Rapidly Multiplying Cells or “micro churches” Create Urban Church Networks.
According to George Patterson’s training novel “Come Quickly Dawn” leaders should not focus on growing the “mother church” but, instead, focus on forming cells that multiply rapidly within the larger urban church.
There are six guidelines for developing urban cells and the 6 icons above remind us of the principles involved.
Family: First, cells should focus on ENTIRE FAMILIES … don’t just reach children or women and DIVIDE the family. You may win a few converts by “picking off” individuals, but the church that is built when whole families are “on board” are stronger, so seek to reach the whole family. When working with individuals or after whole families have come to Christ, seek to influence entire social networks. Work along lines of natural affinity where people have things in common. Most importantly, these folks feel comfortable with one another already and there are natural leadership structures. Let the Gospel penetrate existing social networks instead of EXTRACTING people from those networks.
Crown: Every cell group’s primary focus should be to rapidly obey Jesus. Rather than being another study group or coffee club, rapidly developing cells find their true purpose when they crown Jesus as king and seek to obey Him right away. Following Jesus should not be an option or open to discussion.
Table: Develop loving fellowship including Communion. Table fellowship characterized the early church. Sitting around a table or in a circle facilitates communication and builds relationships. The home style setting allows children and adults to participate together. Don’t seek to imitate large group worship. Do what small groups do best… communicate and work through issues.
Baton: Develop mentoring chains by training new leaders and “passing the baton” for them to start their own groups and build up their own leaders as Paul describes in 2 Timothy 2:2! Focus on what matters most… the GOOD NEWS of Jesus and following Christ in loving obedience. Pass on the biblical essentials not MAN MADE rules and traditions. Each leader should seek to develop multiple mentoring chains down as many “generations” as possible. Check the health of each generation by making sure they are all “on the same page”.
Network: No cell should stand alone. No one small group of people has all the gifts or experiences necessary to fulfill the call of Christ in the Great Commandment or the Great Commission. Instead, cells should network together to accomplish vital ministry or relief efforts and even worship together from time to time. Isolation is a genuine threat in the spiritual life. It’s as true for small groups as it is for individuals. Viable networks overcome these problems.
Bunny: Put two elephants together with plenty of food and water and come back in three years, if you’re lucky, you may have one baby elephant. But do the same thing with two rabbits and you’ll see thousands of baby rabbits. Small cells can multiply rapidly, like rabbits. Large churches, on the other hand, may never reproduce or take “forever” to do so.
Keep working to multiply small cells and make sure strong leadership chains connect the cells so they create a NETWORK.
Related Link (podcast): Steve Addison speaks with David Broodryk about the challenges of moving into an urban environment where rural family structures are non-existent and how disciple making paradigms shift in the urban environment.