What an amazing time to be alive! I’m so excited that it’s Cell Month once again – where we get together to celebrate and build the Body through the cell community.
We can never underemphasise the importance of community in the Christian faith – it’s a place for transformation, edification, and fellowship. If you watched the Cell Month video last weekend, you’d have gotten a sneak peek of what cell’s all about.
1. A Place For Transformation
In 2001, Malcolm Gladwell authored a secular marketing book entitled ‘The Tipping Point’. A tipping point is when an idea, product or movement becomes accepted by the masses. One of his studies revolved around John Wesley and the Methodist Movement. ‘Wesley realised that if you wanted to bring about a fundamental change in people’s belief and behaviour, a change that would persist and serve as an example to others, you needed to create a community around them, where those new beliefs could be practiced and expressed and nurtured.’
Cell groups can become agents of both individual and community change when they’re living out the Gospel together. The Bible, and the New Testament in particular, have many teachings on the importance of community. By studying two simple phrases that appear time and again in the New Testament, we can learn of the requirements and beauty of true Christian community. They are: ‘each other’ and ‘one another’. When we live out ‘one another’ in the cell community, there’s spiritual growth that changes us individually and as a whole. We can also begin to position ourselves with an outward focus and encourage Gospel transformation in the communities outside the church walls.
2. A Place For Edification
The Early Church comprised an extremely diverse group of people from many different backgrounds and cultures a microcosm of society. The rich, poor, strong, weak, those with good social skills and without, those with many talents, and those with few. They were, like today, not without problems and issues, even among the great Apostles – Paul had to address many issues in his epistles. But they were all part of the same community, with a common faith, common values, and a common goal – they were family.
‘The Heavenly Man’, Brother Yun’s story is most assuredly a sobering reminder of how a church and a cell community can be like the one in the New Testament. Through thick and thin, the Chinese Church, in and out of prison, fasted and prayed for the Heavenly Man for his release. Nothing short of a miracle ensued after faithful prayers of peace and mercy were released.
I’m with a mission team in Yangon this week, comprising 10 from different jobs, backgrounds, and experiences. We’ve a common goal to serve the poor, the young and old in the churches. I saw how a team was strengthened by the diversity of giftings and talents. As John Maxwell put it, “Our differences can make a positive difference.”
3. A Place For Fellowship
In I Cor 12, the Apostle Paul summed up the experience of the cell and Church using a beautiful metaphor of the Body. That, as one body, each part is not independent of one other but interdependent. It reminds me of when one of my cell members fell ill, the whole cell group rallied to help him; much like how our physical bodies react to sickness by sending antibodies to support the immune system.
1 John 1:7 writes, ‘If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.’ The Greek word translated ‘fellowship’ in this verse is koinonia. In the New Testament, koinonía is more than just meeting together, it’s having a union where the different parts fit and function together properly. It signifies having a share or participation in something or with someone. It’s in this kind of fellowship that His blood, which is His life, flows through us and cleanses us from all sin.
Art Katz, in his book ‘True Fellowship’ said, “True New Testament ministry that penetrates and affects time and eternity must grow out of His life and this comes out of the relationships we have. There’s an extraordinary organic connection between the expression of the ministry and the foundation of life in koinonia.”
If you’ve not found a place for transformation, edification, and fellowship, I encourage you to join a cell. There’s a place for you, a cell for everyone in His Body – to Grow and to Go!
Ps. Timothy Chong