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13 March 2016 | Vicar Writes

Be Connected

By Terry Wong
We are in the process of changing the term Cell groups to Connect groups. What are the reasons?

“Cell” is a biological term which was first popularised in the 70’s to describe the basic unit for church life and how it is to multiply and grow. It is indeed a useful term and in Singapore, it has become ubiquitous as a general reference to small group ministry in the Church. Today, it is not enough to ask which church a person comes from. If he or she says he or she belongs to a Cell, it tells you something about the person’s commitment to that church.

Over the years, while some form of small group ministry is now expected of almost any local church here, many are using different names for it. There are a few reasons for this, but the concept of a Cell Church generally works better in a local church that is homogenous and where the authority is more hierarchical with a stronger top-down pastoral leadership. The fact is that Singapore has, over time, become even more heterogeneous in nature. Many churches here struggle with a one-size-fits-all type of Cell group ministry. Seniors find it difficult to travel and visit another home in the evening. In a five-day work week culture, young adults find it difficult to meet regularly for a mid-week meeting. It will be true to say that Cathedral had a checkered experience in these last thirty or so years when it comes to our Cell ministry.

In a new season, we have sensed the need to have a fresh approach to our small group ministry. We want to develop a small group ministry which is uniquely Cathedral’s, without the pressure of conforming to the usual Cell Church practices. In renaming, we are freeing ourselves to explore and evolve a model which will work better for our setting. We need to allow for greater diversity so that the Connect Group is a joy to be a part of. Some measure of discipline is of course needed but as we have all experienced, our lives are often enriched by the spiritual friendships and service opportunities through small groups.

There are already many on-going conversations about how our Connect Groups can look like. One thing is certain, call it what you may, we can’t do without a vibrant small group ministry. For the Church to remain small, personal and caring, where every member experiences a meaningful community, Connect Groups are necessary.

In early May, we will be commissioning our Connect Group Leaders. We will also release new Connect materials based on the book of James. Pas Lian Swan and her team will assist the Service Pastors as they lead and pastor the Connect Group Leaders in their Services. Once every quarter, Connect Group Leaders will come together for refresher training, vision-sharing by the Vicar and mutual encouragement.

If you are not in a group yet, I urge you to be Connected. For enquiries, please contact Pas Lian Swan at lianswan@cathedral.org.sg