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An Analysis of Church

Structures and
Function:
Yesterday and Today
The Challenge:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All


authority in heaven and on earth has been
given to me. 19 Therefore go and make
disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey
everything I have commanded you. And surely
I am with you always, to the very end of the
age.” -Matthew 28:18-20
How have we
been doing
with the
mission
Christ gave
us?
The Church of
Yesterday
The Church of Today
How Is the Church
Doing With the
Competition?
A membership retention analysis for the
past five years gives cause for concern. In
1999 for every 100 members who joined the
church, 17 of them were reportedly dropped
or missing. In 2000 the figure increased to
20 and for the last four quarters the figure
rose to 21.5. Some divisions are reporting
25%, 30%, and even 40%.”
Matthew A. Bediako, Secretary of the General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventist
Traditional
Church
Meets in Church
Location Building
Large, Impersonal
Size of Groups Groups
Weekly Worship
Activities Services
Problem? See the
Support System Pastor
Intimacy rare: Little
Relationships Transparency
Training is sparse.
Discipling Done on a reactive-
need basis.
Directing the
Primary Task Program Base Design
of Leaders
15-20% of the
Members do all the
Participation work. Less than half
tithe.
Traditional
Church
Individual Choice;
Prayer Life Limited
Preach Good
Pastor’s Duty Sermons; Visit the
Members
Attendance, Tithing,
Expectations of Work in the
Members “Programs”

Key Words “Come Grow With Us”


Usually downplayed,
Spiritual Gifts except for a few times
per year
To Enlarge the
Commitment Institution; Uniformity

Evaluation Test “What You Know”

“Trained, Professional
Source for Staff Clergy”
Apollo 13

“Houston, We Have a
Problem!”
If we don’t do something soon
we’ll find that the church will be
banished to the moon of cultural
irrelevance.

So, where do we go from here?


Back to the Future:
A Return to the New Testament Church
They devoted themselves to the apostles’
teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of
bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with
awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs
were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers
were together and had everything in common.
45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave
to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they
continued to meet together in the temple courts.
They broke bread in their homes and ate together
with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God
and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the
Lord added to their number daily those who were
being saved. -Acts 2:42-47
Characteristics of a
New Testament
Community
Upward
Inward
Outward
Forward
The Two-Winged
Church
NT
Church
NT
Corporate
Community Church
NT
Corporate Small Group
Community Church Community
NT
Corporate Small Group
Community Church Community

HSG
Based
Church
AN UNBALANCED CHURCH

Corporate
COMMUNITY

Overbalanced
to corporate side

“Traditional
Church
NT
Corporate Small Group
Community Church Community

HSG
Based
Church
AN UNBALANCED CHURCH
Small Group
Community

Overbalanced
to the
small group
side

HOUSE
CHURCH
Difference Between
Traditional Church & a Cell
Church
• There is a radical difference
between traditional church and
churches with cells.
• The first Incorporates small group
into its programs.
• The second builds its ecclesiology
on New Testament principles.
THE TRADITIONAL CHURCH
• Has a Biblical Theology for all it
does, except for the way It
functions.
• For its function, it draws from its
roots in church history.
• It seldom examines the way It
functions by examining Biblical
principles.
In a
Traditional
Church:
In a
Traditional
Church:

Group Ministry is only one


of many programs.
Basic Premise of A Cell
Church
A. A Cell Church is composed of
cell groups in which every
member belongs, 3-15 members
per group.
B. The group is for nurture, edification,
support, and ministry to one another.
It is a family.
Basic Premise of A CEll
Church
C. The group is also for reaching
out to those outside the church.
It becomes a missionary
venture, bringing unchurched
friends, relatives, etc. to Jesus in
context of a loving family where
they will be supported in their
new (or continuing) Christian
walk.
Basic Premise of A Cell
D. The focus of a Church based on
Church
HSG is on group life, not
congregation or celebration. But
groups do meet together for
formal worship each week. It
becomes a joyous time when all
the groups come together as a
congregation to praise God. The
worship service is also a place to
invite unbelieving friends,
neighbors etc.
The New
Traditional
Testament
Church
Meets in Church
Church
Moved From House to
Location Building House
Large, Impersonal
Size of Groups Groups
Small, Intimate
Weekly Worship
Activities Services
Daily Fellowship
Problem? See the Building Up One
Support System Pastor Another
Intimate,
Intimacy rare: Little Encouragement and
Relationships Transparency Accountability
Training is sparse. AEmphasized
Consistent
Discipling Done on a reactive- Equipping Track for
need basis. Every member
Every Believer
Directing the
Primary Task Equipped To Do the
Program Base Design
of Leaders Work of the Ministry
15-20% of the
95% of members are
Members do all the
Participation work. Less than half
actively ministering.
90% are tithing.
tithe.
The New
Traditional
Testament
Church
Church
Individual Choice; Hours Daily; Heavy
Prayer Life Limited Emphasis
Preach Good Eph 4:11-12:
Pastor’s Duty Sermons; Visit the Leadership
Members Development & Acts 5
Attendance, Tithing,
Expectations of Ministering to Others,
Work in the
Members Total Servanthood
“Programs”
“Go and Make
Key Words “Come Grow With Us”
Disciples”
Usually downplayed, Regularly Exercised By
Spiritual Gifts except for a few times All Believers to Build
per year Up Others
To Increase the
To Enlarge the
Commitment Institution; Uniformity
Kingdom, Unity, Body
Life

Evaluation Test “What You Know” “How You Serve”

“Trained, Professional Servant Workers


Source for Staff Clergy” Developed Within
Ellen White Quotes:
“The formation of small companies as a basis of
Christian effort has been presented to me by
One who cannot err. If there is a large number in
the church, let the members be formed into
small companies, to work not only for the church
members, but for unbelievers. If in one place
there are only two or three that know the truth,
let them form themselves into a band of
workers. Let them keep their bond of union
unbroken, pressing together in love and unity,
encouraging one another to advance, and
gaining courage and strength from the
assistance of others...Let them labor in Christlike
love for those outside the fold, forgetting self in
their endeavor to help others.” Testimonies Vol
7, 21.
“God’s work is to be done in his way and his
Spirit. In various places small companies are to
consecrate themselves to God, body, soul, and
spirit, and laying hold of the throne of God by
faith they are to work zealously, keeping their
souls in the love of God. The vital current of his
love will make itself felt, and will be recognized
as from heaven in the good works of his
people. Those little companies who know the
truth, with one voice should bid their minister
go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Each one should seek to do individual work for
another. Not one who has tasted the goodness,
the mercy, and the love of God, can be
excused from working for the souls of others.”
-Advent Review and Sabbth Herald, January 8, 1895
“In New York there should be several small
companies established, and workers should be
sent out. It does not follow that because a man
is not ordained as a preacher he cannot work
for God . Let such ones as these be taught how
to work, then let them go out to labor. On
returning, let them tell what they have done.
Let them praise the Lord for His blessing, and
then go out again. Encourage them. A few
words of encouragement will be an inspiration
to them.” -Evangelism, 389.
Christ sought the people where they were
and placed before them the great truths in
regard to His kingdom. As He went from
place to place, He blessed and comforted
the suffering and healed the sick. This is
our work. Small companies are to go forth
to do the work to which Christ appointed
His disciples. While laboring as evangelists
they can visit the sick, praying with them
and, if need be, treating them, not with
medicines but with the remedies provided
in nature. -Counsels on Health, 501
Places that are unworked might have been
entered, and souls might have been reached
by the truth. Small companies of workers,
under the wise generalship of consecrated
teachers, should be going forth into needy
fields. Whenever this work is taken up in
earnest, careful movements will need to be
made.
-Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 175.
“How do we put all
this together?”
Growing Disciples
202e Spiritual Foundations
2

0 D
0 is
3 ci 201s Discovering Your
301e Mentoring Others p p
hi
s ti ng le
sh
e c Bu SHAPE
i pl pa i
i p
20
c ld
is Im in 0
D g
302s Sharing 3 1 John 2:12 -14
1 103s Jesus
Growing Disciples our Lord
Jesus
D ng 00
is L i
ci
pl ea ak p 1 102s Freedom in Jesus
401e Free Market es d M hi
hi ing es
p l
Groups 40 c ip 101e Jesus Our Savior
0 is
D
H
402s Leading a Group
Level Title Purpose Action Step

Discovering a
Jesus Our
101 Relationship Accepting Jesus
Savior
with Jesus

Discovering
Freedom in Confession of
102 Freedom in
Jesus sin
Jesus
Developing
Deepening My
deeper
103 Jesus our Lord Relationship
devotional
With Jesus
habits.
Level Title Purpose Action Step

Understanding
Discovering Discovering my and
201
Your SHAPE Spiritual gifts Implementing
my SHAPE

Discovering His
Spiritual
202 Church and His Baptism
Foundations
People

Should already
Developing my
Mentoring have
301 Ministry with
Others accountability
Others
partner
Level Title Purpose Action Step

Becoming a Discovering a
Share the
302 Contagious Lifestyle of
Gospel
Christian Evangelism

Implementing
Free Market
401 Free Market Implementation
Group
Groups

Leading a Developing my Leading a


402
Group leadership skills group
Initial Cost
Cost
Jesus our Savior 1.99 per lesson
Freedom in
$99 for kit
Jesus
Jesus our Lord $99 for kit
My SHAPE $99 for kit
Spiritual
Foundations
$1-3
Mentoring
Others
Sharing Jesus $89
Leading a group $55
First Phase of Cell Groups:
Prototype
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