The Ministry Event
A week-long ministry can lead to the establishment of a cell group and even a new church plant. However, several things must first take place to prepare for the ministry.
Before the Ministry. We ask the host churches to work with their people to help identify key friends, family members, neighbors, and workmates with whom they have established meaningful relationships. If the church members have not established such relationships, this should be their number-one goal. Second, we ask the members of these churches to begin praying daily for the people they have identified. They are not to simply pray for their salvation. Instead, they are encouraged to pray that God would bless these people, and that God would grant them opportunities to express the love of Christ to them. We even encourage them to ask these people how they may pray for them in specific ways. This prayer ministry is essential to preparing hearts for the message of the Gospel. Once this ground work has been laid, the CPE team, consisting of members of a partnering church, will come to conduct a week of ministry with the members of the host church. See our prayer covenant.
Initial Evangelistic Contact. We start each day by training the participants in personal evangelism and the use of discipleship material for the purpose of discipling new believers. Following training, the participants are sent out in teams consisting of one partnering and one or two local church members to engage in pre-arranged evangelistic appointments. If a person prays to receive Christ through one of these encounters, they are given a New Testament and the first in a series of 10 follow-up lessons. An appointment is then made for a follow-up/discipleship visit on the next day or the nearest day possible.
We plan on a five-day event. On the first day, there is usually 100% evangelism with no discipleship. On the second day, there may be 80% evangelism and 20% discipleship. The third day will be closer to 60% evangelism and 40% discipleship. The fourth day might be 30% evangelism and 70% discipleship. The last day would involve 90-100% discipleship.
These are the materials we use during the week of ministry: Tract, Notes Defining a Proper Use of the Tract, Suggested Dialogue Questions, Essential Truths of the Christian Life.
How New Believer Cells take shape: A decision is made for Christ. A time is set to return the following day to begin to study God’s Word. That time is prioritized above everything else for the following day. Upon returning we set our minds on a long term discipling relationship with this person. It is common for this new disciple to be waiting for your visit together with additional friends and family members. Suppose for illustration sake that there are two more people waiting with this new believer.
At that time, we must set aside our first lesson and once again present the Gospel to these two people. As God's network expands, both of those present pray to receive Christ. Time has run out for the first follow-up lesson, but these two new people are left with the first lesson and their own New Testaments, and an arrangement is made for all three to meet on the next possible day.
"Intentionally Think" Cell Group. When we return to do the first follow-up lesson, we must begin intentionally thinking that we are not only establishing a discipling relationship, but that these three new converts along with the local partner are the beginning of a new believer cell group.
This is key. For evangelism to be effective, it must done intentionally. This is true for discipleship as well---one must intentionally turn the mind and the will to doing discipleship. And again this is true of forming cells and small groups. The new believer participants don't need to know this right off, but the leader should have in his or her mind that they are engaging an initial cell/small group. Remember, where two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, He is there in the midst.
There will be those who will meet for personal discipleship by themselves with a local Christian. This is wonderful, and yet that local Christian should be intentionally thinking about how he or she may get that new believer into a study with other new believers and other Christians as soon as possible. We suggest that by the fifth lesson, you should begin preparing the individually-discipled new believer to meet with a small group of other believers.
Finally, these new believers and their small groups can be the starting point for a broad and ever expanding network of evangelistic relationships. And as you faithfully grow with them to reach out through those networks, you will be on your way to planting new churches.