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The Foundational Place of Family Cells

by Joel Comiskey

Spring 2012

About seven years ago, I noticed a trend sweeping through the cell church world that deemphasized intergenerational/ family cells while promoting only gender specific cells (e.g., men, women, youth, children).

The source of this trend came from the International Charismatic Mission in Bogota, Colombia, which asked all of its associated churches to adopt (not adapt) its entire homogenous model. Thus, churches had to organize into four homogeneous categories; men, women, youth, or children. I began to hear of the marvels of gender specific cell groups from those churches who were a part of ICM.

I do believe gender specific cells have their place in the cell church. David Cho's church (Yoido Full Gospel Church) has approximately 25,000 cells, of which 70% are women's cells.Ralph Neighbour has often talked about starting family cells (i.e., intergenerational cells) that would eventually spawn off male and female gender specific cells.I personally believe that men's cells are great. I just started one, in fact. Women's cells are also marvelous. My wife leads on. The danger is rigidly promoting only one type and then saying it's the secret to success. What about the family?

Dividing strictly into men's groups or women's groups, while deleting intergenerational family cells is not a good idea. The family in many cultures around the world is rapidly deteriorating. The great need today is for couples to learn how to work together as a team. Husbands and wives are already separated enough. Should we add to this?

Family cells help the couple to learn together. I like the example of the Elim church in San Salvador. Their cells are primarily family oriented. Elim understands that the key to their amazing success is hard work, planning, evangelism, and prayer, rather than homogeneity. They major on the main things and grow stronger as a result.

I believe that healthy cell ministry will emphasize intergenerational cell groups, while allowing for gender specific cells to flow naturally as groups multiply. What do you think?