Today’s Bible reading
From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. —Acts 20:17-21
More thoughts for meditation
From the Cell Plan
Why are we organized the way we are?
A cell church is simple and biblical. Just like the first believers, we understand that every church needs two wings to fly: a large-scale wing and a small-scale wing. Circle of Hope’s Sunday meetings represent one “wing” — the large-scale wing. Our cells represent the other “wing” — the small-scale wing. We appreciate the simplicity of this model and we like how it provides an alternative to the increasing complexity of postmodern life.
We have an “Acts 20:20 vision,” like the Apostle Paul’s: “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught publicly and from house to house.” Flying on two wings has been the instinct of church planters from the beginning of the church.
The cell church paradigm helps us be who we yearn to be and do what we’re called to do:
- We want to know Jesus and we want others to meet Him.
The best way to get to know Jesus is to meet Him incarnate, in his body, the church. The Holy Spirit lives in a body, not merely individuals. Our cells reveal Jesus personally and directly in his natural environment.
- We need to be interconnected if we want to follow Christ and live in his kingdom.
God, as trinity, demonstrates community in his own being. Jesus calls us to be like God, to be family. We experience cells as a great means to build a genuine, face-to-face, mutually supportive community of love in Christ — a circle of hope.
- We want to help people get into Christ’s mission.
In community we can all share what we have been given in the cause of making and building devoted followers of Christ. The cell is an opportunity to explore and express God’s love and to connect with opportunities to serve.
- We are patiently impatient to embody what God has in mind for now.
We believe an organic structure based on cells allows us to apply the scripture as directly and realistically as we can. That’s what we intend to do. We have more than just a negative reaction to our culture and to church as it was. We are taking our kingdom instincts seriously and moving with what is next.
- We want to live and work in the Spirit.
We think this strategy of multiplying cells is the best way we can unleash the potential in our gifted leaders and call forth the spiritual gifts God has given us all.
- We want to challenge one another to live deeply and give from God’s best.
We want to do something hard enough to require God. Taking the easy way seems deadly. This countercultural, potentially radical approach gives us many opportunities to rely on God.
- We want to stay close to what God is doing next, now.
We hope our way of extending the kingdom of God can help actualize the Lord’s dreams. In this hurting, lost, alone era, forming a new, sustainable, flexible community is crucial to everyone’s happiness and health. We are trying to keep up with how the Lord wants to respond to the challenges of our day.
Suggestions for action
Nobody lives up to all their aspirations (at least in their own estimation!). Our aspirations are not “laws” that condemn us, they are visions that inspire us. God is calling us to be living partners. Our “yes” may seem feeble to us, but it sounds like love to the Lord.
To which of the elements above do you hesitate to say “Yes” fully? What is it about it?—You don’t understand? You don’t feel right? You are afraid?
Sit with it for a minute and let God encourage or enlighten you. If you need more, talk to your cell leader or pastor and they will help.