Let me tell you a few stories to demonstrate what happens in our cells. Cells are our face-to-face places for faith to grow. Jesus covered unimaginable obstacles to be with us as a human being with a face. He revealed himself to us as a fully human person in body and soul. He is still best revealed that way—in a body—only now the body is ours. So when we say “cells” it is a biologic metaphor! 🙂 But that’s where the metaphor stops. The rest of this post is real. These stories really happened but I changed the names.
Jeremy came to a cell meeting depressed after a pretty devastating lay-off. His good job with benefits evaporated just in time for his chronic depression to rev up. Bad combo. His anxiety was running his life and wasn’t sure how he would pay the rent if his unemployment ran out before he got a job. Just then, an old friend called him up and said, “Please come to my new cell.” He had an idea of what they were from years before so the invitation wasn’t too weird, but the timing was pretty weird. He showed up and became important to everyone in the cell just by being there. His cell helped him pay his rent when the unemployment did indeed run out and walked with him out of depression and into a new experience of Jesus. A few years later he was laid off again but it was a lot different the second time. The depression did not come with the same vengeance and he had hope enough to try something completely different in his career. He had really been transformed.
Maria came to a cell meeting in her living room because her roommate invited a bunch of people there and “why not?” This was just the thing she could sink her teeth into—a bunch of people doing radical Jesus stuff. She had been to church as a kid, even sang in the choir, but it wasn’t like church was her thing. She was in college and pursuing tons of other things. But she was attracted by the authenticity and ambition of the cell. She became an integral part of the church just because she was that sort of person. Jesus became her main thing and she shaped her life around it. A few years after college she took a big leap of faith and quit her job at an arms manufacturer out of obedience to Jesus’ call to be peacemakers. She was really doing the radical Jesus stuff too!
Greene was kind of into Jesus, or at least the idea of Jesus he had gathered—some from his perusal of the Bible, but mostly from whatever was out there in pop culture. It seemed like Jesus was pretty neat. Then he married a woman who thought Jesus was more than neat and he wanted to figure out what drove her faith, so he joined a cell. The cell was the perfect place to explore without very much pressure. He liked the conversation and friendship and kept turning this Jesus over and over in his head. One day, a couple of years of faithful participation later, he surprised his cell by announcing “Oh yeah, so I guess I’m a Christian now.” He had finally decided that Jesus was worth following and not just admiring. His cell leader baptized him not long after.
There are lots of reasons to join a cell
We want to be an opportunity for anyone to explore and express God’s love. Anyone can come to a cell meeting, no matter their beliefs or their intention on believing. Not everyone who comes to a meeting ends up following Jesus, but many do. You might already be a Christian seeking a new expression in a new city, or trying to reconstruct your deconstructed faith. Cells are a good place to figure it out, go at your own pace and find the transformation you are looking for. Satisfy your curiosity or make some new friends. Jesus is among us no matter why you’re with us.
—Ben White (Pastor for 4 years and Cell Leader for 15 years)