Cell Church: new life in rural Norfolk
What are cells?
The name “cell” comes from the image of the church as the body of Christ. Every human body has cells which are the building blocks of life. Cell church is a "church without walls" composed of small groups (6-14 members in each). Each of these cells contains the DNA of church – This is usually embodied in the stated values of the cell:
Jesus at the Centre Every member in ministry Every member growing in discipleship
Everyone involved in making Jesus known
Quality of Community Life – marked by sacrificial love and honest relationships
An example of a rural cell church The Tas Valley Team Ministry is a Church of England group of churches in south Norfolk. In each of the six villages there is a parish church with services each Sunday. In addition, the team ministry includes a cell church with members from across the entire team. At the time of writing, the cell church involves about 40 adults and 15 teenagers and is the fastest growing church in the team.
Cells here started as a way of enabling those who had come to faith through attending an Alpha Course to be nurtured in their Christian faith. The cell church is now regarded as a church in its own right within the church family of the team. It has its own finances and contributes to the ministry costs of the team. While it ministers across the same area as the six parish churches within the team, the experience is that cell church complements the ministry of these churches rather than competes with them. It does this in a number of key ways:
Cell group meeting in the Tas Valley Team Ministry. 1.
Many cell members are also very active members of their parish churches and find that cell life supports them in this. Some new Christians have started to attend their local parish church as well after becoming involved in a cell first of all.
Because each cell contains a network of people from different villages, cells help the whole team to work more closely together.
Cells are a midweek form of church enabling those who cannot get to a Sunday Service to be fully involved in the life of the local church. They are also an alternative form of church to some people who find the
traditional ways of worship of the small village churches less accessible.
What do cells do? Cells will engage in all the activities of other churches although in a different way to a larger congregation. People who find Sunday worship too formal
or structured for them, especially younger generations and those unused to traditional forms of church, often find cells the best way of helping them in their journey of faith. Cells will worship in an intimate way appropriate to a small group. They will learn from the Bible but probably through discussion rather than listening to a sermon. Cell members commit to care for each other and they will reach out in love and mission to the wider community in which they find themselves. Active mission and service of the local community is vital to cells. Cells in living organisms multiply and cells in the church expect to grow through mission so that in time each cell gives birth to another cell.
In this way, cells can work alongside more traditional forms of church to be good news to all parts of our rural communities.
For further information contact Cell UK Ministries – www.celluk.org.uk
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