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 Transitioning to a cell church

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
andybabyak Posted - 08/28/2003 : 02:48:11
Hi Joel,
I took your class in Toccoa a couple of years ago. I have introduced cell groups to the church I am serving. We have over 80% of our active church body signing up already. We were only expecting to start four or five groups, but now we are looking at about 10. I do realize that to start cell groups it would have been best to have a prototype cell group first that the leaders would have come out, however, past attempts at starting small groups have been unsuccessfull here b/c of a lack of organization. We have selected leaders carefully and I think they will work. This gets me to my two questions: 1. Is this unusual for a church to "sign-up" and subscribe to cell groups so quickly? and 2. Are there any other dangers to be cautious about (I am familiar with many of your books), other than the obvious ones. Thanks Joel.
Andy Babyak
15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Joel Comiskey Posted - 10/11/2004 : 08:12:10
AMEN TO THE PRAYER, PRAYER, AND MORE PRAYER. THIS CERTAINLY IS THE KEY!

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
Kyran89 Posted - 10/04/2004 : 13:43:10
Our pastor began Cell groups (LIFE groups) in our church several years without setting the groundwork for them with value changing from the pulpit, prototype group, etc. He started the leaders off in a "protype" group for several months that was centered on way to deep teaching on why cell's and never changed any hearts. Then he just signed up the church and off we went. I have been a LIFE group leader from the beginning and have been a "Zone" pastor for nearly three years and we are having to build the road as we walk upon it with much help from Robbi at touch and PRAYER, PRAYER, PRAYER!!!! It is not easy, I would highly suggest you follow the suggestions that of Touch in their confernece and book "Making Cell Groups Work" You won't regret the wait. If you have already began, good luck and my prayers are with you cause I know it isn't the easiest thing to do!!!!!
Joel Comiskey Posted - 10/04/2004 : 11:19:58
SHAWN, PASSION OOZES OUT FROM YOU AND THAT'S THE AGAIN, PASSION IS THE KEY TO ALL OF IT. MY NEW BOOK "PASSION AND PERSISTENCE" TELLS THE STORY OF HOW ONE CELL CHURCH TOOK OVER A WHOLE CITY THROUGH MULTIPLYING CELLS. YET, I LIKE YOUR IDEA BETTER OF PLANTING MANY CELL CHURCHES. SHAWN, I CHALLENGE YOU TO SHOW US HOW IT'S DONE. GO FOR IT!

JOEL

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
RedSalt Posted - 10/01/2004 : 15:07:49
Thanks for the information Joel!!! Its very easy to be passionate about something that God has given me a vision for. If I can help anyone understand more about cell ministry I love to take any opportunity I have.

I know that I do not come to these boards with much experience but I think I have really caught the vision of what God is wanting to do through cell churches.

I'm actually thinking that it would be wonderful to one day plant many cell churches and help train other leaders to do the same. Before this happens I would like to sit under someone who is doing cell ministry and learn from them before going out and planting one.

"Many are the plans of a man's heart but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails"

Thanks again!!!

Shawn
Joel Comiskey Posted - 09/29/2004 : 18:47:57
redsalt, let me just say I LOVE YOUR PASSIONATE REPLY! AWESOME.

ALLOW ME TO COPY INTO THIS EMAIL THE BASIC FLOW OF THE TRAINING TRACK OF ONE OF THE PASTORS I'M COACHING. IT MIGHT BE HELPFUL BECUASE I KNOW YOU WERE WONDERING ABOUT DISCIPLESHIP AFTER SOMEONE COMES TO CHRIST:

CrossPoint Training Level I
1. Join a cell group.
2. Complete the course Crossfire (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or before /after cell)
• Action step: get baptized and become a member
3. Attend an Encounter Weekend
• Action step: break with sinful habits
4. Complete the course How to Have a Quiet Time (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or before /after cell).
• Action step: practice regular personal devotions
• Additional actions steps at this time:
-Be assigned an Accountability partner by cell leader.
-Agree to serve as an apprentice cell leader
-Complete the spiritual life assessment
5. Complete the course, How to Evangelize (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or before /after cell).
• Action step: Evangelize and set a
launch date for your own Cell Group
6. Complete the course How to Lead a Cell Group (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or before /after cell).
• Action step: Launch cell group

CrossPoint Training Level II
1. Be leading an active cell group
2. Complete the course How to Study the Bible for Yourself (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or online).
3. Complete the course How to Study the Bible for Sharing with Others (offered during Sunday School, Saturday seminar, or online).
4. Complete two of the following courses
a) The Pentateuch
b) The Life of Christ
c) The Book of Acts
d) The Epistles
Action steps:
• Multiply a cell group at least once
• Take a short term missions trip

CrossPoint Training Level III
• MSP (this is a self-study program that is guided along by a mentor. It is offered through the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the goal is for someone to become a licensed Christian worker)

CrossPoint Training Level IV
• Year long self-funded internship [requirement: having completed stages I-III]



Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
Joel Comiskey Posted - 09/29/2004 : 18:11:54
quote:
Originally posted by RedSalt

Joel,

As you start seeing people come to Christ what materials do you use to disciple them?. Then after that point how do you disciple them into one day leading/ starting their own cell?



Hey, REDSALT, there is a lot of material out there to disciple new converts. I'm using a manual that I'm adapting from a pastor named David Jaramillo. The outline is:

LESSON 1:
Security of Salvation
LESSON 2:
Prayer

LESSON 3:
The Word of God
LESSON 4:
Baptism and the Lord’s supper
LESSON 5:
Stewardship
LESSON 6:
Identity in Christ
LESSON 7:
Spiritual liberty
LESSON 8:
The Church

THEN WE DO AN ENOUNTER RETREAT (which I've also drawn heavily from David Jaramillo)

THEN WE DO A MANUAL/COURSE FROM MY BOOK "AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE KING"

THEN WE DO A MANUAL/COURSE ON EVANAGELISM (THAT I BASICALLY DEVELOPED FROM SCRATCH)

THEN WE DO A MANUAL/COURSE ON HOW TO LEAD A CELL GROUP (TAKEN LARGELY FROM MY BOOK HOW TO LEAD A GREAT CELL GROUP MEETING).


I've seen a lot of pastors hesitate over choice of material or what training track is THE BEST. The key is to START. Then adapt. If you need to copy someone elses at first, do it. Then adapt.

HEY, GREAT TO HEAR FROM YOU,

JOEL

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
RedSalt Posted - 09/28/2004 : 14:09:02
Hey Andy

Great to hear the update about what is going on over the last year. It sounds like you are now the point person for all that is cell in the church now... wonderful opportunity!!!

Tackling Evangelism: Let me preach to the choir for a second... I think that America has promoted this "Its all about me" philosophy and now its has made its way into the church. A great struggle for all churches is to move beyond the holy huddle mentality into a focus on the lost! - ok I'm done -

1) Not assuming anything here, but leading by example is a good way to show how it is done. Kinda the "Reganomics" of evanglism is that what you model will trickle down to those who serve with you.

2) Americans like titles - so change the name (if not so already) from Cell Leaders to "Cell Servants" - I have found that this keeps the leaders focused on us serving both the beliver and unbeliever.

3) Have a night or two or three of prayer in the cell groups specifically focused on praying for the lost... Last month we did this in our cell and a sister of one of our members attended our cell group the next week. Thats praise enough that she came, but if you knew the story that this woman has hardly ever expressed interest in the Lord. The fact that she came has built the faith of all in the group.

4) Speaking about faith (and I am not a name it, claim it, grab it, slab it type) but... Ask the Lord to give you and your leaders faith the believe He is going to lead people to Himself that those people are going to join your cells AND that you will multiply your cells.

The idea that we have not because we ask not comes to my mind.

5) Set a goal for the group. Please be praying for our group becasue on 11.18.2004 we should be multiply our cell. Its exciting to see the group getting excited for my assitant to lead his own group in less than two months.

6) Each week, remind the cell leaders, to remind the cell members why they have the cell groups - "The reason we come together is to edify the believer and evanglize the lost. We do this through the 4 Ws..." I know it sounds crazy but when they start to say to you, man can you stop reminding us about this... they have gotten the message.

7) Pray, pray and pray some more... "Lord, bless Andy and his body of believers... I pray that he will sense your direction in respect to cell ministry at the church. I pray that you would give him the ability, far greater than he even thinks he has, to minister to those leaders he is serving. I pray that you would bring the right man to the church that has a passion for cell ministry and leaders. Lord, bless andy and his wife(and children?)... giving them strength and hope. May the power of your spirit move through them and in them each day. Amen!!!"

I think I stole most of this from Joel and Randall but I don't think they mind too much. :)

Hope to be of some help.

Blessings!!!
andybabyak Posted - 09/28/2004 : 12:48:21
Shawn and others,

I appreciate your comments and insights from the 9/7 post. It has been a year since we have started our cells. The progress from the cells has been ok.

(A brief history of the church: we were up to about 300 on Sundays in the early 90s and had trickled down to about 180 last year- our senior pastor also retired in Dec '03 so we have been trying to push ahead in the absence of a sr. pastor which has proven difficult. If anybody has any names of a sr. pastor in the C&MA who has a heart for cells- we are open to names)

We started last year with 8 groups and about 83 people. We now have 9 groups and 92 adults involved. Our Sunday morning attendance with the kids and youth included is 200- so most of our families are involved in a group. This month we shook things up a little and changed some of the groups around so they wouldn't become stagnant.

Let me summarize quickly some of what we have seen the Lord do through these group in the past year:
1. Three people saved and others visited and heard the Gospel
2. Every group mentioned that one of the best things was that they felt like they were actually getting to know people for the first time since they have been in the church
3. I believe these groups helped keep people in the church b/c of the ties they had made with their group during a difficult time in the church's life
4. We had two new leaders start in Sept- and feel like they are doing well

Some difficulties:
1. Our equipping track has been put on hold until a Sr. Pastor can help back the vision of it
2. Not a great amount of evangelism- although we had not had a convert in the church in three years- so the little we have had really was a lot for us
3. Children- Some groups are doing better with it than others

I write this update as a response to Shawn's post and invite and ideas about what we could be doing.
Again, our biggest struggle is trying to get the church as a whole to be outwardly focused.

In Him,
Andy
RedSalt Posted - 09/21/2004 : 15:30:42
Joel,

As you start seeing people come to Christ what materials do you use to disciple them?. Then after that point how do you disciple them into one day leading/ starting their own cell?
Joel Comiskey Posted - 09/20/2004 : 13:32:19
Shawn, great thoughts. I especially liked what you said here: "it is so very important that the pastor be 110% behind the cell ministry not only in word but in deed. In my humble opinion just having your pastor backing it may not lead to the fullness of what it could be."

I think that the senior pastor's 110% commitment is one of the three KEY PRINCIPLES of cell ministry. The other two are:

1. Define your cell accurately
2. Make cells the base of the church. I now use the term: the cell driven church.

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
RedSalt Posted - 09/07/2004 : 02:32:33
lol - just realized your original post was in 2003!!! well hope all is going well for you still
RedSalt Posted - 09/07/2004 : 02:31:16
Hi Andy and others who read the boards:

I want to respond to your post bv sharing the history of our church starting cell groups.

Last year I had shared with our pastor the concept of Cell Groups and after prayer and thought he felt the Lord wanted us to transition to a fully cell based congregation.

The one problem was that we did not start with a proto-type cell. I urged the pastor that we should start slow but he did not want people to miss out on what the Lord was going to do through cell ministry. With little training we launched 3 cells February of this year.

Now I had participated in a cell group at another cell church and had seen what was needed so I felt comfotable in leading a new group. The pastor and other leader had not had much experince in it and quickly that was found out.

Intially we (the leaders) were sitting down each week with the pastor about how we were doing. We would go over each aspect of the cell group and how we were serving one another and growing. Unfortunately the pastor quickly became unfocused about the cell group he was leading and that group started to suffer. The other leader struggled a bit in knowing how to lead her group but managed as good as she could.

Then life changed quickly for us all in May (3 months into our cell transition)when the pastor let us know that he felt called to move onto another ministry out of state.

Lets speed this up - Currently we now have 2 groups. each week me and the other leader meeting for instruction and training. I have been going over cell books that I have read and they have served as wonderful guides. Meeting together has helped us to grow and receive from the Lord. In two weeks we will be restarting the pastors group with a trained leader in place.

All of this has served as a great lesson for me and I am so grateful to the Lord's direction in all of this. Without Him I know we could do nothing and with Him all things are truly possible.

Now looking at all of this... my biggest suggestion would be to start with a proto-type cell for those future leaders God has called to help. Secondly, it is so very important that the pastor be 110% behind the cell ministry not only in word but in deed. In my humble opinion just having your pastor backing it may not lead to the fullness of what it could be. Finally proceed slowly and match tools with the passsion your cell leaders have. Train them well!!!

Thanks for your ear and please let me know how things continue for you and your church.

Shawn
Joel Comiskey Posted - 01/14/2004 : 13:02:10
Hi Andy,

I just saw your reply today, even though you posted it a while ago. Sorry for the delay.

Things are going well for our CMA cell church plant called WELLSPRING. Our total concentration since starting in September 2003 was to develop a TEAM of committed disciples that would form the core of this church plant (thus we're in the pre-planting stage). In February 2004 we'll receive a cell church couple from South Afria to join us (if God leads, they might be the first paid staff of the WELLSPRING). From now until July is the training time. WELLSPRING will officially launch various cells in July 2004 with a once per month celebration service. We are now at the point where we're hungering to start evangelizing consistently. I'll keep you posted on my web site.

God bless, Andy, and your ministry plans!

Joel

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
Joel Comiskey Posted - 01/14/2004 : 12:31:34
Hi Charles,

Great to hear from you and God bless you in your work with English teachers. I do believe that God can use the cell strategy in a transient population, like with teachers who only stay for one year. The key, I believe, is that you view your ministry as preparing cell missionaries to reproduce themselves all over the world, as opposed to just Taiwan. I would even encourage you to train those teachers who only plan on being there for one year to be cell leaders. They might only lead a cell for a few months before going back to their home countries--but now with a new skill to start cells wherever they are (you might even want to count these departures as multiplications!)

I ministered in an 800 member international church in Egypt recently (English was the main language spoken). They also experienced a two-year turn-over of the business community that populated their church. Yet, they asked me to come to help them transition to the cell church strategy. This international church in Egypt saw the possibility of raising up cell leaders who would eventually multiply to other countries. Thus, in effect, they were raising up missionaries to send forth. They caught a vision beyond the "come and sit" mentality and decided to implement a different vision of: come, be trainied, get involved in cell life, lead a cell group, and go forth to lead another cell group in another country.

God bless you in your work, brother,

Joel

Joel Comiskey
www.comiskey.org
Charles Posted - 01/12/2004 : 06:23:07
Hi Joel,

I have a question/s that I want to pose to you concerning the church I pastor. I pastor an international church in Koahsiung, Taiwan. The target group is English teachers here and in the city we have about 2-3 thousand. Our church is roughly 80 members. We are under the Bread of Life Christian Church which is a large, cell based Chinese Church. This church is very large and is heavily influenced by faith community Baptist church in Singapore. These are my questions:

1. In all your research concerning cell churches around the world have you ever encountered a 'minority' church that was successful in implimenting the cell structure and experiencing measurable growth?

2. We have a heavy transition rate. English Teachers come here for a year or two and then go home. Leadership training in such a short time is a challange I am facing. How do we recruit and train leadership within such a limited time, then reproduce the process?

These two questions have me stymied as I havent read any material that would address our unique situation here. If you can offer any advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

God Bless,
Charles

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