Treat your cell groups like precious bodies of Christ... because they are!

This week I was visiting with a pastor who had a grand plan to use some excellent materials to "bring my congregation up to speed with cell groups (he calls them small groups, but they're really cell groups in my book!) so I can get them all in a group this spring."

If you've ever learned how to make gravy, you know that it's a process that requires some patience and a solid understanding of food science. Stick with me on this because it will make lots of sense concerning the topic at hand when I'm done...

First, you begin with some hot grease or warmed butter in a pan. Then you sprinkle flour across the surface of the protein-laden grease and cook the pasty taste out of the flour.

Then, you take just a little warm milk or warmed broth of some sort and add it to the pan. When this happens, there's a chemical reaction and the now protein-laden flour reacts to the liquid and it lumps up when you stir it.

If you put in all the liquid at once, you get watery gravy with lumps in it. The secret is to put just a little liquid in and let the greasy cooked flour absorb it. Then add more and add more and add more and voila! you have a nice gravy that just needs some salt and pepper.

{sauce making lesson is now over}

The same thing holds true for your fledgling cell groups. Let's say you've worked hard to start healthy cell groups and you have three groups up and going and the members of those groups are being the church, not attending it. They're sharing their faith with unchurched friends and you're even seeing conversion growth in the groups.

You want everyone in the church to be in one of these groups! I get that.

The problem is that if you multiply these groups to 6 or even 12 groups and then flood them with traditionally minded or consumer minded church members, the groups will fail. The healthy DNA of the original groups could only handle a few members being introduced to keep the strain healthy.

In conclusion, let me say this to you pastors who want a transition to happen quickly: stop that! You'll mess up your gravy, I mean cell groups! They're precious and quite sensitive and relationships need to be cultivated carefully so you don't lose momentum.

Advice: Just invite a handful of faithful congregational believers who are dissatisfied with church as usual to become part of a group being prepared for group life. Challenge the groups you have to reach friends for Christ and start discipling them in the midst of their group relationships. Put one or two couples from your preparation group in each group when you think everyone is ready and see if they're absorbed properly.

Oh yeah... you gotta keep stirring. That applies to group members and leaders and making gravy!

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