Our leadership is enrolled in a cell-church coaching contract with JCG that began in 2009 and continues through September of 2012. The contract will take me back through nearly every book on cell church that I own! (I was one of a group of pastors who met with Joel for a previous 3-year coaching process as well and this led to our current church contract). Coaching is VITAL.
Our monthly cell leader gathering was yesterday. We prayed for one another, reviewed the focus of ministry the Holy Spirit is directing in our Celebrations and discussed our reporting process for monitoring our goals. This piece is so very necessary for including and encouraging those who are on the front lines of ministry. Our under-shepherds are meeting incredible needs at the implementation level of cell church and in that place of ministry they also encounter extreme spiritual warfare. They need and deserve our support and friendship on a regular basis to keep the vision fresh and meaningful.
I attend a cell each week that is led by Rob Hastings, the young man who will take my place as Senior Pastor in 2012. He is experiencing cell church at the ground level and will multiply my wife & I out to a new cell soon. We are enjoying cell community together each week, along with practicing the principles of evangelism and multiplication.
Sitting in my small home office, to my left, are 2 books that are on the “front burner” of reading for continued learning about cell church. Above my head are a couple of dozen books on leadership, church growth, values and virtues, discipleship and history. When I go to my church office the library behind me has two entire shelves of books which are included in Joel Comiskey’s recommended reading list. I have read each at least once, most more than once.
I have marked each passage in the New Testament that demonstrates how the early church met in small groups and homes (check mark in the margin). This keeps me sharp in how I think about the cell system when reading scripture and preaching/teaching. It has revolutionized the way I think about how ministry should (and did) take place.
Above all these I have discovered that walking out the vision with a friend and co-laborer to be of greatest value. Regular friendship and open dialogue about cell-driven approaches has kept me on task and on track over the years. Many times I have been tempted to return to program-based designs. My discussions combined with regular prayer together with my friend have helped me see the powerful reasons to stay with the plan God has given to us.
These things keep me refreshed and moving ahead in faith that one day we will again reach critical mass and exponential growth for the expansion of HIS kingdom inside our community.