Today, I, Joel Comiskey, would like to introduce a worldwide cell expert named Bill Joukhadar (picture on left). Bill’s cell experience spans the globe. He’s experienced cell ministry both in the majority world (Africa) and the western world (Australia). He now heads up a non-profit ministry called CCI. I’ve known Bill personally for seven years, having first met him in Moreno Valley, CA, and then later in the Maadi Church in Egypt, where I conducted a seminar. Bill is the real deal. I’ve asked Bill some questions:
Give a brief summary of your cell ministry in Egypt. What kind of growth did you see?
I was brought onto staff at Maadi Community Church (MCC) in April, 2000, to establish and develop small groups in the church. The church was 400 in size. The senior pastor asked how many small groups could be formed in my first year. I had no idea but thought that 12 groups would be a reachable goal. My aim was to develop healthy, fruitful and reproducing groups that would help the church to grow in community, servant-hearted leaders, and the Kingdom of God (my measurable health indicators).
I began to put my hand to the plough by inviting the general church membership to sign up for a seven weeks Cell Pastors Training course which I had developed. By the end of my first year the Lord had blessed our labor with 12 groups. Encouraged by the Lord, I then set a goal of 24 groups by the end of the following year (deciding to double the goal at the end of each year that followed). This is what resulted: 2001 = 12 groups, 2002 = 23 groups, 2003 = 41 groups, 2004 = 110 groups, 2005 = 209 groups, 2006 = 317 groups, 2007 = 413 groups (4,518 members).
But the most exciting and satisfying part of this experience was: 1,184 members were trained, 1,600 new believers came to Christ through our cell groups, and 5 daughter cell-churches were planted!
When did you leave Egypt and why?
We signed up for a 2 year call with MCC, but stayed 8 years. We left on January 31, 2008, as we sensed our assignment at MCC had reached completion and the Lord was calling us back to Australia to apply the amazing principles we had learnt in our time in Cairo.
What are you doing now in Australia?
Believing it was the Lord’s leading, my wife, Beryl, and I formed an independent, non-profit, organization (Cells-church Consultants International) to help existing churches in Australia and around the world to develop expanding networks of cells/small groups to aid their churches to grow and experience God’s bountiful goodness.
Why do you believe so strongly in cell ministry?
Like our physical bodies, the church cannot grow in health, strength and size, without believers practicing authentic community with one another, discipling one another (building leaders) and reaching out in love to their unchurched friends through healthy cells.
This is how I ‘see’ the relationship and relevance of celebration (large body worship service) and cells: Cell groups complement and complete the weekly large body worship celebration experience. A healthy church can be illustrated by a wholesome cake that is decorated with icing. The cake represents the place where community and purpose takes place in many small group settings and the icing represents the place where the whole church (all the cells) gather together, as one large body, to celebrate the goodness of God. Note: It is the cake that supports the icing, and, while the cake can stand alone, the icing cannot. Even though the cake does not need the icing… it can stand independently, both are desired since both parts combining in a complimentary way is better.
Healthy cells are the means of a health body… they must not be seen as an optional extra to Christian life… cells are the main event! The Sunday celebration experience cannot take believers deep enough in the Christian life for maturity – that results in fruitfulness.
Share about your worldwide ministry at this time.
The exciting movement of God that began at MCC in 2000 has spread to many parts of the world through former cell team members returning to their homelands or relocating to another country. Our MCC experience with cells has impacted church growth in Cyprus, Nigeria, Sudan, Romania, Poland, Finland, Wales, Canada, USA and Australia. I am presently working closely with four CCI associates; in Wales, Romania and Australia. With the remainder of my life, my aim is to network the world through as many cell partners as possible.
What kinds of things do you do to resource people interested in cell groups?
CCI offers consulting, training and coaching support to churches of all denominations, anywhere in the world. If a church is interested, we will help them in any way we can. As we have established ourselves as practitioners, specializing in the development of cells/small groups, we’ve needed to develop practical resources that help churches move quickly from the theory into practice. The following is a sample of the range of resources CCI has available to help churches get into the game:
• People can visit our website: www.cells-church.com for information and assistance
• An illustrated Small Groups Church Plan is available to help church leaders capture a snapshot of our vision and strategy.
• We have an effective seven session training program (Small Groups Development)
• Comprehensive operation/administration/ promotion and structure forms available
• Christianity Explained is our 6 session guide to understanding the Gospel (used for equipping leaders and in live presentations of the Gospel)
• Growing Up Into His Likeness is our 14 session, basic level, discipleship book
• A training track that incorporates our material and excellent resources developed by my mate, Joel Comiskey.
If someone reading this blog needed your help, how would they contact you?
• (+61) 432 780 348
What do you think? Please feel free to comment. . .