When Fear Knocks

by Rob Campbell


At any point in life, we are moving in one of three directions:  Against people in anger; Away for people in fear; With people in love.  In this post, allow me to address FEAR.

Indeed, many people are filled with fear in this day and time.  Pastor/Speaker/Theologian John Claypool (now deceased) once resided at a lodge in England for an overnight stay.   An inscription etched on the fireplace mantle caught his eye.  It read:  “Fear knocked at the door.  Faith answered.  There was no one there.”

The very first injection of fear into the human mind and heart is cited in Genesis 3.   Adam:  “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”  Notice that hiding and fear go together.  Fear knocked on the door and…fear answered.  Adam and Eve can be found hiding and crouching in the darkness because they thought something concerning God that was not true.  They bought an enormous lie.

May I pitch a thought your way?  I am never more self-centered than when I am filled with fear.  You see, fear seems like an emotion that we should cozy up to.  Fear suggests that we need “to protect ourselves from others.”  In reality, when we are entrenched in fear, we are living in a radical egocentricity.

What fears are close to your heart/mind?  Loss of a job?  Loss of a child?  Loss of a spouse?  In the context of cell life, do you fear bringing loving guidance/correction to a cell member?  Do you fear leading?  Do you fear others in your cell?  Do you fear trusting God with your cell members?  Do you fear not appearing competent as a cell leader/pastor? 

A final thought.  We serve a God of great love, don’t we?  Specifically, he says to us– “My perfect love casts out fear.”  Love unites, fear separates.

When fear knocks, may you be empowered by God’s Spirit to answer in faith!


Craving for Cell Church Books

 joelI’ve had an interesting craving lately. It’s a cell church book craving. I’ve had the desire to go back and skim through some of the foundational cell church books of bygone eras. Why? I’m not really sure. Perhaps, I was stirred last Wednesday after hearing that the G12 conference in Bogota, Colombia last January had 16-18,000 people present. A North American pastor who was present gave me a blow-by-blow account. I was encouraged by the fact that basic cell principles of multiplying disciples through cell multiplication is still a bedrock principle–whether in Bogota, San Salvador, or North America.

With G12 thoughts ringing in my head, I skimmed my own G12 book called Groups of Twelve. Then to chart my own progression in the G12 movement, I reread From Twelve to Three (yes, authors can forget from whence they came. . . ).

Then I devoured a truly revolutionary book called Where Do We Go From Here? Wow. Neighbour started a revolution in 1990 with this book. 1000s of people have been transformed through it, and the principles ring loud and clear today. I then meandered through Neighbour’s latest book Christ’s Basic Bodies to see how his philosophy has changed. Yet, there was another revolutionary author back in the early 90s named Carl George. His two books, Prepare Your Church for the Future and The Coming Church Revolution were catalysmic. While I don’t buy into George’s META MODEL, I was encouraged at how much I agreed with George on his vision to raise up leaders through small groups (which I believe is the essence of cell ministry).

I then skimmed through my books Reap the Harvest and The Church that Multiplies. Two books within two totally different environments. I wrote RTH at the height of my research on growing cell churches primarily in receptive cultures. CTM was written for a more resistant culture, that is, North America.

I wanted to continue my reading reflections but pressing tasks demanded that I stop. I’ll continue to satisfy this craving later. But what about you? What are some of those cell church books that you reread. What are the books that have impacted your life and are worth another glance? Why?

p.s.: if you want to establish a cell church reading plan and would like to know my recommendations, CLICK HERE.



Multiplication: sadness or joy?


When a cell reaches the multiplication point, it should be divided to make way for a new younger cell that will continue with the Gospel’s expansion process.

Sometimes, however, multiplication can be a source of sadness for the cell members. They know that they will all have to take different directions after sharing and fostering a relationship of mutual friendship. This sadness can even reach the extreme level of becoming a barrier for multiplication when the members wish to continue their comradeship for an indefinite time.

For the multiplication to be a joy and not sadness, it should be sown from the outset into the hearts of the cell members. They should know that multiplication is the goal of the cell. Fellowship is not the ultimate goal. When multiplication is positioned as the primary goal the people will expect to reach that moment.

The multiplication day must be a day of joy and mutual congratulations. Multiplication should be seen for what it is: the expansion of the message of salvation among the lost. Those who experience resistance to multiplication due to the fellowship that has being developed are the ones that do not have clarity on the true purposes of the cell model.

Want to add any comments?


Translation into Spanish:

La multiplicación: ¿tristeza o alegría?

Cuando una célula llega al punto de la multiplicación debe dividirse para dar paso a una nueva célula joven que continuará con el proceso de expansión del evangelio.

Sin embargo, algunas veces la multiplicación puede ser motivo de tristeza para los miembros de la célula. Ellos saben que deberán tomar rumbos diferentes personas que un por un tiempo convivieron fomentando una relación de amistad mutua. Esta tristeza puede incluso llegar al extremo de convertirse en una barrera para la multiplicación cuando los miembros desean continuar su compañerismos de manera indefinida.

Para que la multiplicación sea una alegría y no una tristeza, se debe sembrar en el corazón desde un principio que la meta de toda célula es la multiplicación. La comunión no es el fin último. Cuando la multiplicación se coloca como la meta principal las personas desarrollarán una expectativa por alcanzar ese momento.

El día de la multiplicación debe ser de alegría y de felicitaciones mutuas. La multiplicación debe ser vista por lo que es: la expansión del mensaje de salvación entre los perdidos. Aquellos que experimentan resistencia a la multiplicación por causa de la comunión desarrollada son los que no tienen una claridad de los fines reales del modelo celular.

¿Comentarios para añadir?

Making Disciples

coaches_jeff-150x1501by Jeff Tunnell

Discipleship, growth, change and maturity cannot occur apart from relational structures. It takes a teacher, trainer, mentor AND a learner, to make the efforts together in an accountable relationship.

But what does the “end product” look like, contain and demonstrate? Can you measure, qualify, or graduate it? How do you know when it is complete?

Is it necessary to answer these questions at all? What is your “thoughtful” response?

Time Out

by Rob Campbell


It’s March Madness time in the States!  Admittedly, I’m less enthused this past week as the University of Texas and Texas A&M were eliminated by Duke and U Conn respectively.  Nonetheless, the Madness continues with thrilling games, crazy fans, and the fine art of calling a “time out” at just the right time.  Again, it’s an art form!

Now, in the context of this JCG blog community, might I call a “time out?”  Here’s why.  One component of Joel’s initial vision in beginning JCG was as follows:  Joel would be sent to various portions of the world to share the gospel of Christ and extend the philosophy of cell church.  Joel’s latest post granted to us a brief summary of his time in Spain and Germany.  Since the conception of JCG, Joel has been used by God in many international arenas. 

Further, yesterday’s post which was an interview with Michael Sove by Joel dealt with Michael’s recent journey to India.  Take time to read the post.  It’s excellent.  Michael and the fellow team members from the church where he serves joined us recently at the “Day with Joel and Mario.”  You see, Michael has gleaned from Joel’s ministry over the years and now is sharing his knowledge and experience in India.

So, my called “time out” today is not about strategy, rest, or changing the momentum of the game.  Instead, my “time out” is simply to say “thank you God” for using men like Joel and Michael to share the gospel of Christ and spread the philosophy of cell church throughout the nations.  We should never take such a privilege for granted.


Cell Ministry in India–Michael Sove’s Trip

INDIAMichael Sove is not a stranger to Joel Comiskey Group. You’ve read his comments on these blogs. I’ve also asked him to be a guest blogger and have often commented on what he’s doing as the cell champion at Allen Memorial Baptist Church in Maryland. Michael recently conducted  cell seminars in India. I asked him to share what happened:

Michael, share with us what God did while in India?

I just spent the most amazing two weeks ministering alongside some Indian pastors. I was able to speak 22 times in two weeks including 4 cell seminars where I taught basic cell principles. I had opportunities to share in evangelistic gatherings as well, where up to 100 people responded to the offer of salvation. We were in the State of Andhra Pradesh and were able to experience both the rural tribal regions in the mountain villages as well as the capital city of Hyderabad with 7 million people.

What was the purpose of your trip?

The purpose of this trip was to see what God was doing and to learn first hand how I could partner with these pastors. They asked me to come and teach basic cell principles as well as minister through the Word and prayer. We ministered from early morning to late evening each day and were overwhelmed by the needs we saw. There are so many sick people in need of physical and spiritual healing.

What is God doing over there?

God is working through these ministries even though the circumstances are difficult. In India less than 3% are Christian. But I saw how many are coming to Christ over the years through these ministries. The one pastor has been at it for 25 years and started with one person and now has 500-600 people connected to his church. By the way, the people walk 2 miles to attend worship each Sunday. This pastor also has a believer in over 40 villages which means great opportunity for influence. They have cities they have targeted for planting churches but lack the pastors and the means to support those pastors. INDIA

How is God using cell church?

One of the pastors found information on the web about cell ministry and has been influencing other pastors and his satellite churches in that direction. They are asking for training and encouragement to become more effective at cell ministry. The opportunities to partner with them are unlimited. I gave them vision for the two-winged church and taught at a very basic level. The one pastor had someone prophecy over him three months ago and told him foreigners would come and help him to expand his ministry. Then we showed up speaking of the power of the two-winged church! They are very open to growing and learning cell church principles. The main challenge I see is training and coaching across this wide region. In the last few months God has given me contact with four other Indian pastors who are using cells in their ministry strategy. I hope to meet these pastors in the future. It is very obvious to me God is really moving in India and the people are very hungry for effective ministry.

Anything else you’d like to share?

The Indian believers are so passionate in their worship. They understand the power of the Holy Spirit. They are a great example of total dependence on God and many of these pastors work without a salary, depending on God to meet their daily needs.

While I was in the rural setting travelling among the villages around Giddalur, I was told over and over again that we were the first foreigners to come to them in their lifetime. In one tribal village we were mobbed by people who wanted us to lay hands on them and pray a blessing over them. The problem was they rushed us and all wanted to be the first and we had to be taken out of there because they were out of control. We went back the next night and gave an evangelistic message and about 40 people raised their hands expressing desire to be saved.

The people really understand hospitality and desired to serve us wherever we went. Even in the slums they demonstrated hospitality and servanthood. We learned much from these gracious servants of God.

How did JCG help in this process?

This whole adventure began as Pastor Suresh was doing a web search on cell church and was directed to the JCG website. While browsing the site he saw an article that I wrote about Joel coming to our church. He e-mailed me and said that it appeared I had the same heart and passion as he had and asked if I could mentor him in cell church principles. That was seven months ago and now standing on Indian soil with him we are both convinced that this was a divine encounter that God has orchestrated. We are excited about working together for the Glory of God, learning mutually from each other.

I also left all of Joel’s books, including his equipping track booklets with this pastor who has very little access to resources. I am sure those books will be used for the expansion of the kingdom and God’s Glory!

If you would like to see my photo journey, I posted 1347 photos at the following link. I hope you’ll check it out and see what God is doing in India! If you wonder what the purple hippo is about in the photos, here is the story behind it. My wife could not accompany me on this trip so she sent her “Happy Hippo” with me. All throughout the trip I had people pose with “Happy Hippo” who brought a smile to their face.


If you would like more information about my experience or would like to find out how you can help these Indian pastors, feel free to contact me at msove@allenmemorial.org and I’d love to communicate with you.




Germany and Spain Cell Ministry


If you’ve been following my Twitter updates, you’ll know that we as a family just got back from ministry in Germany and Spain (and a first-class vacation sprinkled througout!). Steve Mack, the host of the Berlin seminar, is doing an excellent job leading Berlin International Church–a true light house in a very dark place. Yet, the seminar itself was difficult. Germany is very post-modern and post-Christian, and many of the participants seemed apathetic to cell membership and especially cell leadership. One bright spot was a group from Croatia who were very excited about cell ministry. Roger, the leader of his team was a missionary from Christ Fellowship Church in Texas. At CFC he began as a member of a cell, then became a leader, multiplied his cell five times, and the CFC sent him to Croatia. They had many incredible testimonies to share with the rest of us.

The Spain seminar in March was well attended (75 to 100). Believers in Spain face lots of challenges, so they were refreshed with cell principles that can apply cross-culturally. The seminar was mainly attended by immigrants from Latin America. I believe that God will use the Latino influence to stir growth in Spain.

God was good to give me a bonding time with my family. We as a family are aware that this might be our last major trip together. Sarah will turn 18 this September and has plans to go to BIOLA in the fall. I’m keenly aware that my greatest priority is to do everything possible to assure that my kids are on-fire for Jesus!


Changing the Society through Children’s Cells


by Mario Vega

As we completed the elements for our work with children’s cells, we got the plan under way. The idea was enthusiastically received by the church from the very beginning. As the leaders were being trained for the children’s cells, we began to make the transition from the groups in which children attended to actual children’s cells.

At this moment we take care of approximately 27,000 children in our cells. Our next goal is to take care of 100,000 in order to change the social situation of San Salvador. We believe that if we manage to plant the seed of the gospel into thousands of children, the Word of God will be enough to keep that future youth away from violence, drugs and delinquency. That will produce a very positive impact and, in this way, the church will fulfill its role of being light and salt of the earth.



Translation into Spanish:

Cambiando la sociedad a través de los niños.

Cuando completamos los elementos para nuestro trabajo con células infantiles echamos a andar el plan. Desde un principio la idea fue recibida con entusiasmo por la iglesia. En la medida que se fueron capacitando líderes para las células infantiles, comenzamos a hacer una transición de los grupos de niños que se atendían en casas para convertirlos en células infantiles.

En la actualidad atendemos un aproximado de 27,000 niños en nuestras células. Nuestra meta siguiente es atender a 100,000 con el fin de cambiar la situación social que se vive en la ciudad. Creemos que si logramos colocar la semilla del evangelio en miles de niños y niñas, la Palabra de Dios será eficiente para apartar a esos futuros jóvenes de la violencia, las drogas y la delincuencia. Eso producirá un impacto muy positivo y, así, la iglesia cumplirá su papel de ser sal y luz de la tierra.

Grateful Heart

coaches_jeff-150x1501By Jeff Tunnell

 Today my expression of gratitude to the Father is for those who are resourcing the worldwide cell church.  They have traversed many paths, pressing ahead with a vision that comes directly from the Father’s heart for an exponentially growing population that still does not know HIM.

 I have a sketchy memory of the story in which a missionary had discovered a remote village which had not received a witness of Jesus and His salvation.  He sent word to his sending agency requesting assistance in reaching these people, stating that there were no roads to the village yet.  The response; “As soon as there are roads, we will supply vehicles.”  His reply to them was simple, “I don’t need vehicles, just send men whose hearts are on fire for God and full of vision, then supply them with machetes!”

 Pioneers are still needed!  Mario Vega is such a pioneer (he blogs on Thursdays).  I used the link on the JCG home page to check out his church and see the expansion of Elim to reach the entire nation of El Salvador.  As I write, music is steaming from their FM radio station online.  I could be watching the TV station or listening to Pastor Mario teaching on the AM station as well. (En español of course)

Tune in, be resourced, BE GRATEFUL!

The Antidote to Burnout

by Rob Campbell


Let me share a few thoughts that should mesh well with Steve’s post yesterday.  We all know lazy pastors/ministers.  It’s also true that we know plenty of pastors/ministers who are close to burnout.  The antidote to burnout is honoring the sabbath (“cease to exist, to stop, to bring things to a halt, A DAY of REST”).  The command to observe the sabbath is one of the Big Ten, isn’t it?

Here are some things to consider in light of the sabbath:

The sabbath is set aside for creational purposes, not cultural.

The sabbath is matter of rest, not ritual.

One’s principle behind the sabbath will determine the priority of the sabbath.

The sabbath is a matter of good, not greed.

The sabbath is a matter of Lordship over legalism.

Now, consider the following three questions.  First, what day each week is your sabbath?  How do you refresh your Spirit?  What do you need to change in your schedule?

Before you move on to something else right now, please read Isaiah 58:12-14.

Jesus:  “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). 

Allow your soul to catch up with your mind and body!