by Joel Comiskey
Allow me to give an update on the ninth annual JCG board meeting and third annual special event. Both were held last week in Dallas. On Thursday, each board member (Mario Vega, Jeff Tunnell, Rob Campbell, and Celyce Comiskey) shared trials and victories of the past year–both personally and ministerially. On Friday, we spent a lot of time dreaming about the JCG event for 2012 and how to resource the worldwide cell church movement.
Special praise: Last year we set the goal of 100 registered guests for the 2011 JCG event (even though we only had 14 people register for the 2010 JCG event). While we were in the board meeting on Friday, eight new people registered, which made 100 exactly! God is faithful. During the event on Saturday, Mario Vega and I rotated the speaking load. Jeff Tunnell did an incredible job of organizing the entire event. Celyce and Rob Campbell played vital roles as well. We felt the event exceeded our expectations.
Next year’s event will also be in Dallas on Saturday, February 25, 2012. Those speaking English will meet in one part of the building and Spanish speakers in another. Mario Vega and I will rotate the speaking among both language groups and the JCG team will help out with the English group.
This week, we will be blogging about cell church planting models–those who are doing a great job of it. One exciting cell church planting ministry is Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. Jimmy Seibert, the founding pastor of ACC, was radically transformed at the age of seventeen. He started small groups on the Baylor University Campus that eventually grew to 600 students on four campuses. He and some of the students wrote a book called Reaching College Students through Cells. In 1999 Jimmy started ACC.
ACC has sent thirty-eight church planting teams to twenty-four nations all over the world and have a missionary support staff from their own church of 450. ACC has never been content to grow one church larger and larger. Yet as the mother church gives itself away, it keeps growing (135 life groups and 2500 in worship attendance). Like the New Testament church, God has called them to become a church planting movement. Jimmy once told me that churches need to offer their people a practical missionary vision to reach the world. As a college pastor, he noticed that parachurch organizations were often more mission focused than the church. “God’s plan is for the church to offer a world vision. Young people long to give themselves to a world-changing vision,” Jimmy said.
ACC breathes the principle of multiplication—in their groups, leaders, churches, and missionaries. Each year ACC offers either a missions conference or a church planting conference on a rotating basis.
Antioch believes and teaches the need for brokenness and the filling of the Holy Spirit which result in radical obedience. This church emphasizes very plain, clear biblical concepts. I pressed Jimmy about what model he was following and he kept on coming back to their desire to follow biblical principles. “The church at large doesn’t do the simple, biblical things well so we get caught up in following models,” he told me. The home life group is the basis for church planting at Antioch, just like it was in the New Testament period.
What are some of the other fruitful cell church planting models? Please share.