Over the last fifteen years I have learned much about starting and multiplying cells. Much of what I learned was through mistakes. The least effective way to multiply is to focus on one apprentice as you grow the cell. Then when the cell is regularly over 12-15 people, the leader and apprentice talk through who should go with which leader and the cell gets divided into two. This very seldom works well and feels more like a split than a birth to those involved. The other problem with it is that you tend to launch a leader and not a team. This is a quick way to burn out a leader.
My favorite way to multiply a cell is to begin with the end in mind. Cell ministry requires teamwork so I no longer launch a cell with a solo leader. I ask the leader to launch with a core-team (3-4 people who will share the leadership of the cell). As the cell launches with a core team and begins to grow, each of the core team members will be praying for their own core teams as they are working with the current team and being discipled and trained so they in turn can disciple and train those who will be entrusted to their care.
Will all core team members become leaders? Maybe not, but they will continue to function on teams which is very important to the health and growth of any cell. Right now in my current cell, my wife and I are working with three other core team members, a couple and a single. We are discipling and training these individuals in all aspects of cell life and leadership. We all share the main responsibilities of the gatherings as well as the habits practiced outside the gatherings, like inviting new people and contacting and caring for those in our cell.
When they are trained and have demonstrated faithfulness and I have targeted other core team members, I will birth out of the cell with my new core team and leave the bulk of the people to my original core team. One of the most important things that I have learned over the last fifteen years is that I can birth out of a cell with a small core team much easier if we are meeting in a host home other than mine. If we are meeting in my home it is much harder to birth because it requires sending people out from my home. It’s not impossible but seems to take longer and is much harder to do.
Growing teams and multiplying teams has proven to be much more effective in the long run. What is your favorite way to multiply a cell?