After our recent Telegram poll and cell group (CG) series, some of you shared your personal experiences and asked us questions.
In response to some of the comments, we reached out to these church leaders for their thoughts on: Must I really join a cell group when I already attend church?
- Ps Amadea Seow, Next Gen Pastor, Maranatha Christian Assembly
- Rev Dr Chua Chung Kai, Associate Pastor, Covenant Evangelical Free Church
- Pr Wendy Chiang, Senior Pastoral Staff (Cells, Discipleship & Nurture, Girls’ Brigade), Aldersgate Methodist Church
- Ps Rick Toh, Lead Pastor, Yio Chu Kang Chapel
Absolutely. The CG is where you grow intimately with God together as a group.
It helps you process the Word of God you hear every Sunday into life applications. It’s a group that supports, encourages and keeps you in check as you mature as a Christian.
If you’re an introvert and easily stressed by social settings, the CG is the perfect place to be because it’s smaller than a large fellowship group, with guidelines to ensure confidentiality so you can share your struggles and testimony in a safe place.
God’s desire is not merely for us to serve Him, but to grow to love Him and those around us.
The quality of our relationship with God is often reflected in the quality of our relationships with each other (1 John 4:20).
It’s hard to love if we’re not connected with others in a spiritual family. That’s why small group communities are vital in our discipleship.
We cannot truly mature in a vacuum. For it’s only in community, we discover whether we really love the other and, in doing so, our Lord. We all need small group communities!
Acts 2:46-47 tells us that the early church met in temple courts and in homes. Thus, I see a mutuality between attending church and belonging to a CG. They go hand in hand.
I believe that the church does not exist solely to feed us. That would make us parasites. Rather, Christ intends for the church to be made stronger by our participation, prayer and presence (Ephesians 4:16).
The Word proclaimed every Sunday is intended to equip us to represent Christ to the world (2 Timothy 3:16-17). But alas, too many people attend church to be fed with little or no active and continual contribution.
Sometimes, people leave a church because “it is not feeding me”. Sadly, it continues to be so.
Being in community through a healthy CG, however, can help you to grow and mature through accountability and support. In this way, CG life sharpens one another to be fitter contributors in church and for Christ.
- Community is not an option in the Christian faith
God is the triune community of love. When God created Adam in His own image He declared that it is not good for Adam to be alone, thereby indicating that Adam was created to be a communal being with the capacity to give and receive love.
When God saved us from our sins, He not only saved us from isolation from Him, but also isolation from our fellow man. In Christ, we are now brought together to become God’s household.
In other words, we cannot practise our Christian faith in a bubble. We are meant to share life with fellow believers in the local body of Christ.
- There is limit to what large gatherings can achieve
Acts 2:46 suggests that the early church had a habit of gathering in large groups (at the temple) and in small groups (in members’ homes) regularly.
When the early church began to expand outside of Jerusalem, we read from Paul’s letters that the new churches gathered in members’ homes. Small groups therefore were a constant feature of the early church.
The modern church, however, has gravitated towards large-size gatherings. While these gatherings may serve to celebrate corporate worship, maintain doctrinal standards and facilitate better usage of resources, they cannot effectively help members to share life together and grow as a community of Christ.
The obsession towards large-size gatherings can unintentionally contribute to an era of consumer Christianity, whereby believers are individualistic in nature, and slip in and out of weekend gatherings without committing oneself to the community life of the church.
This is not only unbiblical, but also unhealthy for both the believer and the modern church.
- We need to have the right expectation of community
Many join a CG expecting it to be the perfect community on earth. We assume that since this is a faith community, it should exhibit wholly the love of God and the fruit of the Spirit. However, we realise that the reality is far from it.
We fail to reckon that we are still living on this side of heaven, and believers are still in the journey of sanctification. Experiencing disagreement and conflict will be part and parcel of community life.
The New Testament therefore consists of many instructions for the believers to learn to live in harmony. These instructions include forbearing and forgiving and being patient with one another.
It is God’s intention to use the community to play an important part to help us grow towards spiritual maturity. For it’s in the community that we learn to practise the compassion and love of Christ towards one another.
In other words, we are cannot grow into Christ-likeness without the community of Christ.
When we have the right expectation of community, it can prevent us from falling into disillusionment. We are instead geared up to put on love as we engage in the community of Christ.
For more advice on cell groups, check out this article below!