helps cell members to be a part of each others lives not only on a spiritual level, but also a very social level. It also encourages cell members to remember our goal is to reach out and build relationships with non-believers. Hebrews 3:12-14 (Encourage One Another Daily)
A Focus Group will revolve around a shared interest of some sort. It could be a started by a group of folks who enjoy mountain biking, fantasy sports, camping, crafts, cake decorating, even blogging, etc. The goal is to help people who share similar interests to get together to build and strengthen relationships around the shared interest and to find non-Christians who also share that same interest for the purpose of inviting them with the goal of getting them plugged into a cell group and ultimately into a saving relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In a Focus Group, we do not emphasize multiplication. In fact a focus group could end up having as many as 200 members, but could start out with as little as two members. A focus group could decide to multiply into two separate groups that revolve around the same interest if a larger group is not advantageous to that group's interest. So while focus groups can multiply, the point is that there is no EMPHASIS on multiplication, the EMPHASIS is on EVANGELISM & Laid back social interaction.
What is a Discipleship Group?
Just like a focus group, a Discipleship Group can be started by a member or members of a cell or a group of cells. A Discipleship Group is different from a Focus Group in that the emphasis is NOT placed on inviting non-believers directly into the group as their first experience with the body of believers. Instead, the emphasis of a Discipleship Group is a deeper level of accountability and spiritual growth. Our cell meetings are designed to be an atmosphere where all who attend, including non-believers, can experience the Closeness of Christ. As one matures in their faith, a desire to move into a deeper understanding of who God is comes about.
One of the number one requests that I have had from cell members over the past several years is that they wished that our cell lessons were “More Intense” studies of the scripture. It has been amazing to see some reactions when I've shared with those who request this, that the cell meeting is not necessarily the best place for such intense study. The purpose of the cell lesson within our cell meeting is to facilitate discussion, to move people toward more transparent communication (getting real with one another), to get people to focus on God's Word and to see how it relates to our daily lives. The desire is that this lesson will always be at a level that will provoke good communication from a group of mature believers. However, at the same time, the study must always be at a level where a non-Christian within our meetings can participate in the discussion, even visiting for the very first time.
So where does one turn to experience a deeper level of accountability and a study of God's Word or principles? This is where the Discipleship Group comes into play. It's a group of folks who might get together for eight weeks to study a book of the Bible. Perhaps a group of men will get together to discuss a book written on men's topics. The same can be true of women getting together to study a book written on women's topics. Perhaps a group of parents will get together for several weeks to study and discuss biblical parenting. The possibilities are great.
What is a Ministry Team?
A ministry team is also a sub-group of cells. It's a group of people from a cell, or various cells, who choose to integrate their gifts and talents to perform ministry tasks within the church. An example of this might be a celebration set up team who helps set up everything for a Reality Celebration service. Some members of this team may set up chairs while others may function as greeters. The celebration band members would be considered a ministry team, using a different set up gifts and talents to perform a ministry task.
The effective use and administration of ministry teams will greatly increase the return on our ministry efforts as people will more effectively function in areas of ministry where their gifts and talents can be best utilized. This is a preferable way to plug people into ministry rather than having cell groups placed on a rotation schedule to perform these tasks.

Regarding These Groups:

One thing that I feel the need to point out is that I'm not suggesting that these groups be “added” to what we do. The fact is that these three types of groups ALREADY EXIST.
Ministry Teams:
-Cell Coaches
-Cell Leaders
-Servefest Leaders
-Celebration Band
-Focus Event Teams
-Christmas Party Planning Team
-Reality Cookout Planning Team
-Reality Retreat Planning Team
-Fairhaven Rescue Mission Team
Focus Groups:
-Mountain Biking Group
-Poker Group for men
-Hobby Night for women
-Date Night for couples
-Play Group for stay-at-home moms
-Men's Night Out Group (Sporting Events/Bowling/canoeing/etc)
-Ladies Night Out Group (Dinner & A Movie/Shopping/canoeing/etc)
-Fantasy Football group
-Blogger's Not-So-Anonymous
Discipleship Groups:
-Wild at Heart Men's Group (Studying Book “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge)
-Captivating Women's Group (Studying Book “Captivating” by John Eldredge)
-Prayer Groups (Folks gathered for time devoted solely to prayer at various times)
-Growing Kids God's Way (Biblical Parenting)
The focus groups and Discipleship groups mentioned above are ONLY the ones that originated from my very own cell group. The fact is that your cell may have a similar list of focus and discipleship groups that already exist. So the point I'm getting at is this. I'm not suggesting that we start “MORE MEETINGS.” These other meetings will automatically pop-up whether we recognize them as a part of our cell church structure or not. However, by defining these groups and having the lead team set some principles and suggestions for their structure, I feel that these groups will be more effective in fulfilling their purpose.
The ultimate goal of my proposal to add these groups to our “Cell STRUCTURE” is to make sure that these groups continue to support the work of the Cells within the Church and to help avoid them from distracting anyone from involvement within a cell. These sub-groups should not exist independent of the Cell or Cells!

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