Associate Cell Leaders

joelHow valuable is it to have an associate leader in the cell group? I’m referring to starting a group with someone who is committed to start the next group when the time TEAMcomes. In the heyday of the G12 movement there was a lot of talk about planting new cells. The leader would go out by himself or herself and plant a new cell from scratch. Most of us in the cell movement were impressed with how many new cells were started through the G12 process of cell planting. But is this a healthy practice?

I was coaching a pastor recently who was ready to officially transition to the cell church strategy. He had practiced prototyping principles for about a year, and he was ready to start several new cells. He wanted to start ten cells, but as we talked, we both agreed that it was wiser to start five groups that each had an associate leader to assure multiplication in the future.

I’ve noticed more and more how easy it is to talk about cell multiplication and never actually do it. Often the problem is that no one is willing to lead the new group. Many cell groups languish for years without giving birth because there is simply no one to take the new group. Stagnation can easily settle in over time and koinonia eventually turns into koinonitus.

The Elim Church (senior pastor Mario Vega) does a great job of establishing a team in each cell group which helps prepare the next cell for multiplication. Most cell churches, however, don’t measure up to Elim’s standard.

What about you? Do you wait until you have a leader and an associate leader to multiply a new group? Is this too idealistic? Share your experience in this area.

Joel Comiskey


Something More than Mere Numbers

marioby Mario Vega

An important factor to help avoid cell work from getting entangled in numbers is to be able to maintain achievable goals.GOALS

When goals are too ambitious, your concern can drag you into focusing on numerical aspects only. Pressure to reach a certain number can lead to neglect important aspects of the cell work or even to lose ethical elements such as honesty.

Exaggerating on that subject a few jokes came out from the cell work environment of our church. One joked of a leader who, in order to achieve the goal, began to add attendance “by faith” reporting what his eyes couldn’t see but his heart could believe. Another one tells that there was a leader that reported even the people that passed by in the street at the moment he was attending the cell meeting.

There was another leader of whom everybody said that when a pregnant woman came to his meeting he would count her as for two: the baby and her. Another one even more creative counted his attendance by weight. An obese person could count for three or four, depending on how many pounds he could weigh.

Of course, all of this was nothing more than jokes. But those jokes talk about the danger that surrounds when you focus too much on numbers neglecting other essential components of the work in houses.


Translation into Spanish:

Algo más que simples números.

Un factor importante para que el trabajo celular no se quede enzarzado en cuestión de números es el poder mantener las metas alcanzables.

Cuando las metas son demasiado ambiciosas puede mover a que la preocupación se centre en aspectos numéricos solamente. La presión por llegar a cierta cantidad puede llevar al descuido de aspectos importantes del trabajo celular o hasta a perder elementos éticos como la honestidad.

Exagerando ese tema es que en el ambiente de trabajo celular de nuestra iglesia surgieron algunas bromas. Como aquella que habla de un líder que, con tal de alcanzar la meta, comenzó a poner asistencia ‘por fe’ reportando lo que sus ojos no veían pero su corazón creía. De otro se dice que contaba incluso las personas que pasaban por la calle al momento de realizar la reunión de célula.

Había otro líder del cual se decía que cuando una mujer embarazada llegaba a la reunión la contaba por dos: el bebé y ella. Otro más creativo contaba la asistencia por peso. Una persona obesa podía valer por tres o cuatro, dependiendo cuántas libras pudiera pesar.

Claro que todo ello no era más que bromas. Pero esas bromas hablan del peligro que envuelve el enfocarse demasiado en los números descuidando otros componentes esenciales del trabajo en casas.

When a group leader falls

by Steve Cordle

I will follow Rob Campbell’s excellent example today and ask a question so that we might learn from one another. It’s a question no pastor likes to think on, but most likely we will all face it at some point:

Q: When a group leader falls morally, how do you go about removing that leader? If the leader will not own their action nor agree to the removal, what is said to the group and what is not? What is the role of the pastor/coach?

Obviously we don’t want you to identify specifics, but specific action steps and why.

Leadership Lessons

by Rob Campbell

John Maxwell is well known for the following quote:  “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”  It’s true, isn’t it?

I’m wondering– what leadership lessons are near and true to your heart?

Further, would you be willing to share those lessons with this blog community?  You need not be wordy (as you may note this blog post is quite brief).

Let me share two of my favorite leadership lessons.

First, everyone will not be like you.

Next, everyone will not like you.

Post a comment.  Be brief.  One or two lines is just fine.


Jesus and the Multitudes

joelI’m writing here from the Kansas City, MO airport, and I’m tired–but happy. I’ve had a whirlwind speaking ministry here. It started at a Southern Baptist church on Friday night. Kevin Wood is the pastor. I first met Kevin in Prague when I did a cell seminar among the southern Baptist missionaries. Then we were together again in Greece and later in Slovakia (where Kevin was a SB missionary). And now we met again in the “new world” of Kansas City. Kevin, who believes strongly in cell ministry, asked me to speak on transitioning the church to the cell strategy.

On Saturday I spoke to sixty Southern Baptist church planters. They wanted me to speak on simple cell church planting–going from the core to the crowd. So many church planters begin with a Sunday worship service. I challenged them to begin with a cell (the church) and multiply from the core to the crowd. Many church planters will eventually have weekly celebration services while others will choose to gather the cells together less frequently.

Then on Sunday morning I was back at Kevin’s church and spoke to 250 people in attendance about penetrating their cities through multiplying cell groups. So many won’t darken the door of a church building. They need a church “next door” that will reach out to them and invite them to the group. As I walked around the neighborhood before preaching, I noticed a young “hippie” looking dad taking his young daughter out for a motorcycle ride. He lived near the church, but I doubted he’d just “show up” at one of the celebration services. Who would befriend him? Who would reach him? I thought. I preached that morning from Matthew 9:35-10:1:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35-10:1).

Jesus is still broken as He sees lost people–like the hippie dad. And He’s still asking us to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into his harvest field. Cells are a great way to send forth laborers who lead “the church next door” and have compassion on the hurting–just like Jesus.

The Value of Numbers

marioby Mario Vega

Goals are essential in order to have cells multiplying. Since we started our work we began to establish clear goals for each zone pastor. But, targets arereporting meaningless if you don’t know where you are standing at a present time.

For this reason, it soon became necessary to handle several reports that would allow us to know the real status of the work. In those reports each leader writes down information such as the attendance of Christians in his cell, the number of guests, the number of conversions, etc.

Each supervisor consolidates the information received from his leaders in a sectors’ report. Then, the zone pastor prepares his consolidated result with the sum of the reports of his supervisors. Then, the district pastor consolidates the information with the sum of the reports of his zones. Finally, you get the consolidated result for the church by the sum of reports of the districts.

Although it seems that this is a cumbersome work, to be honest, it is done fluently and fast. We have each week the cell work statistics’ of the previous week and we know exactly the results. On that basis we can plan, project ourselves and mend deficiencies.

Normally, churches are not used to handle accurate calculations of its members. But in our case, it has enabled us to know where we are, where we come from and where we are heading. What is your opinion on this topic?



El valor de los números.

Las metas son esenciales para tener células que se multiplican. Desde que iniciamos nuestro trabajo comenzamos a establecer metas claras para cada Pastor de zona. Pero, las metas no tienen sentido si no se sabe en qué lugar se encuentra uno en el presente.

Por tal motivo, pronto se hizo necesario llevar una serie de reportes que nos permitían conocer el estado real del trabajo. En los reportes cada líder escribe datos tales como la cantidad de cristianos presentes en su célula, la cantidad de invitados, el número de conversiones, etc.
Cada supervisor consolida la información que recibe de sus líderes en un reporte de sector.
Luego, el pastor de zona hace su consolidado con la suma de los reportes de sus supervisores.
Luego, el pastor de distrito consolida los datos con la suma de los reportes de sus zonas. Finalmente, tengo el consolidado de la iglesia por la suma de los reportes de los distritos.
Aunque parece que éste es un trabajo engorroso, en verdad, se realiza de una manera muy fluida y rápida. Cada semana tenemos las estadísticas del trabajo celular de la semana anterior y sabemos con exactitud los resultados. Sobre esa base podemos planear, proyectarnos y corregir lo deficiente.

Normalmente, las iglesias no son muy dadas a llevar cuentas exactas de sus miembros. Pero, en nuestro caso, ellas nos han permitido saber adónde estamos, de dónde venimos y hacia dónde vamos. ¿Qué piensa usted del tema?


Sheep Care

by Steve Cordle


In John 21 the risen Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?”

Peter (perhaps sadly) responds, “You know I do”.

Jesus then re-commissions Peter: “Take care of my sheep”. Three years earlier Jesus had called Peter to follow him and become a fisher of men. Now, even after Peter’s denial, Jesus reaffirms His call on Peter’s life: “Take care of my sheep.”

Many pastors — and group leaders — understand their calls to be to shepherd God’s flock.

But who were those sheep? At that time there were maybe 120 followers of Jesus. Are they the sheep Jesus meant Peter to care for? I think Jesus was also referring to many others yet unreached — those people who were not yet part of the new community of the Church. I think Jesus was also referring to those people who inwardly moved Him when He looked out over Jerusalem and saw the people who were “like sheep without a shepherd”. And shorlty thereafter the Holy Spirit empowered Peter to gather 3,000 more of those sheep in one day (Pentecost).

When we see our role as group leaders and pastors as taking care of ALL of Jesus’ sheep — including those wandering in the spiritual wilderness being attacked by wolves – it deeply influences the way we lead.

Has the Lord called you to “Take care of my sheep”? How are you seeking out his lost ones?

Invitation Power

by Rob Campbell

Joel’s post yesterday was about “invitation power.”  It is my belief that there is great power in an invite.  “Follow me…”  “Take up your cross daily and follow me…”  “Lay down your nets and follow me…”  Jesus was a great inviter.  Inviting others to experience the power of God is not rocket science.  Consider the following questions.

Would you like for me to give you a ride?  How ’bout you come over about 6 for dinner?  Do you want to go to the movie?  Is there any way I can help you today?  Will you come and walk with me?  Would you like to know God?  Would you hold my hand?  Will you go with me…it’s dark in there?

The questions above are….invitations, aren’t they?  They open the door for one to respond.  One can choose to participate, or not. 

My friends, Bob and Cecilia, while eating at a local cafe invited a waitress to Easter Celebration a few years ago.  Her name was Stefanie.  Long story very, very short.  Today, Stefanie, her husband Josh and family serve as missionaries in Oaxaca, Mexico.  You see, Stefanie received Christ on that Sunday morning.  As the months unfolded, Josh received Christ.  Their passion for Christ grew in an amazing fashion and one day they were commissioned by Cypress Creek Church to spread the gospel to Oaxaca.

That, my friends, is invitation power.  Ask “inviting” questions like those mentioned above.  You may not consider yourself a “soul winner,” but anyone can be a great inviter.





Inviting People to Your Cell Group

joelHave we done enough inviting to our cell groups? Most cell books and articles rightly emphasize friendship evangelism–getting to know people and earning invitationthe right to share the gospel. And this is good and right. But getting to know people can be a long, slow process. And there’s a limit to how many people we can know well. What about those we don’t know (or don’t know well) but who still need an  invitation?

Eric Glover, the new lead pastor at Wellspring, has set a great example in his own LIFE group in the area of inviting. A half dozen people from his neighborhood have recently come to his Tuesday night LIFE group because of his simple invitations. He made fliers and passed those fliers out in his neighborhood. His LIFE group is now overflowing. And he’s challenging each of us to make similar fliers and go out into our own neighborhoods. Eric has developed the lesson questions from my book LIVE that are geared toward non-Christians.

I’m personally planning on starting a new neighborhood group in the next couple months. We’ll start by “inviting” the neighbors we know best, but I’m encouraged to go beyond those who we know. I’d like to INVITE those who we don’t know and then continue to “farm” our neighborhood for future fruit.

Jesus said, ALL AUTHORITY is given me in heaven and earth. After telling us this is Matthew 28:18, he says “now you make disciples.” Yes, He does ask us to go and make disciples.

What’s been your experience in inviting people to your group? Difficult? Fruitful?

Joel Comiskey

Components of a Planning Meeting

marioby Mario Vega

The planning meeting is designed to last one hour. In Elim Church’s case, it takes place once a week and more than two days before the cell meeting. planningSince this meeting’s purpose is to strengthen the cell’s meeting principles, its contents are focused on three areas: prayer, evaluation and projection.
Prayer is important because this is a working meeting in which the leader can bring to account his members´ performance. But before asking the members to give account, the leader must give. He must give blessing ministering and praying for each member of his cell.

The second component is the evaluation. At this time, the leader along with the members reviews the previous cell’s meeting results. The effectiveness of the invitation and the performance of each member in their allocation within the cell is evaluated.

Finally, in the projection, the next cell’s meeting invitation is planned. Recommendations are made. Responsibilities are assigned and it ends with another prayer entrusting God with the plans made. All this is done within an hour.


Spanish translation:

Componentes de una reunión de planificación.

La reunión de planificación está diseñada para durar una hora. En el caso de Iglesia Elim, se realiza una vez por semana y más de dos días antes que la reunión de célula. Dado que el propósito de ésta reunión es el de fortalecer los principios de la reunión celular, sus contenidos se enfocan en tres áreas: la oración, la evaluación y la proyección.

La oración es importante porque siendo una reunión de trabajo es una ocasión cuando el líder pide cuentas a los miembros. Pero antes de pedir cuentas el líder debe dar. Debe dar bendición a través de ministrar y orar por cada uno de los miembros de su célula.

El segundo componente es la evaluación. En este tiempo, el líder revisa junto a los miembros los resultados de la reunión de célula anterior. Se evalúa la efectividad en la invitación y el desempeño de cada miembro en su asignación dentro de la célula.

Finalmente, en la proyección, se planifica la invitación para la siguiente reunión de célula. Se hacen recomendaciones. Se asignan responsabilidades y se finaliza con una nueva oración encomendando a Dios los planes hechos. Todo esto en el término de una hora.