Vision Components for Life Together Churches
1. The Word (Bjorn)
2. Discipleship Groups (Peter)
3. Fellowship (Kurt)
4. Prayer (Bjorn)
5. Multiplication (Bruce)
6. All Christians are Ministers (Bruce)
7. Giving (Tom)
8. Evangelism (Bob)
9. Signs and Wonders (Bob)
10. Celebration Worship (Tom)
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you make these videos:
- Don't worry too much about production value. Let's start by just getting it done and used and then improve later. Just using a web cam to make the video is fine. When you're done with it and ready to upload, I'll give you our Vimeo account and you can upload it directly yourself. Eventually, we'll get a nice title screen and theme music, etc., but for now let's just get them up and I'll go back later and edit them.
- Start by introducing yourself and identify yourself as part of the Life Together Churches leadership and support team
- After giving the teaching, conclude with a prayer of blessing upon the group watching. We will recommend that watching these videos be the last thing a cell group or house church does in their gathering, so keep that in mind as you conclude it.
- Below are descriptions of each component. Use this as a guide, but feel free to go your own direction with it. Also, keep in mind that some groups will identify themselves as a cell group and others as a house church or simple church, so keep these semantics in mind.
1. The Word
Life Together Churches accept all the canonical books of the Old and New Testaments as a whole and in all their parts as the divinely inspired, revealed, and inerrant Word of God and submits to this as the only infallible authority in all matters of faith and life. The Bible is our primary source for truth, life and faith. We encourage everyone to be involved in a pattern of daily Bible reading. We offer anyone the opportunity to learn how to study the Bible.
If you do not own a Bible, or if you own a translation that is difficult to follow, and your finances are limited, we will buy you a Bible.
2. Discipleship Groups
Believing that we have never "arrived" in the Christian life until we arrive in heaven, we strongly encourage everyone in each cell group to be involved in meeting with another person of same gender for encouragement, prayer and personal teaching. We provide some really excellent, practical reading/teaching materials for this. No matter how far “down the road” you are we are all helped by prayer and accountability. If you want to "sponsor" another person, or if several of you decide to do this together, please let your cell leader or house church leader know.
True spiritual fellowship is possible, regardless of different backgrounds, races, income levels or personal characteristics, because of what Jesus did - breaking down the dividing wall of hostility, placing us all on equal standing before God. The purpose of fellowship is to "spur one another on to faith and good deeds," and to encourage each other in our faith (Heb 10:23-25). This can mean calling each other during the week to check up on special needs that they might have shared, or asking each other about areas of struggle with sin, in the interest of holding each other accountable. We can do special favors for each other, or help out with special needs. One cell group helped a young single woman get out of debt by doing her cooking, cleaning and laundry for her for a period of six months, while she worked two jobs to pay off her loans.
Prayer is the release of spiritual power. We value connecting with God in such a way that all things are believed possible; that external circumstances notwithstanding, God's will shall be done; and that through such exercise of prayer, faith will be increased. Prayer is the foundational ministry of Life Together Churches. If there is any need, any hurt, any joy, any sorrow, the first place to go with it is to the Lord, through prayer. We have seen him work miracles and we want to devote ourselves to prayer and watch Him work more.
An extremely important part of the vision for cell church is that the cell should grow, not only in maturity, but numerically by bringing others to faith in Jesus Christ; and that when the cell grows to a size of between 12 and 16 persons, two new cells are formed. This should take place for most cell groups in a time of 10 - 12 months. The purpose of a cell is not to perpetuate itself, but to reproduce itself. Consider it in this way: If you have had any benefit from you group, don't you wish that other could also benefit? Part of the reason that we receive so much in our groups is that they are small and intimate and no one gets left out. In order to stay small, and yet fulfill our purpose as a church to bring more people to Jesus, we need to multiply once our groups get to that 12-15 person size.
6. All Christians are Ministers
All believers in Jesus have a function and a purpose to fulfill in the church. Not everyone's function will be the same. Cell members are encouraged to participate in prayer, discussion and service. Muscial gifts, gifts of working with children, teaching gifts - all are welcome. The cell group is intended to be a place where people explore and practice their spiritual gifts for the strengthening of the church.
We believe that all areas of our lives belong to Jesus, including our time, our talents and our possessions. The Lord asks for 10% of our income because that is the best way to insure that our finances are surrendered to Him, and that He is indeed Lord, even of our money. To put it differently, what would be the reason to not give him our tithe (10%)? We trust that when we do offer our tithes and offerings in the name of the Lord, He will supply all that we need.
All believers are called to share their faith in Jesus with people who do not know Him. This is not optional - if you are a Christian, you are a witness for Jesus - the only question is whether you will be a good witness or a poor one. We believe that the joy of knowing Jesus in this life, and the joy that we will be with him in the next life, is so great that we want everyone to know about it. Also the pain of hell is so great that we don't want anyone to have to experience it.
Sharing our faith might take place in many different ways. The evangelistic strategy for cell groups is very simple. People will be encouraged and equipped to bring their friends and relatives and neighbors to their cell group meetings. 90% of those who come to a church and stay there, and/or get involved, do so at the invitation of a friend or relative. The most effective evangelism is simply a person telling unchurched people in their network of relationships, about what Jesus has done for them personally. The emphasis will be on inviting new people personally - people members already know.
9. Signs and Wonders
We believe that all the spiritual gifts described in the New Testament are still offered to believers today. We want God to be God and we expect him to do the unusual whenever he desires to do so. People are free in the cell group to speak out in prophecy or to share something the Lord has placed on their heart, or to share a Word of Knowledge. There is freedom also to speak out loud in tongues if there is an interpretation. Some times when we do these things we will find that God works mightily. Other times we will find that it falls flat - it was not God but ourselves. Both of these alternatives are OK - there is freedom and safety to "mess up" in our cell meetings.
When unusual things occur it is always appropriate to discuss them and weigh them against the message of the Bible.
10. Celebration Worship
Once each month, all the cell groups will meet together in one place for a "cell-abration". We will have time to renew friendships from previous cell groups and worship together. It is important to recognize that though we are in different cell groups, we are part of the same church. Again, mention multiplication.
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