In Luke 10, Jesus disbursed 72 disciples to evangelize Perea, an unreached area. He sent them by threes: two persons would be empowered by His inner Presence: “Where two or three gather, I am in their midst.” 2 + Christ = 3!
This important truth seems to be forgotten by us: the unbeliever observing the Presence of Christ active in us is the source of evangelization. We do not bring a cognitive explanation to the unbeliever. We bring the evidence of the Indwelling One’s power.
A student of mine at Columbia International Seminary from India told me how he evangelized several villages each year: “We walked the streets and prayed, ‘Lord, which one of these persons will you touch?’ He would shows us a man or woman who was crippled or sick and He would say, ‘This one!” So we would fast and pray until the person was healed. Then the villagers would say, ‘Tell us about your powerful God.’ After many were converted, we formed them into a congregation and moved on.”
In 1 Cor. 14:24-25 we see this same process evidenced as all believers are anointed to prophesy in the house group. As the unbeliever observes the supernatural evidence he falls on his face saying, “God is among you!”
The contrast between “small groups” and “Christ Bodies” is precisely revealed by how unreached persons are brought to the cross.
- Cognitive Approach
The small group that discusses a Bible passage takes the cognitive approach. They learn about the Jordan miraculously parting, the Israelites passing over on dry land. They do not expect that within their midst God’s power might be manifested. The unbeliever does not experience God in the midst.
- Experiential Approach
The Christ Body assembles to share needs, hurts, strongholds with one another.
They gather to work out their salvation ( Phil. 2:12), knowing God’s power is among them to comfort, edify and encourage. Stated needs cause each believer to listen to the Spirit’s voice. They are anointed to manifest spiritual gifts. As these are shared and breakthroughs take place, seekers present are exposed to the presence of the living Christ and the Holy Spirit. Conversions are the result of experiencing God, not the ancient story of His power.
Authentic evangelism in a cell group is based on the members revealing the Presence and Power of the indwelling Christ. For this to take place, the group must first transparently share their needs. The responses must come through members manifesting the energeia of spiritual gifts. Body Life evangelism is, therefore, distinct from the tepid evangelism that relies on words alone rather than a revelation of Christ’s presence.
This article originally appeared here.