Habits Are Supervisors

coach-tunnellby Jeff Tunnell

“Habits are like supervisors that you don’t notice.”  Hannes Messemer

During the Skins game in 1987 professional golfer, Lee Trevino, hit a 6 iron 167 yards on the 17th for a hole-in-one worth $175,000 USD! (see it here) He commented that the shot “just happened”.  Not quite; I believe he had used the same iron and practiced the stroke more than 1,000 times during the week leading up to the match! He trained his entire body to perform by habit.

 

Dave Earley’s book, The 8 Habits of Effective Small Group Leaders, is a well established part of our training track materials. His capture of the subject is excellent and his dispensing of the information can be transformational.  Dream, Pray, Invite, Contact, Prepare, Mentor, Fellowship & Grow are the listed habits and each one is detailed very well.  These are the habits of a leader who is relationally engaged with his/her cell group BETWEEN meetings. While it is necessary to have great cell meetings, I appreciate the guidance and coaching Dave gives us for the activities that occur during the rest of the week.  This book, along with Joel’s How to Lead a Great Cell Group Meeting, are two essentials for every cell leader.

 

Develop these habits and you will see great improvement in your ministry and fruitfulness. (easier than a hole-in-one!) 

A Return to House to House Ministry

mario

by Mario Vega

At present we have become accustomed to divide our lives between spiritual and secular aspects–a totally unknown division from the teachings of the Scripture.

Within this logic, we build buildings to worship Jesus while we go on to live in our houses. In this way, we set the separation between what we now call the secular and spiritual life. Spiritual life becomes the visits made to the worship center while the secular life is everything else that is done outside that building.

The first century churches were not like that. The church of ACTS owned no personal property. Rather they used houses of Christians. In this way, the church was vitally linked to what was considered the center of life: home.

Returning the church to the houses is an important step to the understanding of the truth that Jesus should be at the center of our lives on a permanent basis. He must be the Lord of our entire lives–not just a few hours per week.

Has working with cells helped you to live out this truth?

Mario

In Spanish:

De regreso a las casas.

En la actualidad nos hemos acostumbrado a dividir nuestra vida entre aspectos espirituales y seculares. Una división totalmente ajena a las enseñanzas de las Escrituras.

Dentro de esa lógica, construimos edificios de culto para Jesús en tanto que nos vamos a vivir a nuestras casas. De esa manera establecemos la separación entre lo que ahora llamamos la vida espiritual y la secular. La vida espiritual son las visitas que se hacen al edificio de culto en tanto que la vida secular es todo lo demás que se hace fuera de ese edificio.

En la iglesia de los primeros siglos no era así. La iglesia no tenía edificios para el culto sino que utilizaba las casas de los cristianos. Así, la iglesia estaba unida vitalmente con lo que se consideraba el centro de la vida: el hogar.

El regresar la iglesia a las casas es un importante paso en la comprensión de la verdad que Jesús debe estar en el centro de nuestras vidas de manera permanente. No podemos escabullirnos de él ni hacer nada que escape a su incumbencia. Él es el Señor de nuestra vida y no de un par de horas a la semana.

¿Le ha ayudado el trabajar con células a vivir esa verdad?

Did You “Click the Link”?

coaches_jeff-150x1501by Jeff Tunnell

www.bigbearchristiancenter.org

Before we go any farther, did you click on the link in Joel’s post for this week?  Look for “cell church principles” in the fourth paragraph, first sentence.  This link takes us to an article that I have returned to many times over the last few years.  The principles listed are always worth review.  Don’t allow yourself to put principles aside and embrace the “latest and greatest” untried but possibly exciting way of doing things in Cell ministry  Don’t fall victum to “I already know that” and miss the truth of proven patterns of ministry.  Work on the principles and the outcomes will take care of themselves!   Thanks Joel, I needed that!

I’ll keep this short so you can spend the moment finding the link and reveiwing the article.

What do you think?  Are the principles listed there still applicable today?

Ask the Questions

coaches_jeff-150x1501by Jeff Tunnell

www.bigbearchristiancenter.org

Discipleship requires that someone is asking the “hard” questions that relate to the application of the Word of God.  Some would refer to these questions as “Accountability Questions”, and if you Google that phrase you will find the first ten results will all be from Christian sites.  There are a myriad of questions that reflect a basic discipleship process and help you to mentor someone else in following Christ.

For cell leaders, our questions reflect another facet of accountability that is simple and fundamental.  Questions that request an honest response and intial evaluation of how the most recent Bible message that we shared together is being actively pursued for apprehension and lifestyle upgrades, i.e. becoming more Christlike.

This is certainly a great advantage within the cell-based church.  Any pastor would love to know that his message preparation has produced fruit in the lives of hearers.  Mid-week cell meetings bring the message to a strong deveolpment point where someone who knows the other person intimately is able to ask the questions that promote growth and progress.

What are the questions you ask?

Mending the Nets

coaches_jeff-150x150by Jeff Tunnell

www.bigbearchristiancenter.org

Fishing in our town is done with poles, not nets.  This is a resort town with a man made lake, stocked to the fisherman’s delight!  Trout, Bass, Bluegill, Catfish, and a few others are just waiting to be caught.  Even after four decades of living here  I do not fish.

But net fishing for men is quite a different conversation.  In cells, we make “nets” to become fishers of men as a group.  This is the season of mending those nets for the coming year.  Cell activity is a little slower during January due to the recent holiday period.  This gives us a moment to examine the last year’s statistics and evaluate existing momentum.

Are the leaders tired, or excited?  Have there been salvations, baptisms, and regular progress through the training track?  Are new leaders being formed?  Are some nearly prepared for launching?  Would it be good to merge a couple of waning cells?  Is it time to “push” a little on a stalled out leader who is reluctant to multiply?  What is the health level of each leader?

Stepping back and getting a longer view of your work is helpful.  Healthy cells are the nets that we cast into our community to accomplish the work Jesus gave us.  Attention to the continued well being of leaders is so very important.  Where do your nets need mending?

netting2Hebrews 13:20-21    Kataridzo!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

joel Last night, we as a family celebrated our last advent time before Christmas. We read from Luke 2 where the angels felt compelled to share the goodjesus news to the shepherds about an extraordinary babe in the manger. After reading the familiar passage, we went around as a family and answered the questions:

1. How has Christ’s birth transformed the world

2. How has Christ’s birth changed our own lives.

We talked about: 

  • Knowledge: Jesus gave us true knowledge of the Father. He portrayed a loving, caring Father–so different from the impersonal dieties of that time period. Jesus showed us that God is love. In fact, He loved the world so much He came down Himself to die for the sins of the world.
  • Purpose: the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus gives us reason to live. Christ’s birth and death sets us free to live holistic, joyful lives. We are not a freak accident of nature. Rather, God has a perfect plan for each of us, and one day we will live forever with Him in heaven.
  • Dignity: Christ’s birth among the lowly reminds us that God desires to reach all of His creation. While on earth, Jesus demonstrated his love for the oppressed, the impoverished, the sick, and those on the margins of society. Jesus gave new dignity to women. Christ’s birth gives new new confidence and hope.

Christmas is all about Christ, and we at JCG want to wish a very merry Christmas and happy new year.

Becuase of these important holidays, we will not be blogging for the next two weeks. We will continue this blog on January 05. Enjoy time with you families!

Joel Comiskey and the JCG team,

The Invitation to the Cell Meeting

marioby Mario Vega

Once the prayer process has been completed, the first contact has been made, the friendship promoted and a special gesture has been expressed, the person is finally ready to be invited to the cell meeting.

This invitation is not an isolated event but rather the continuation of a constant interest to help a person. In fact, the invitation to the cell meeting represents a more efficient way to help a person.

At the moment you interpenetrate with their problems and concerns, you can invite them to come to a cell meeting where they’ll meet another person who experienced similar problems but has found solutions. New friendships will provide support for the new person’s difficulties.

If this process to “make a new guest” is followed step by step, the person will not hesitate to attend the cell meeting. Once he or she does, we must keep on encouraging this person to continue to do so. The greater the number of times a person hears the gospel the greater the possibilities to be converted.

The road to bring a guest to the cell meeting may seem long, but every time you travel through it, a pattern is created that will soon become a lifestyle. It is the lifestyle of an evangelist.

Do you have the courage to do it?

Mario

Translation:

La invitación a la célula.

Una vez se ha completado el proceso de oración, establecer el primer contacto, fomentar la amistad y expresar detalles especiales, finalmente, la persona está lista para ser invitada a la célula.

Esta invitación no es un hecho aislado sino que es la continuación de un interés constante por ayudar a la persona. De hecho, la invitación a la célula se presenta como una forma de auxiliar más eficientemente a la persona.

Ya compenetrados de sus problemas y preocupaciones, se le ofrece ir a una reunión donde conocerá a otra persona que vivió problemas similares a los suyos y para los cuales encontró la solución. Se le ofrece nuevas amistades que le apoyarán en sus dificultades.

Si este proceso para ‘hacer un invitado’ se sigue paso a paso, la persona no pondrá reparos en asistir a la célula. Una vez lo haga, se le debe continuar animando a que siga haciéndolo. A mayor cantidad de veces una persona escucha la exposición del evangelio mayores posibilidades que llegue a la conversión.

El camino para llevar un invitado a la célula puede parecer largo; pero, cada vez que se transite irá creando una pauta que pronto se convertirá en un estilo de vida. Es el estilo de vida de un evangelizador.

¿Tienes ánimo para hacerlo?

Genius

Jeff Tunnellby Jeff Tunnell

www.bigbearchristiancenter.org

Genius; the ability to make complex things simple. 

Choose from the following list the activity you most regularly begin with in pursuit of your calling: Pray, think, read, sing, work, connect with others, write, avoid, postpone, gather information, just get started with whatever presents itself, delegate, prioritize.

Now, if you picked anything but the first word, PRAY, how are things going for you? Really? Jesus said “abide” or you will be fruitless. Once you abide, keep the outworking “simple”.  This is true genius; dependence upon God FIRST in prayer.  It is so simple that we miss it easily and substitute many activities in the place of “learn of me”.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light – how’s your load?

Do a quick word study on “commit” from Proverbs 16:3 – roll your works into God’s care. The picture is of a camel burdened with a heavy load: when the load is to be removed, the camel kneels down, tilts far to one side and the load rolls off.

Mary or Martha? Luke 10:42! Read it again, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Be a genius today! Keep your cell ministry simple from the start, don’t make it harder than it needs to be.

Prayer

by Rob Campbell

www.cypresscreekchurch.com

This week, one of CCC’s network pastors relayed to me via email a few stories of life change.  I’m talking stories about salvation and redemption.  Nothing like these type of stories to provide wind for our sails, eh?

I’ve realized that each life changing story is hinged to prayer.  This reality encourages me to wrestle through the many hindrances that keep me from praying to a sovereign God.

Let me share a few words from Dom John Chapman (The Tablet, 1985).

“The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much.  If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly.  But the less one prays, the worse it goes.  And if circumstances do not permit even regularity, then one must put up with the fact that when one does try to pray, one can’t pray– and our prayer will probably consist of telling this to God.  As to beginning afresh, or where you left off, I don’t think you have any choice.  You simply have to begin wherever you find yourself.  Make any acts you want to make and feel you ought to make, but do not force yourself into feelings of any kind…Yes, I suspect the only thing to do is to shut out….everything else, and just give yourself to God and beg him to have mercy on you, and offer him all your distractions.”

Henri Nouwen comments on Chapman’s words by writing, “It all boils down to his main point:  We must pray not first of all because if feels goods or helps, but because God loves us and wants our attention.”

Comments?

Rob

Help in Picking the Title for My Book on Community

joelCould you give me your help in picking the title for my next book (October 2009)? This book will be primarily on community (e.g., fellowship, relationships, communityetc.).  As you know this is an important theme in the cell church/small group world.

Yet, there are a lot of books on community, so we decided to focus on how a follower of Jesus needs to be more relational and community oriented. I will establish the problem (isolationism/individualism) and talk about how God uses community relationships to make us more like him. And yes, I will talk about how those leading future groups need to be shaped in community. 

My editor felt it would be best to use the term “disciple” or “discipleship” to broaden the audience (some won’t pick up a book on leadership). However, I’ve received some feedback from those who think I should direct this book toward future leaders (this has been an emphasis in my past books). I’d like to know what you think.

Could you give me your #1 and #2 favorites:

    1. The Relational Disciple: the priority of living in community
    2. The Relational Leader: from Isolationism to Community
    3. Relational Discipleship: how God Uses Community to Shape Followers of Jesus
    4. Relational Leadership: how God Uses Community to Shape Us
    5. Relationships: how God uses Community to Shape Us as Followers of Jesus

    Thanks, 

    Joel