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Don't Try to Save Time by Calling Everything a Cell

by Joel Comiskey

In order to save time in our busy society, many churches decide to broaden their definition of a cell. Some churches talk about having a huge number of small groups but in actuality they are referring to small groups of ushers, deacons, worship teams, prison ministries, and also their normal small groups or cell groups. They basically label their ministry and programs as "small groups." Often the reason for this great variety is to help busy people get involved in a "small group." So while the motivation might be good, the result is a weakened cell system that results in a lack of true discipleship.

Remember that we never get more quality by asking for less quality. Diminishing the quality of the cell will eventually cause the entire cell church strategy to crumble and eventually disintegrate. My counsel is to never cheapen the definition of a cell. It’s the base of the church and the place where discipleship takes place. Each part of a healthy definition must contribute to the truth that the cell is the church. I define a cell as a group of three to fifteen people who meet weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and spiritual growth with the goal of making disciples who make disciples, which results multiplication..

You might adjust my definition, but I think it’s important to maintain the basic core components, while giving liberty with regard to where cells will meet, the lesson they will follow, their homogeneity, level of participation, and what they call themselves. However, since the cell is the church, it is essential that cells maintain a high level of quality. Defining a cell with a quality definition will help ensure (not guarantee) that the members become disciples who make disciples.

Further reading on this topic:How to Lead a Great Cell Groupfor more information about the definition of a cell.Cell Church Solutions: Transforming the Church in North America also sets forth the meaning of cell life. OrderHERE or call 1-888-344-CELL.