On a Wednesday night in San Jose, Calif., 20 teen-agers have gathered
in Robert Stefanis living room to talk about issues ranging
from problems with relationships to drug abuse.
Most of those present are not Christians, but as they delve into
the nights topic, a lively discussion ensues. The same scene
occurs in other Christian homes throughout the area.
"We are reaching out to kids who normally wont come
to church," says Stefani, who is the high school youth pastor
at Bethel Church in San Jose, where Ken Dobson is pastor. "We
exist to win the unsaved then get them plugged into church and discipled."
The cell groups have also provided opportunities for Christian
students to hone their ministry gifts. Student leaders guide the
cell groups and provide a biblical perspective on the issues and
an offer of salvation.
Since starting the cell groups last March, Bethels youth
group has climbed from 80 to 200 young people.
Todd Bethke and John Lugo Jr., both sophomores at local public
high schools and cell group leaders, have led several of their friends
"Some people dont have friends or a group to hang around
with," says Bethke. "So we invite them. The cell groups
give people an opportunity to talk about their problems."
"Most of my non-Christian friends are scared of church because
they really dont know how to fit in," says Lugo. "But,
the way we do this it makes me happy knowing we are reaching
out to our non-Christian friends."
After attending the cell groups and finding a sense of belonging,
many of the teen-agers want to become involved at church.
"Ive never seen anything like it," says Dobson.
"The kids are asking real questions and they are being led