The Trinity and the Gifts/Functions of Cell Ministry

by Mario Vega

Joel Comiskey did a great job of expounding on the Trinity and cell ministry. It’s true that the presence of God must fill each cell, since it constitutes the Body of Christ.

The passage in 1 Corinthians 11:2 to 14:40, which is traditionally interpreted as referring to the Christian celebration (and this is understood as the traditional church meeting in a building), acquires new meaning as we remember that Christians did not have buildings to gather for celebrations until well into the second century. Consequently, the passage talks about what happened in the early Christian house meetings.

Within this context is the passage that says: “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ways how to serve, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). This passage is not only important because it mentions the Spirit, the Lord, and God (liturgical ways to refer to the Spirit, the Son and the Father). More than that, it is important because it expresses how the dynamism of the Trinity gave meaning to the house meetings.

Without the Trinity imparting gifts, services, and functions to the cell members, the cell would have no life or attractiveness. It is the presence and the merciful operation of God’s Trinity which allows every believer to reunite toward Christ and to practice its corresponding role as a member of the Body. That is how the believers are strengthened and are being built together.

Such activity explains how the early church was born, raised and established. It was all through the presence and vivifying action of the Triune God in their midst.



translation in Spanish:

Los dones, el servicio y las funciones en la célula.

Como bien lo expuso Joel Comiskey en su blog sobre La Trinidad y el Ministerio Celular, la presencia de Dios llena cada célula a partir que ella constituye el Cuerpo de Cristo.

El pasaje que va de 1 de Corintios 11:2 al 14:40, que tradicionalmente se interpreta como referido al culto cristiano (y éste entendido como la reunión tradicional de la iglesia en un edificio), adquiere nuevo significado al recordar que, en sus primeros siglos, los cristianos no poseyeron edificios para el culto. Consecuentemente, el pasaje habla sobre lo que sucedía en las reuniones en casas de los primeros cristianos.

Dentro de ese contexto se encuentra el pasaje que dice: ‘Hay diversos dones, pero un mismo Espíritu. Hay diversas maneras de servir, pero un mismo Señor. Hay diversas funciones, pero es un mismo Dios el que hace todas las cosas en todos’ 1 Co. 12:4-6. El pasaje no sólo es importante porque se menciona el Espíritu, el Señor y a Dios: formas litúrgicas de referirse a el Espíritu, el Hijo y el Padre. Más que eso, es importante porque expresa cómo el dinamismo de la Trinidad era lo que daba sentido a las reuniones en casas.

Sin la Trinidad otorgando dones, servicios y funciones a los miembros de la célula, ésta no tendría vida ni atractivo. Es la presencia y la operación misericordiosa de la Trinidad de Dios la que permite que cada creyente se reúna en dirección a Cristo y cada uno ejercite el papel que le corresponde como miembro del Cuerpo. Es de esa manera como los creyentes son fortalecidos y edificados los unos a los otros.

Tal actividad explica cómo la iglesia primitiva nació, creció y se estableció. Todo fue por medio de la presencia y acción vivificadora del Dios trino en medio de ellos.

Hoist Your Sales

By Rob Campbell

Over two hundred years ago, one of the founding fathers of America, Benjamin Rush, had a dream. In this dream, a man was climbing atop Christ’s Cathedral Church in Philadelphia and began turning the weather vane. In effect, he had reversed the relationship between the weather vane and the wind. As Mr. Rush awakened, he analyzed this dream. He concluded that the weather vane upon the majestic church building was not a manipulator of the wind, but simply an indicator of which direction the wind is blowing. As he pondered the dream, he sensed he was the man ascending the church’s roof. In his critical role during the founding of our nation, he was convicted of trying to change the events of the time rather than indicate them.

Jesus said, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

Are you a manipulator or an indicator of God’s activity in your midst? Trying to manipulate the Spirit of God is not new news. One simply needs to read the books of Acts to see such behavior.

In the early church, no person is more poignantly present than the Holy Spirit. The decisions and directions of men and women were rooted in the moving of the Holy Spirit. Despite this reality, there were missteps, mistakes, misjudgments– you know, sin. The following two snapshots from the Acts of the Apostles through the Holy Spirit should serve as cautions for us in this realm of manipulation.

First, we may attempt to manipulate the Holy Spirit through organization (see Acts 1:15-26). Although God told the disciples to wait, Peter wanted to organize. His organization was filled with biblical interpretation (v. 20), appropriate nominations (v. 23), and election (v. 26). The organization was impressive. It looked good, but it contained no dynamic of God. Have you noticed another mention of the elected disciple named Matthias anywhere else in scripture? Please understand that I am not proposing through this scenario that the Holy Spirit is the sponsor of disorganization. We must submit the organization to God, not God to the organization. Here is the principle I want you to take hold of: The church should be so full of life that people beg for structure rather than the church being so full of structure that the people beg for life.

Second, we may attempt to manipulate the Holy Spirit for reputation (see Acts 5:1-11). Ananias and Sapphira participated in deliberate, deceitful, and demonic manipulation rooted in their motivation to be like Barnabas (Acts 4:37). They wanted a halo without holiness. As a result, they were both taken by God. Courting God and his Spirit for the benefit of one’s reputation is dangerous and deadly business. You don’t have to be eloquent, clever, sensational, logical, but you must be real. If you are not real, you damage incalculably the cause that you represent.

An old preacher was asked by one of his church members to explain John 3:8 (The wind blows wherever it pleases….). “Tell me about the wind,” the church member stated. The old preacher responded, AI don=t know about the wind. All I know is that when the wind blows, we better hoist our sails and catch it.” We cannot dictate the blow of the wind for this is a sovereign act. But, we can hoist our sails.



Entering the Circle

by Michael Sove

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”  John 17:20-21 (my emphasis)

The will of the Trinity is that we should be invited into the fellowship of the Trinity.  What a beautiful picture to have as you gather with your cell group.  Many times we talk about recognizing Christ in our midst, but what about recognizing us in “Their Midst?” The Father Son and Holy Spirit.

Dallas Willard writes these words:

“God’s aim in human history is an inclusive community of loving persons with Himself included as it’s primary sustainer and most glorious inhabitant.”  Dallas Willard

As I gather with my cell I’m always trying to heighten our awareness of whose presence we’re in.  I do this in a number of ways…

  • Begin with prayer addressing the members of the Trinity, acknowledging their presence, inviting their work in us and through us.
  • By spending quality time in worship, praying and singing and expressing love directly to God.
  • Allowing time for listening and responding, asking people if they heard anything from God that they would like to share.
  • By not responding quickly to a need but by pausing and asking God for direction for ministry.

As we enter the circle of the fellowship of the Trinity, lives are transformed, bodies are healed, marriages restored and dreams are realized.  Come to the cell gathering looking for God’s movement in your midst and you won’t be disappointed.

What practical ideas would you add to my list to heighten awareness of the presence of God as you gather with your cell?


Assemble All the Parts

Jeff Tunnell

The writer of Hebrews encourages us to gather together with these words,

“And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities; Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together (as believers), as is the habit of some people, but admonishing – warning, urging and encouraging – one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.” Amplified Bible, chapter 10:24-25.  Where the verb assemble is used, the original language implies “to make a complete collection”; don’t let there be any missing parts!

Jesus stated the principle truth “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Nine of 11 of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances are to various small gatherings of disciples (with exception of Mary Magdalene & Paul the Apostle).

When parts of the Body join together, we may expect Jesus to meet with us, reveal Himself, bring encouragement, open our understanding and foster life and empowerment to each one present.  He will breathe on us and say “receive the Holy Spirit” as He did with the first disciples and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will operate naturally through our yieldedness to Him.

All this to glorify the Father!

The Trinity and Cell Ministry

joelby Joel Comiskey

Christ’s presence in the cell has been a very important topic lately. Christ is the Head of the body, His church, and we are joined to Him. The cell is the church (just like the celebration) and is a supernatural organism, as opposed to a man-made organization. Cells work as each member hears from Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, and responds accordingly. As each body part functions properly, the cell comes alive and true edification takes place. Believers are edified and non-believers are transformed through the supernatural ministry of each member. Ralph Neighbour does a great job of detailing Christ work in the cell in his book, Christ’s Basic Bodies.  I just reread Neighbour’s book as well as two other books about Jesus Christ’s role in the body (e.g., E. Stanley Jones entitled The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person).

The Holy Spirit also plays a critical role in the cell group. 1 Corinthians 12-14 tells us that the Holy Spirit dwells within the cell and distributes His gifts according to His will: “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines”(1 Corinthians 12:11). My book, The Spirit-filled Small Group, highlights the Spirit’s role in the cell. And we must not forget the Heavenly Father’s critical role in cell ministry!! The fact is that the Trinity, God’s fullness, make cells work effectively.

The unity between the members of the Trinity is our example for community and love within the cell. Jesus and the New Testament writers were constantly telling us to love one another, serve one another, and walk in humility with each other. Because God, the Trinity, lives in a loving relationship, He expects His people to live in the same way. Individualism, however, bucks this idea and resists walking in unity.

Biblical culture is group oriented because it reflects the Trinity’s nature (see Hellerman’s book, When the Church was a Family). When writing my book, The Relational Disciple, I realized that I had to repent of my individualistic ways and ask the Trinity to make me more like Himself. I realized that the Bible, not culture, should dictate all that I say and do.

It’s true that each member of the Trinity plays an essential role in cell ministry, but I believe the most powerful model for cell ministry is the Trinity Himself. He desires to mold us and our cell groups to reflect His nature.



Prayer is the Work of Ministry

by Rob Campbell

Prayer is the work of ministry. When we see fruit from the ministry it is always rooted in prayer.

In the Old Testament, watchmen were placed on the city’s wall for protection as an early alert signal for invading armies. You are a watchman on the wall! I encourage you to serve with consistency, readiness and with a great longing to intercede in the heavenlies.

My days of ministering without a prayer ministry foundation are long gone. I will not participate in powerless “ministry” that is based on the good ideas, techniques and methods of men.

I want to remind you of one aspect of prayer. Prayer is not simply talking and listening to God. Prayer is relationship with God.

I believe it was Henry Blackaby who suggested the following process of prayer in our lives:

1. God takes the initiative by causing me to want to pray.

2. The Holy Spirit reveals to me the will of God.

3. I pray in the Spirit in agreement with the will of God.

4. I adjust my life to truth.

5. I look and listen from confirmation.

6. I obey.

7. God works in me and through me to accomplish His purposes.

May we be a people of prayer!



Prayer: The Pathway to a Spirit-filled Life

by Michael Sove

As leaders we need to hear the call to the Spirit-filled life.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10 (NIV)

Not only must we hear the call but must heed the call to the Spirit-filled life.

“Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”  Eph 5:18 (NIV)

At Allen we believe prayer is the pathway to a Spirit-filled life.  We ask all our pastors and cell leaders to participate in “Soul Switch.”  This is an on-going 40 day period of commitment, where each of us agrees to pray for 30 minutes and read for at least 15 minutes daily.  As we do this we ask God to crucify our self-focus and our self-confidence.

Prayer must become a meeting with God.  We don’t like to use the word quiet time, as this meeting with God is far more than quiet.  In order to meet God, your soul must thirst for God.  We believe that when you approach God you must have “intense intentionality.”

Psalm 42:1-2  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?” (NIV)

Prayer also becomes important in the destruction of strongholds (areas of persistent disobedience that we refuse to destroy but rather try to justify).  In order to remain Spirit-filled, you must attack the strongholds.  We encourage each other to C.A.B daily.  (Confess your sin, Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you, Believe that you have been filled)

James 4:7  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (NIV)

Do you want to have a strong cell church that impacts nations for the Glory of God?  Then grow Christians to become Spirit-filled Believers.  Put them on the pathway of prayer.  It begins with you, passes through the leaders and spreads to the others.



Prayer Leaders

by Mario Vega

The leader is a model for the cell members. Since prayer is essential for cell work, the leader should be a model in this area as well. Besides living the life of prayer that every Christian must live, leaders must make a pro-active effort to make prayer their priority.

In the case of ELLIM, we make a daily reminder to our leaders through our radio stations to make prayer a priority. In addition, each month, the church has an all night prayer meeting. Since leaders are the ones responsible to bring their members and friends to church, they also must participate in these vigils.

The same applies to other church activities regarding prayer, such as fasting, retreats, and our systematic prayer programs. When the leader participates in these activities, he becomes not only a cell leader but also a prayer leader. The rest of the cell members tend to follow his or her example.

Therefore, the leader’s prayer life is fundamental to the cell work. Evangelization through cells can not be done mechanically; you need to depend on prayer at all times, rather than solely on effort, experience or knowledge.



translation in Spanish

Líderes de oración

El líder es un modelo en muchos sentidos para los miembros de la célula. Siendo que la oración es fundamental para el trabajo celular, el líder debe ser también un modelo en esa área. Además de llevar la vida de oración que todo cristiano debe llevar, se hace énfasis para que los líderes coloquen la oración como su prioridad.

En nuestro caso, diariamente se está recordando a través de nuestras emisoras de radio la responsabilidad que tiene todo líder de hacer de la oración su prioridad.

Además, cada mes, la iglesia realiza una vigilia de oración durante toda la noche. Dado que los líderes son los responsables de llevar a la iglesia a los hermanos y amigos, ellos mismos no pueden sustraerse de su responsabilidad de participar en esas vigilias.

Lo mismo sucede con otras actividades de oración en la iglesia como los ayunos, los retiros, los programas de oración sistemáticos, etc. Cuando el líder se involucra en todas estas actividades se convierte no sólo en un líder de célula sino que también en un líder de oración. Los demás miembros de la célula tienden a seguir su modelo.

Por ello, la vida de oración del líder es fundamental para el trabajo. La evangelización a través de células no puede hacerse de manera mecánica, se necesita depender todo el tiempo de la oración y no de la pericia que pueda desarrollarse.

Prayer & Leadership

Jeff Tunnell

Dean C. J. Vaughn once said: “If I wished to humble anyone, I should question him about his prayers. I know nothing to compare with this topic for is sorrowful confessions.”  J. Oswald Sanders stated, “The spiritual leader should outpace the rest of the church, above all, in prayer.  And yet the most advanced leader is conscious of the possibility of endless development in his prayer life. Nor does he ever feel he has “already attained”.”

Of Samuel Chadwick it was said that he was essentially a man of prayer.  Every morning he would be astir shortly after six o’clock, and he kept a little room which was his private sanctum for his quiet hour before breakfast.  He was mighty in public prayer because he was constant in private devotion.  When he prayed he expected God to do something.  Toward the end of his life he wrote, “I wish I had prayed more, even if I had worked less; and from the bottom of my heart I wish I had prayed better.”  Evangelist Billy Graham echoed the same sentiment when asked what he might change if he could go back and start over, “I would work less, pray more & spend more time with my family.”

Have to go now, I’m feeling conviction (which moves me toward God), thanks for reading…       your comments?

Exemplifying the Life of Prayer

joelby Joel Comiskey

Paul said in 1 Corintians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” If we want our people to pray more, we as leaders must e exemplify the life of prayer, both on a personal level as well as a corporate one.

On a personal level, the leader should be known for his or her life of prayer. Prayer needs to be at the very heart of what the leader does. On one hand, I’m referring to praying throughout the day as it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, but I’m also talking about the leader’s quiet time. If the pastor, for example, doesn’t have a regular quiet time, how can he expect the church members to have one? How can he preach from the pulpit about the need for daily devotions, when he himself doesn’t exemplify that truth? (this same truth truth appies to all leadership positions, including the cell leader and cell coach). I strongly believe that the most important discipline in the Christian life is the quiet time. Each believer needs to have a daily appointment with the King. I wrote a book called, An Appointment with the King, which I believe is the most important book I’ve written.

Pastors and leaders also need to model corporate prayer. I remember when we as a pastoral staff from the Republica Church in Ecuador ate lunch with César Fajardo, the ex-youth pastor at the International Charismatic Mission (now Fajardo leads his own chruch called “Church without Walls.”). Fajardo looked right at us as a pastoral team and said, “Your church will not pray beyond your example.” His words cut deeply into our souls because we weren’t exemplifying the life of prayer to the rest of the church. When we returned to Ecuador, we realized that each of us had to take part in the weekly church-wide prayer meeting, and even lead parts of it. We had to demonstrate to others the importance of prayer by our feet, not just our lips.

When it comes to prayer, can we say with Paul the Apostle, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ”?