by Michael Sove
A few days ago Jeff Tunnell wrote an excellent article called Understanding Integration. In it he talked about the four types of integration. (non integration; faulty integration; minimum integration and maximum integration) Here is how it works for us, a church in transition.
We are a hybrid of minimum integration. As Jeff laid out the main points of
minimum integration are:
• Cell Church
• Clear definition of a cell group
• Cell attendance is just as important as celebration attendance
• Only those already attending a cell group can be involved in official church ministries.
We hold to the first three points but let me explain the last one, especially what we would consider official church ministries. In this phase in our transition people can serve without being in a cell but to lead or function as a point person for any ministry we do ask them to participate in a cell group. All our deacons are at least members of a cell, most are leaders. Leadership is influence and if they are not part of the cell system they cannot influence others to participate in the life of the cells, a very important part of our strategy.
For example we were approached by some men who wanted to start a men’s ministry. Both these men were already in a cell group so we were open to the idea. We asked them to call it Men’s Network and to make sure it contained balanced elements of our Connect, Grow and Serve strategy. In other words it would not just focus on fellowship and fun events, it would not just focus on spiritual growth or serving in the community but would balance all three of these dimensions. Men’s network serves both cells and celebration and does not have a life of it’s own. It is an integral part of the overall cell system.
Since we only have 40 percent of our worshipping adults in cells we want to be able to harness the energy of the other 60 percent and get them behind the vision of our church and involved in service while we try to invite them into cells which is more of the strategy of how we live out the vision. Later on when the majority are in cells we can depend more and more on the cells to carry out the basic ministry functions.
It is so important to address integration as you plant a cell church or transition away from a program based system to a cell based system.
Comments? What are you doing to integrate?