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The Larger Gatherings As One Step in the Discipleship Process

By Joel Comiskey

Summer 2013

by Joel Comiskey

One pastor bought into the cell church philosophy but didn’t change his inward value of church success. The value that success equaled Sunday attendance was deeply ingrained in his psyche.

As I coached him over the months, I found that he naturally spent more time trying to attract people to the Sunday celebration service. He focused on sermon preparation, visiting, and dreaming of a crowd on Sunday. Cell ministry received leftover attention. When I challenged him on this, he acknowledged that he got a high from the Sunday crowd and didn’t get that same excitement from cell ministry.

Fruitful cell church pastors, on the other hand, view ministry differently. They focus on converting the pew sitters into disciples who make other disciples through cell ministry. The larger gathering is important, but it’s only part of the discipling experience. Consider seven priorities in making disciples in the cell church:

  • Discipleship through community in the cell
  • Discipleship through priesthood of all believers in the cell
  • Discipleship through group evangelism in the cell
  • Discipleship multiplication in the cell
  • Discipleship through the larger celebrations services
  • Discipleship through the discipleship equipping path (training track)
  • Discipleship through coaching cell leaders

Notice that the larger gathering is just one aspect of making disciples through the cell church. However, many pastors have the tendency to drift back into focusing most of their attention on the larger gatherings. Why? Often it’s because their sermons take a lot of time to prepare and their salaries come from the offerings taken in the celebration services. To help pastors refocus on the cell and cell system, I think it’s a great idea if pastors can develop a preaching team to help them carry the load and to take offerings in the cell groups (this is common in the majority of cell churches around the world). The cell infrastructure is critical in developing new disciples and this is why I’ve coined the phrase “the cell-driven church” to help pastors and leaders refocus their attention all aspects of cell ministry.

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Joel

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