Adapting From Cell Lessons
- Prayerfully ask for God’s help and believe in His presence.
- Read the entire lesson, highlighting the most meaningful thoughts.
- Think through how application of this Scripture will, or has, impacted your own life.
- If needed, add additional Scripture passages that puts the lesson Scripture in appropriate context.
- Where it would be helpful, prayerfully reword the summary thoughts in light of the contextual Scriptures and to be more appropriate for your class.
- If needed, reword questions to make them more appropriate for your class. Questions should be based on events/instances that class members may have experienced or observed.
Here’s an example of how a cell lesson might be adapted (adapting thoughts are shown in red). More…
Wesleyan Fellowship Lesson 15
Word: Luke 10:1–16
You might want to add:
Matthew 23:18 – 22 Jesus’ last instructions to the apostles, illustrating his high priority on evangelism and assuring us that he will with us when we are carrying out that mission.
Lesson: From Scripture and experience we know that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. In terms of numbers, there are plenty of believers to complete the task of sharing the Gospel with every person in the world (for every one evangelical believer in the world there are 9 non-believers; that means there are about 680 million evangelicals and about 5.32 billion people who are not evangelical world wide), but many are unwilling to enter the harvest field.
You should always be on the lookout for substantive words that might not be clearly understood by your class members. For instance, evangelical used above. Its meaning here is based on the word “evangelicalism” as defined in Wikipedia as “the worldwide Protestant Christian historical movement…The earliest leaders included John Wesley, George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards.” Here is a Wesley quote summarizing his understanding of “doing unto others”:
As time permits, Methodists do good to all, their neighbors and strangers, their friends and enemies. This includes every kind of good. Naturally Methodists provide food for the hungry, clothing to the naked. They visit people who are sick and in prison. But even more important than this, Methodists labor to do good to the souls of people. According to the ability which God has given to them, Methodists labor to awaken those who have never known God and therefore sleep the slumber of eternal death. And when people are awakened to God, Methodists help them realize that the atoning blood of Jesus has power to cleanse away their sins. The greatest good work a Methodist can do is to help somebody get into right relationship with God for this is the only way a person can have peace with God.
Methodist, and several other denominations were founded on Wesleyan principles. All members of these denominations are included as “evangelical believers” in the 680 million number above. Many of that number don’t consider themselves evangelicals. This has little importance in the above discussion, but the use of this word later in the lesson could have a negative impact on the members of your class who don’t consider themselves to be evangelicals. The use of the word was no problem for the cell group for which it was prepared. They all think of themselves as evangelical believers.
In adapting materials, always be sensitive to the use of substantive words that could have a negative impact on any members of your class.
Things we know about the harvest:
It is plentiful. Even here.
It belongs to Jesus. Jesus died so that every one could be in the harvest. Those that aren’t don’t belong to Satan so the workers are just trying to reclaim what already belongs to Jesus
It has few workers. In spite of the fact that there are only ten nonbelievers for each evangelical.
Things we know about the worker:
Jesus must be Lord (as opposed to savior) of the worker.
The worker has authority.
Things needed for the work:
To be filled (led by) with the Spirit.
You might want to include Luke 24:49 where Jesus instructed the apostles not to start their mission until Holy Spirit was there to lead them.
A life of prayer. Prayer plows the ground for the seeds of the harvest. Sowing on hard ground sometimes works but we need to plow it with prayer. God is calling us to elevate the importance and the priority of prayer. We must have faith to believe God is going to do something. This is how we get the authority. through this faith. If we don’t have the faith, then ask God for it.
When we pray for someone’s needs and God begins to move in their lives, they become much more likely to accept him. Relational evangelism is the best kind, but it has a weakness. Its weakness is that it does not require anything. We just keep hanging out and building the relationship and never really introduce the person to God.
Knowledge of the Scriptures. We need to understand Scriptures well enough to witness, but not to be an expert. We will be asked questions that we can’t answer. That’s OK. We should not use lack of knowledge as an excuse.
Willingness to announce the Kingdom. If we can see the harvest, we will be willing. (Use the fishing story). If we can’t say the harvest we should pray that God make us see the harvest.
Responses the worker can expect:
The joy of Jesus.
Adapt the questions to your class. Cells are small and accustomed to sharing. So, rephrase the questions in a way that would make your class members feel comfortable in sharing. For instance begin the question with” Have you ever…” or “Do you know an instance…” Then say “Take a couple minutes to think about it and hands up if you would like to share”.
Are you surprised by the number of believers/non-believers in the world? In the U.S.?
Do you think the current secular climate of the U.S. makes our job as harvesters more or less difficult? Why?
Of the four qualities of the worker, which are you the most confidant about personally? Which are you least confident about? Why?
Can you relate any personal experiences where you shared Jesus with someone? Tell us how you felt, what you said, how they responded, and how their response impacted you.
What do you believe is the biggest obstacle in your life to entering into the harvest fields?
If some of your class members don’t think of themselves as evangelicals, you might want to reword some or all of the following:
* Just over 2 billion people worldwide (1/3 of the world’s population) consider themselves Christian. Not to be arrogant or judge another’s walk with the Lord, but a better indicator of faith (particularly as it concerns fulfilling the Great Commission) is probably whether or not a person considers him/herself to be an evangelical. Of course labels can be misleading, but a person who does not affirm the following four tenets is probably not going to participate in the harvest.
An evangelical believes:
- that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
- every believer has a personal conversion experience.
- that the Bible is the only basis for faith and the Christian life.
- that evangelism and mission are important aspect of a believer’s life.
Or you might want to replace it with: John 14–12 “Anyone who has faith will do what I have been doing.” That illustrates the mission given to all believers includes evangelism.
Leading the class
- Don’t normally start the class discussion, or initially answer your questions, with your own experience/needs – some members may feel they have little to add.
- When you read the question, ask them to think about some experience they had in their life, or have observed in the lives of others, and to volunteer to share.
- For the last question, you might want to ask them to share about any new insights that they found helpful.
Examples of Sunday School lessons adapted from cell lessons can be seen here.
- A cell group focuses on seeking God, or connecting with God. In a cell group we want to grow spiritually, we want to apply God’s word to our lives, and we want to experience the life changing effect that application of God’s word in our lives brings. It is a time where you’re seeking not just to hear about God but to make connection with God.
- Developing relationships and connecting with each other. God is offering us in the cell group an opportunity to develop relationships. As these relationships develop, walls come down and people experience God, and they experience both God and community in ways that they never would have in a large group.
- Reaching out to those in need. This includes connecting with the unchurched and helping them to connect with God. But it also includes Christians whose lives would benefit from the cell group experience. It’s about meeting the needs of others - all types of needs - it’s not a duty so much as it is an opportunity.
Facilitate, Facilitate, Facilitate!
Facilitation provides the legs that the group walks on.
- The goal is to facilitate ministry in the group, not to have the leader “do” the ministry.
- When you facilitate, allow God to work through the group.
- When cell leaders are facilitating well, they often speak only 30% of the time.
Facilitate application, not information during the Word portion of the meeting.
- Most people “know” more Bible information than they practice.
- The cell is the place where people apply the Word to their lives.
- The cell meeting is not the place for the solo preacher or teacher. It is the body of Christ working together, building up each other.
Ask Open-ended Questions
The following points apply to follow-on questions, when you feel that follow-on would be helpful.
Limit the use of closed questions that elicit short, specific answers.
- Who are the Pharisees?
- Does God’s love extends to the Pharisees and Nicodemus?
Open questions provide an opportunity for interaction.
- How have you experienced the love of God?
- What does it mean to you that God gave His life so that you can have eternal life?
Application Questions bring the discussion to the real issue: “How does this apply to me?”
- Who did God use to reach you?
- How has God used you in the past to reach people for him?
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
- Ask others what they think before you share.
- Don’t plan what you are going to say while others are talking.
- Affirm people when they share.
- Give time for others to respond
- Sometimes you may want to restate what you hear the person saying