JCG Gathering in Dallas, TX

JCG Gathering in Dallas, TX
Spend time with Joel Comiskey, Mario Vega, and JCG team
Will you attend? Let us know or sign up now.

We are dedicating Saturday, February 26, 2011 (Spanish) for both pastors and leaders. Type in  the discount code MEMBER when registering, and you will only pay $79.00.  This gathering is more than a seminar. You will receive coaching, interaction with the JCG team, and pertinent information that will take you to the next level in your cell journey (more information here).The event will be held at the Dallas MCM Elegante Hotel with a special rate of $70.00 per night. The hotel is near  the DFW airport and Love Field (Southwest) and the $70.00 price includes free shuttle, breakfast, etc..

If you any questions, please email Jeff Tunnell at  jeffryatunnell@verizon.net or call him at  909.856.6260 (you may also call the JCG number at 888.344.2355).

Conferencia de JCG en Dallas, TX
Pasa tiempo con Joel Comiskey, Mario Vega, y equipo
Vas a asistir? Dejenos saber o Regí­strase ahora.

Vamos a dedicar el  Sábado, el 26 de Febrero de 2011 para los pastores y líderes que hablan en Español. Mario Vega, Joel Comiskey, y el equipo de JCG van a estar presentes en Dallas, Texas para dictar un seminario, consultar, dar material gratuito, etc. No pierdes este evento! Escribe el código MEMBER cuando estás registrando y va a costar solo  $79.00. Este evento es más que un seminario. Pasa tiempo personal con Joel Comiskey y Mario Vega. Vas a recibir enseñanza sobre la visión celular y asesoramiento para tomar con éxito el próximo paso en tu jornada.Vamos a realizar este evento en Dallas MCM Elegante Hotel con el discuento especial de solo  $70.00 por noche.Este hotel está cerca de DFW aeropuerto y Love Field (Southwest) y el precio de $70.00 incluye shuttle, desayuno, internet, etc..

Si hay preguntas, puedes mandar un email a Jeff Tunnell,  jeffryatunnell@verizon.net, o Celyce Comiskey, celycecomiskey@msn.com (habla perfectamente en español) . O puedes llamar   909.856.6260 (Jeff Tunnell) o  888.344.2355 (JCG teléfono).

PLANNING to Evangelism through Cell Ministry

ken by Ken Brown

[I, Joel Comiskey, have been coaching Ken Brown for about 1.5 years. Ken is the lead pastor of a cell church in Dover, Delaware, and as you can see below, Ken has a fervent passion to evangelize through cell ministry. I asked Ken to share his excitement about holding a cell planning meeting to better complete the great commission]

A passion for winning people to Christ is the single most important factor for growth and multiplication of cell groups. Methods, strategies, and techniques all pale in comparison to members with a God-given and God-directed passion for evangelism. After all, it was this passion that drove the ministry of Jesus from Cana to Calvary. It is the ultimate expression of Calvary love poured through the heart and life of a cell member. It comes from the Holy Spirit who is called the Spirit of Christ in Roman 8, and I believe this God-granted passion resides in every Spirit filled believer.

I, like you, long to see the cells become a hotbed of evangelistic activity that will infuse our cell system with zealous new believers, growing and developing until they take their place in ministry for the Kingdom. So, after finishing Joel’s book, “Passion and Persistence” I asked myself, ” What can I do to create an atmosphere in my cell where this Spirit-born drive can be expressed by all of the members?”

As I reviewed what I had read, I realized that Elim’s requirement of a second cell meeting per week was a great way to prioritize evangelism in the busy lives of my cell members. So, in our next Sunday evening cell meeting I asked those who were willing to meet with me briefly on Thursday evening to plan the next cell meeting. We divided the four parts of the cell among those present, encouraged each other to complete the training track, and most importantly, decided who we were going to invite to the cell from among our unsaved friends and family. The scheduling of this meeting of my core became a filter that allowed those really interested in winning others to express it by attending.

Will it work? Will this be the key that unlocks the potential in my cell members? There are no guarantees, but coupled with my determination to never let another meeting pass without giving the gospel in some form, I have high hopes. And the following cell meeting was attended by two who had not met Jesus and who, although they did not respond, at least heard the good news. Does this idea intrigue you as it did me?

Ken Brown

[This will be the last blog on JCG until January 10, 2011. Merry Christmas and happy new year!]

Christmas as a Harvest Event

by Steve Cordle

Holidays like Christmas present excellent evangelism opportunities.

At Christmas, Americans are more open to an invitation to worship than at any other time of the year. So in the weeks preceding Christmas we encourage our groups to take some time in their meetings to name and pray for those they want to invite to worship on Christmas Eve. We provide invitation cards they can leave with their friends, and plan the service to make sense to preChristians.

Then group members can follow up with their friends who attended Christmas Eve, and invite them to group. In January we will have an emphasis on getting into a group for the new year, and I will preach on the value of being in a group.

In this way we can leverage the holiday time to reach out both in celebration and cell.



Love Your Community First

By Michael Sove & Lead Pastor, William Warren

We have had an amazing two months and God continues to bless our church as we love our community first.  A few months back our Lead Pastor, Bill Warren, received from a church consultant some directives to help us break the 500 barrier.  One of the directives was as follows:

You are going to have to focus more on the needs of the community than the needs of the church…love your community more.  How heartbroken are you over the condition of your community?

He journeyed to the Mayor’s office with this question: “What geographical area of Salisbury needs salt and light?”  Without blinking an eye, the Mayor’s representative said, “Princeton Avenue.”  We planned an evangelistic block party for that area.  City officials were delighted with our plans and offered great assistance.

On Saturday, October 16, we went door-to-door in that area distributing flyers in English and Spanish that invited the residents to the block party. We also gave every home a Chick-fil-A coupon as a sign of God’s love for them.  Firefighters accompanied some of our teams and offered to check the smoke detectors in the homes of the residents, giving smoke detectors to those who had none and new batteries for those who needed them.

On Saturday, October 23, we threw our evangelistic block party from noon to 4:00 p.m.  Approximately 500 people attended.  We passed out countless quantities of hot dogs, snow cones, soft drinks, and popcorn.  The kids enjoyed a wide variety of games.  Everyone enjoyed the musical talents of our worship team.  We distributed many copies of the New Testament, evangelistic tracts, copies of the “Jesus” film, and invitations to our special worship service (Double Day) on October 31.  We also shared our faith in Christ; three persons prayed to receive Christ.  A few weeks later we called the people who registered for the door prizes and asked if we could bring Thanksgiving dinner to them.  Forty-one families agreed to receive the food.

On Sunday, October 31st, we invited the community to our celebration services.  Internally we called this “Double Day.” Pastor Bill characterized Double Day as “Friend Day on steroids.”  The goal of D-2 is to double the number of first-time guests.  All year we averaged 5.5 first time guests each week so on this day we were hoping for 11.  This doesn’t sound like much of a goal but it is harder than you think.  We did three things as we prepared for this day.  We selected a four part message series designed for our guests called “Peace of Mind at Last,” distributed well designed invitation cards and advertised with television, radio, billboards and yard signs.

The results were awesome. On October 31, our first-time guests totaled…51! The total number of registered guests (those we received info on for the first time) was 83.  Our attendance was up 100 over our average.  Two persons asked Christ to be the Forgiver of their sins and the Leader of their life!  Our celebration attendance has not backed off and now we are distributing Christmas gifts to over 200 individuals from the original effort to love our community.

Next year we plan to hold two “Double Days” but we will precede those efforts with continued penetration into the community as we learn to “Love our Community First.”

Please keep me in prayer during January as I take two teams to India.  I will return to blogging in February.  I truly enjoy sharing my experiences with you.  God bless you and may He advance His kingdom through you in 2011.



Cell Ministry and the Ministry of the Evangelist

by Mario Vega

As I wrote on a previous occasion, it is important to connect the work of the cells with the celebration. Cells are an excellent environment for the presentation of the Gospel to the guests, but a good part of those guests will end up believing during the celebration. For this reason, our celebrations on Sundays are essentially evangelistic. Sunday is considered the day to reap the fruit of what has been sown for weeks in the cells.

Both cell work and the celebrations are connected for the salvation of the lost in a consistent way. This is not an effort made occasionally, but cotinually. A cycle is established between cells and celebration that is repeated week after week.

This does not mean that we don’t appreciate the work of the evangelist. Evangelists have the gift of attracting large numbers of people to the faith. It is sometimes thought that the evangelizing potential of a cell church is so great that the evangelist is no longer needed.

We at Elim believe the opposite. We view cell work and the ministry of the evangelist as complementary. The church is never better prepared to retain the results of the ministry of an evangelist than when it is a cell church. The cell model allows the church to do follow up and give assistance to dozens or hundreds of people who believe in the Lord.

So, even though the evangelizing cycle is repeated every week, we do not despise but rather appreciate and take advantage of the visit of true evangelists for the benefit of those who still do not know the Savior



Translation into Spanish:

Las células y el ministerio del evangelista.

Como lo escribí en una ocasión anterior, es importante conectar el trabajo de las células con la celebración. Las células son el ambiente propicio para presentar el evangelio a los invitados; pero, una buena parte de esos invitados terminarán creyendo en la celebración. Por ese motivo, nuestras celebraciones de los días domingos son eminentemente evangelizadoras. El domingo se considera que es el día para recoger el fruto de lo que por semanas se ha sembrado en las células.

Tanto el trabajo celular como las celebraciones, se conectan así para la salvación de los perdidos de manera periódica. Este no es un esfuerzo que se haga ocasionalmente sino el trabajo de todas las semanas. Se establece así un ciclo entre células y celebración que se repite semana tras semana.

Esto, no significa que se desprecien las oportunidades para recoger la cosecha que se presentan eventualmente. Por ejemplo, apreciamos mucho el ministerio de los evangelistas. Éstos tienen el don de atraer grandes cantidades de personas a la fe. A veces se ha pensado que el potencial evangelizador de una iglesia celular es tan grande que puede volver innecesario al evangelista.

Por nuestra parte, creemos todo lo contrario. Vemos que el trabajo celular y el ministerio del evangelista son complementarios. Nunca está mejor preparada una iglesia para retener los resultados del ministerio de un evangelista que cuando es una iglesia celular. El modelo permite que la iglesia pueda dar seguimiento y atención a docenas o centenares de personas que crean en el Señor.

Así, aunque el ciclo evangelizador se repite cada semana, no despreciamos sino mas bien apreciamos y aprovechamos la visita de los verdaderos evangelistas para beneficio de aquellos que aun no conocen al salvador.

Harvest on Holidays and More

by Jeff Tunnell

Merry Christmas blog readers!  While celebrating the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, we should naturally want to share this good news!  Harvest events capitalize on widely known and regularly celebrated holidays, community events & needs, school schedules and even local disasters to evangelize.

Cell groups should think strategically, pray, and then organize to step into an event with a meaningful action that presents Christ in a corporate, attractive method.  Outreach can be performed to a particular group and need (such as disaster relief or feeding the poor & homeless) or be more broad and sweeping (like a booth offering prayer at a local street fair).  Harvest events can be as focused as taking care of one family’s need (meals during an illness or traumatic time) or more widespread (offering a weekend seminar for single parents, financial training, marriage & family).

Taking part of the cell meeting time to think strategically does not detract from the importance of worship of Christ, but in fact lends to our view.  Leaders should keep the cell involved in outreach and evangelism during the “witness” or “works” section of the 4 Ws.  The Christian worldview dictates that evangelism and sharing our faith is a constant as we dwell in a world order of chaos and change.

Cell and Celebration Outreach

JOEL I mentioned in my last blog and newsletter that a key strength of the cell chruch is the use of both wings to reach out. Last week, each JCG blogger explored that connection. We mentioned how that cells reach out as every member uses his or her evangelistic muscles to befriend unbelievers. On the other hand, top leadership can plan celebration events to further reap the harvest.

Christmas, Easter and other holidays are important times for harvest events. Cells and celebration are intimately linked to reap the harvest and then to disciple those who choose to follow Jesus.

In Ecuador, we held four to six evangelistic campaigns during the year. Both the mother and daughter churches where I served were part of a larger CMA movement called “Encounter.” One of the key Encounter characteristics was to hold regular evangelistic campaign to reach out.

Many cell churches have found that a regular “Friend’s Day” is the most effective (perhaps once per quarter). “Friends Day” is a time when the cells proactively invite their oikos to the celebration service. The person who is preaching focuses the message on newcomers.

WillowCreek popularized the seeker sensitive service every Sunday, but I’ve found it more effective to target certain days to focus on the fruit of cell outreach, while highlighting expository verse by verse preaching the rest of the year during the celebration serice.

What type of harvest event has worked best for you?

p.s.: this week will conclude our blog for 2010. We are taking three weeks off blogging for the holidays and will start again on January 10, 2011. Thanks for all your contributions!

Joel and JCG team

Connect through Sermon-based Group Material

STEVEby Steve Cordle

Michael Sove’s list of ways to connect the cell to celebration was outstanding and comprehensive. (If you didn’t see it yet, be sure to check it out)

One other way to connect cell and celebration is to make the weekend sermon the basis for the group curriculum.

Each week we distribute (via email and paper copies available at the worship services) a group guide that includes the “5 W’s” of welcome, worship, witness, word and works. The “Word” section consists of questions based on the text and content of the sermon. There are two major benefits to this approach.

1. The cell and celebration are clearly connected. In our experience, it is not hard for those who did not attend the worship service to participate meaningfully in the group discussion. (We always read the text in group and write the questions to assure that) At the same time, it provides a subtle nudge to get involved in the celebration component of the church.

2. The group material emphasizes application of the sermon’s main points, which promotes true life-change and a culture of acting on the Word.

In case you are wondering, for years I wrote the group guide myself. It didn’t take long, since I had just written the sermon the and it created an opportunity to use some material which couldn’t fit in the sermon. Today I send my sermon to a staff person who writes the group guide.



It’s a Two Way Street

By Michael Sove

Celebration and cells are the two wings that the cell church uses to soar as God intended it to soar.  I like the quote by J.I. Packer who writes:  “. . . I go around telling people that if they’re not with the whole congregation on Sunday, and in the small group somewhere during the week, their Christian lives are unbalanced.”

Because both the celebration and cell work together and are equally important we do all we can to make connection between the two.  Everything you do at celebration should support the cell and everything you do at cell should support the celebration.  People will flow in both directions as well.  Some will come to cell and then flow toward celebration and others will come to celebration and flow toward cell.  “It’s a two way street.”

Here are some of the ways we connect cell to celebration:

  • Cell Spots – We will often use video testimonies from people in our life groups during our celebration services.  We want people to see that lives are being changed and exciting things are happening in our Life Groups.
  • Cell Group Tags – Everyone who is in a cell wears a tag, which says “Ask me about Neighborhood Life.”  We have three services and we want people to be able to see potential people to connect with before and after services who are not in a cell.
  • Invitation Before Final Prayer – Before I close the service in prayer I invite people to our cells by drawing attention to the tag I’m wearing and invite them to connect to one of our cells by finding someone with a tag or coming out to our cell booth for further information.
  • Cell Booth or Rack on Wall – We have a rack on the wall, which is very visible as you move toward the worship center that holds cards for all our cell groups.  These have the basic meeting information as well as a photo of the cell leaders.  This is also the place where cell agendas and other information related to cells can be picked up.
  • “Meeters” – We work real hard at connecting new guests to cell members.  We have found that face to face contact is really important in trying to connect people to cells.  If they just pick up a list or receive a phone call from a stranger they are less likely to go to cell quickly.  So after our staff meeting on Tuesday we contact cell “meeters” who will be available after a service to meet new guests from previous weeks we’ve potentially targeted for them.  As cell pastor I play match maker here and it really works.  No guarantee they’ll come to cell but it begins to build a potential relationship.
  • Connection Week – Every month the first Sunday through the following Saturday is called “Connection Week.”  All our cells hold events or throw parties with the intention of inviting unconnected guests as well as unchurched friends.  We are able to use that as another way to invite people to connect.  I have stories of people who first came to a party and later got saved and are now leading cells.  This monthly “Connection Week” is a big momentum builder.  Before you ask, our cells meet three weeks for normal cell gatherings and one week for parties or events.  Usually the parties or events are held on the weekend and not the normal cell night as guests are more likely to come to a weekend event. 
  • Sermon Illustrations – If you are the one preaching on Sunday do all you can whenever you can to talk cell values and illustrate from your cell experiences.  You have the chance every week to make a connection between your message topic and some aspect of cell life.
  • Invite Cards – Not only do we have good information in a very visible spot for people to pick up in relation to interest in cell groups and also attempt to match potential people, but all cell leaders have invite cards (business cards) that they pass out to their cell members so that their cell members can give invites both in the celebration and outside the building.
  • Music & Message Application– This doesn’t have to do with people but it is a powerful way to connect celebration and cell.  We have provided acoustic versions of our celebration music to all our cell groups.  This works both ways to enhance worship.  The songs that people are familiar with during worship are now recognized in cell and helps with cell worship.   Then when they come to celebration they are very familiar with the songs and are able to enter into worship.  Obviously if you can apply in cell what you are hearing on Sunday, this goes a long way in connecting these two aspects.  We don’t always apply the Sunday messages but in certain series we do and it enhances connection between what is happening in celebration and cell. 

These are just a few of the ways to make a connection between the two wings of the church.  Do whatever you can to support the cell while at celebration services and whatever you can at celebration services to support cells.  “It’s a two way street.”

What other ideas do you have and what have you tried to connect the two?


Intimate Connection between Cell and Celebration

by Mario Vega

In our experience, the connection between cell and celebration is very strong. We build this connection based on the following elements:

1. Evangelism. The cells have a fundamentally evangelizing character. That evangelization will not be complete until people attend church’s celebration, are baptized in water and start a service function in the celebration.

2. The invitations that are made through radio and television. Through these we insist that the public attend both cell and celebration. Since our cell meetings are held on Saturday, it is easy to concentrate the invitation to each particular day and event.

3. The transportation to the church. Each supervisor organizes with the cell’s core to rent a bus. The purpose is to provide transportation to those who wish to attend the celebration. In that way, the mobilization is facilitated and the attendance to the celebration is strengthened.

4. The cell’s key role. The cell is presented as an extension of the church. At the end of each cell, announcements are made that include information about the church, its service schedule, place, date and time to board the bus, etc.

5. Celebration and cell play a role in mentoring new Christians.

The cells are not entities divorced from the celebration. Nor are they seeking to discourage people to attend the celebration by offering an alternative closer to their domicile. On the contrary, the cells are arms that extend the power of the church’s attraction toward its celebrations.



Translation in Spanish:

Celebración y células en Elim.

En nuestra experiencia, la conexión entre la célula y la celebración es muy fuerte. Esta conexión la construimos en base a los siguientes elementos:

1. El concepto que todo líder maneja. Las células tienen un carácter fundamentalmente evangelizador. Esa evangelización no estará completa hasta que las personas asistan a la iglesia, se bauticen en agua y comiencen alguna función de servicio en la celebración.

2. Las invitaciones que se hacen a través de radio y televisión. En ellas se insiste ante el gran público para que asistan tanto a las células como a las celebraciones. Ya que nuestras reuniones de células se realizan en día sábado, es fácil concentrar la invitación en ese día particular.

3. El transporte hacia la iglesia. Cada supervisor organiza con el núcleo de las células la renta de un autobús. El propósito es el de ofrecer transporte gratuito a las personas que deseen asistir a la celebración. De esa manera se facilita el traslado y se fortalece la asistencia a las reuniones de celebración.

4. El enfoque del programa de la célula. En el se presenta a la célula como una extensión de la iglesia. Se señala la pertenencia a Elim. Al final, los anuncios también incluyen información sobre la iglesia, sus horarios de servicio, lugar, día y hora para abordar el autobús que les conducirá a la celebración.

5. También es parte del mentoreo de los nuevos cristianos el animarles y acompañarles para que se conecten y asistan a la celebración.

Las células no son entidades divorciadas de la celebración. Tampoco tienen como propósito sustituir a la celebración. Tampoco buscan desalentar a las personas para que asistan a la celebración ofreciéndoles una alternativa más cercana a su domicilio. Por el contrario, las células son brazos que prolongan el poder de atracción de la iglesia hacia sus celebraciones.