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The Goal of Becoming the Smallest Church in Your City

by Abe Huber, www.igrejadapaz.com.br

Numerically speaking, our congregation was already the largest local church of our city in 1999. At that time I started having a rather strange goal: to become the “smallest church” in our city. What do I mean by that? I mean that everyone (or at least almost everyone) in the congregation being discipled and eventually making disciples in the context of a micro-cell.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that there is anything magical about our model, and I definitely am not saying that other cell churches should adopt it. What I am saying, however, is that it is extremely important, in my opinion, that all local congregations have a way to mobilize your people to be discipled and to disciple others!

Why are Christians, in general, not more fruitful? I believe that the main reason is that they have hidden sin that they are struggling with. Maybe it’s a man who loves Jesus, is really born again, but every once in a while looks at pornography on the internet. He feels so bad. He repents, and asks God’s forgiveness, but after a couple of weeks he falls again. Or what about that sister that every once in a while loses control of her temper in the privacy of her home?

God doesn’t only want to just forgive His people, He wants to heal them! To be forgiven, the Bible says we should confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). But to be healed, the Bible says we should be transparent with another person and receive prayer from him (James 5:16).

In our experience, people find it much easier to open up about their struggles with sin when it is only with one other person that they can trust in. I tried to have a profound discipleship with three men once in a small group. I soon saw that they really wanted to be transparent and receive prayer, but they felt uncomfortable to talk about their sins in front of the other men. They would say to me: “Abe, later I want to talk with you in private.”

By guarantying a one on one “discipler” for every member we provided an atmosphere that lovingly encourages transparency and spiritual health. We discovered, in a very practical way, that if you really want to have a profound discipleship where the “disciplee” really feels comfortable to “open up” it seems to work better one on one. That is why most of our micro-cells only have two people: a “discipler” and a “disciplee.”

By God’s grace our local congregation of more than 66,000 people are meeting weekly in 7,500 cell groups but they also are actively participating in 35,200 micro-cells. Each micro-cell has only two people. We reached our goal of becoming the “smallest church in our city!”