With churches reopening and new opportunities to meet in person in larger groups, it’s a good time to take a step back and examine how our cell groups have been growing (or not growing) over the last two years.

Recently, I spoke to a number of youth and young adults informally and most shared that they found their experience to be lacking.

But lacking based on what? We discussed what some possible metrics would be and arrived at:

  • Discipleship
  • Evangelism
  • Fellowship
  • Growth

The goal behind this article is to get people to consider how their cell group is doing and reflect on their own role in creating a culture they hope to see.

Condemnation and causing people to leave their cell groups are the last things we want here, so as we highlight these experiences and questions, have a heart that asks how it can bless and build up the spiritual communities that we are in.

At the end of this article, we’re also asking you to share with us your thoughts on cell group, so stick with us!


Depending on who you ask, discipleship means different things.

Here, discipleship is defined based on the Great Commission. So, discipleship involves obeying all that Jesus commanded and teaching others His ways, such that they themselves go on to disciple others. 

It’s a tall order. But we must ask if discipleship is actually happening in our cell groups… because what are we doing if not that?

One young adult I spoke to gave me just such a snapshot: She mentioned how painful it had become to attend her cell group because it had devolved into two-hour-long sessions of charades.

Another lamented how her cell group was missing the point, saying: “Instead of being a spiritual community that sharpens each other for maximum impact, it sometimes feels like we’re just a circle of friends growing old together.”

A few questions to ask yourself are: 

  • Does your cell group only talk about life, without mentioning or encouraging each other with God?
  • Is your cell group a space where disciples are made, where you’re challenging one another to follow the example of Christ?
  • How much time in cell is spent on trying to understand God’s perspective on things, whether through delving into God’s Word or discussing sermons/books?


Since evangelism has some overlaps in discipleship, we’ll define it here as simply sharing the Gospel.

We need to begin asking whether evangelism is a key facet of life and a lifestyle for cell members — or if it is event-based.

A few questions to ask yourself are: 

  • What do the cell members believe about evangelism?
  • Is it the case that only the more “spiritually mature” members are sharing the Gospel?
  • How much time is devoted to teaching, training and creating opportunities for cell members to share Jesus with others?

Whether it’s running an Alpha course, serving in an evangelistic church production, or going out in pairs to bless residents in surrounding blocks, cell groups must avail themselves for the Gospel.

When was the last time your cell group shared about Jesus together?


Fellowship is a big word, so let me consult GQ (the Christian site answering questions, not the fashion magazine) for its definition:

The Greek words translated “fellowship” in the New Testament mean essentially a partnership to the mutual benefit of those involved.

Christian fellowship, then, is the mutually beneficial relationship between Christians, who can’t have the identical relationship with those outside the faith.

In short, I take fellowship to mean the unique unity that the cell group shares in Jesus, and how they come together in helping each other to fulfil God’s will for their lives.

Indeed, unity in the cell stems chiefly from Jesus, and not the length of membership years, the number of common friends or how similar you are.

How can we better reflect that fellowship in our cell groups?

One leader shared that his cell members are very “insular” and don’t know how to interact with visitors in the cell.

“Sometimes they will crack their own inside jokes among themselves, or bring up fond memories that newcomers have no clue about,” he said. “I wish they could be more inclusive.”

Another leader commented that instead of being cliquish, cell groups should be about camaraderie.

Are we seeing that in our cell groups? Or are we a bunch of unwilling participants that leaders in church picked to be part of a programme?

A few questions to ask yourself are: 

  • Is the cell group a safe space for vulnerable sharing?
  • Is there a culture of praying for each other?
  • Does the cell group have friends I can rely on to call at 2am?
  • Is the cell group a place where there is accountability and covering?


Finally, growth. While cell group is not a numbers game, growth is something that should be expected.

One person I spoke to said that her cell group had been resisting cell multiplication for fear of losing the comfort of old friends, compounded by a reluctance from longtime members to start and lead a new cell group.

Numbers aside, we really need to be asking ourselves if we’re seeing stagnation in our cell groups.

A few questions to ask yourself are: 

  • Is the cell group seeing increasing spiritual maturity in members?
  • Are cell members waiting to be served and fed by the cell leader, instead of rising up to mutually serve one another and the world beyond?
  • Are more people coming into your spiritual community?

One way to track this is by setting goals at the start of the year and reviewing them to see if your cell group achieves or even surpasses them.

In closing, if there are aspects of your cell culture that you think can be improved, why not have a chat with your members and leaders to hear from them too?

Remember that people quitting cell group is not what we’re hoping to get at with this article.

Instead, our prayer is that deeper thinking and a greater desire for genuine fellowship and the things of God are stirred up.

Needless to say, if attendance in the cell group is sporadic, the opportunities for any of these — discipleship, evangelism, fellowship and growth — are limited. 

This begs the ultimate question: Are you coming to cell group only when it’s convenient, or are you committed to this community that God has placed you in?

Now that the questions have given you some food for thought, we’d love if you could take some time to answer a quick poll in our Telegram channel.

The poll results will inform our upcoming piece on “What is the point of a cell group?”

So share with us what you think, and we’ll see you in the next article!

  1. Has your cell group fared better, worse or the same compared to the pre-pandemic era?
  2. How would you evaluate your cell group based on the 4 areas covered in this article?
  3. What is the purpose of a cell group?