I lived in Malaysia and Singapore for almost six years before training for Christian ministry. One lasting lesson of church life which came from my time in the Far East was through a business associate in Sabah, Borneo. He was a member of St Patrick’s church in Tawau. The church adopted the cell group model for pastoral care, teaching, evangelism and leadership training. Michael Green reports in his book “Asian Tigers for Christ” that the church grew from 500 to 3000 members in just a few years. I was privileged to be in regular contact with my associate and friend, Philip, as the church exploded.
I’ve heard the phrase “the DNA of church life” banded about a bit and never really known what people mean by it. I take it now that the DNA of a church is a contextually appropriate model for church life which can be easily replicated.
We held a small groups leaders’ meeting yesterday afternoon where I set out the DNA of our small groups: the method of bible study, the kinds of prayers, expectations, training and pitfalls. I used this amazing CGI on YouTube of the process of mitosis to show how the body of Christ might build itself up, one cell at a time, as we replicate the DNA which we think works for our time and situation.
PS. Watching the intricacy of God’s creation in mitosis makes me realise what a fool I once was to think that life happened by random chance and without direction. The same could be said for church life and mission.