Successful Home Cell Groups

This is the story of Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho, pastor of the world’s largest church, in South Korea. I read his book years ago and would love to see the movement of God take place in our church. He is able to pastor over 830,000 members (in 2007). They conduct seven worship services each Sunday, three on Wednesday, with several other gatherings during the week, along with two sunrise prayer services every day except Sundays, and a weekly six hour all-night prayer service each Friday beginning at 9:30 pm!

He has been theologically controversial; Cho’s teaching “is nothing short of occultism…” and “a departure from historic Christian theology…” (p. 353 Christianity in Crisis by Hank Hanegraaff). So, I don’t want to promote his theology (Full Gospel, Assembly of God, health and wealth type), but his success with small groups cannot be denied.

Gradually the idea began to form in my mind: Suppose I released my deacons to open their homes as house churches. Suppose they taught the people, prayed for them and helped them, and suppose the people helped one another in the same way in those home cell groups. The church would flourish in the homes, and the members could even evangelize by inviting their friends and neighbors to the meetings. Then on Sunday they could bring them to the church building for the worship service. That would exempt me from laboring in visiting and counseling, and other time-consuming work. I would be free to pastor–to teach and preach and equip the lay leaders for ministry. (Cho)

  1. The early church model was house churches (Acts).
    1. Use the deacon’s homes.
    2. But deacons work long hours and can’t do it.
    3. Besides, we pay a pastor to do this.
  2. Use the women of the church.
    1. House churches – Romans 16:1, 3, 6, 12
    2. Deaconesses – Romans 16:1 NLT
    3. Obstacles.
      1. Men under the authority of women.
      2. Lack of discipline: Became very long meetings, Took on a party atmosphere.
      3. Outside speakers: Took offerings for themselves. Sometimes questionable doctrine.
      4. Money: People borrowed from each other. Investment strategies carried out.
      5. Attendance: Too many people meeting in one home. Rule: split after reaching 15 families.
      6. “Borrowing” from the offering: Since it was not turned in until Sunday. A treasurer was elected.
      7. Ego and authority of house church leadership: Leaders demanding loyalty to them, not the church. Sheep stealing to start their own church.
  3. The security of cells.
    1. Meaningful involvement.
    2. Intimate, personal ministry.
    3. The exercise of spiritual gifts.
    4. The care for one another: made needs known.
    5. Familiar locations for outsiders: Saturday nights at homes: men did not work all day. Office complexes and factories during the day.
  4. Evangelism.
    1. Door to door invites resistance (like Mormons).
    2. A cell group is the nucleus of the neighborhood.
    3. Unbelievers become curious, the group is a magnet.
    4. Holy eavesdropping discovers needs.
    5. Cells develop men as spiritual leaders.
    6. Cells get the church into apartment complexes.
    7. Cells make the church a living organism in the city.
    8. Cells don’t lose people out the back door.
  5. Practical reasons for home cells groups.
    1. Churches don’t need to plateau.
    2. There are no space limitations.
    3. There are no parking problems.
    4. The church is not built around a single personality: If the pastor leaves, the church is still strong. The underground church in China (99% of leaders in China are women).
    5. There is no need to proselytize.
  6. How does one begin?
    1. The pastor must be convinced of this strategy, or the effort will become stagnant. The meetings will become ritualistic. The cells will become a cancer if the is no loyalty or accountability.
    2. Start small: Begin with a dozen key leaders. Choose leaders with enthusiasm, testimony, dedication, Spirit-filled, with time and money.
    3. Train them: Prepare group lessons. Gather curriculum. Teach how to lead singing, pray, worship.
    4. Minister to one another: share needs.
    5. Be evangelistic: bring lost people.
  7. Fellowship with the Holy Spirit: koinonia.
    1. Fellowship.
    2. Partnership.
    3. Distribution.
    4. Multiplied and empowered ministry.
    5. Priorities: Jesus Christ is number one. You are second: maintain your devotional life. Family is third (wife and children).
  8. Motivation for the leaders.
    1. A new born child needs food and meaningful touch.
    2. Recognition: certificates, words of encouragement.
    3. Praise: tells others how they are doing.
    4. Love: care, concern, never take them for granted.
  9. Dream, set goals, believe, be enthusiastic, get ready.
Spread the Community, Faith, Love

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