How will they tell the difference?
Mike Schorah writes
"Were always wondering how best to explain the difference between a cell
group and the kind of small group or house group that many of us have belonged to in a
range of churches. Eve MacInnes, one of our cell leaders, was praying and had some
inspiration for the following "drama" which Ill try to explain so you can
use it, too. We presented it at one of our cell leader training evenings and have used it
in several cells recently. It works and its fun!
"BTW, past experience suggests that it's more helpful for transitioning churches not to imply that
all that went before in terms of small group experience was wrong. There can be some
"four legs good, two legs bad" thinking as churches move from house group style
to cell group life. We want people to hear and experience the life that cells bring, not
to get offended by the way in which we present it, nor to get hung up over the terms we
- Take the members of your group and get them to stand.
- One of them represents your unchurched neighbour or the guy who comes to church
occasionally or the member of church who has never really grasped what its about.
- Tell the others they are part of one potential style of small church group meeting in a
home and get them to stand in a circle (with the unchurched guy sitting or standing
outside the group).
- "This group loves meeting together each week for fun and Bible reading and prayer.
The members appreciate the support they can give to one another if one is down
Make it up as you go along, but get the circle to move closer and tighter together as you
describe the group, link arms round each others back, rest heads on anothers
shoulder to show the support
- Pause and ask the outsider how he feels, whether he could join the group. Ask the group
to look for the outsider (most cant turn their neck far enough round to see him!)
and how they would feel about having someone join their tight, cosy fellowship
- Now stop and reform the group as a cell group, still with the outsider.
- This time, the cell members stand in a circle, but link their left hands in the centre
of the circle instead of arms round each others back. (The star shape will now make
you feel like youre at a barn dance and therell be a lot of giggling!) Talk
about how individuals gather together and link up as the Body of Christ in the Welcome part of the meeting; how they Worship (linked hands raised upwards
symbolically); how they gather round applying the Word
(linked hands turn palms upwards, still touching together). The group members can pray for
one another as the Word is applied to the
life of individuals in the cell (free hands can reach forward to touch/pray for others in
the cell). But the meeting never ends without a focus on Witness
(right arms are free to reach out symbolically and to draw the outsider in).
- Again, ask the outsider how he feels about the cell group, whether or not he could join,
whats attractive about it. Ask the cell group members how it feels to relate
together and to relate to outsiders.
"Hopefully thats enough for you to get the idea and to improvise with.
Weve experimented with this drama. Of itself it takes just five minutes, but one of
our cells spontaneously rearranged the meeting to spend the next hour discussing together
the implications and insights as those whod been in church house groups for years
suddenly began to realise how cells should be different.
"Another cell used this exercise at its first meeting, right after the Welcome and Worship and used it as a way in to
describing and agreeing the kind of intimacy they wanted to work towards and to affirm
their commitment to evangelism