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Overcoming Denominational Obstacles
By Joel Comiskey
We know that many denominational churches have become exemplary cell churches. Yet, to reach that point, they had to overcome certain denominational obstacles. Positively, they succeeded in key areas:
- Lazer-like focus: Denominations have their own agenda. They promote programs and ministries that appeal to the majority of their pastors. During the district conferences, these programs are promoted, and everyone is encouraged to sign-up, attend the seminar, buy the material, and get involved. Usually, these programs and ministries are excellent in and of themselves. However, effective cell church pastors already have a particular focus. They have adopted a razor-like focus on cell and celebration and beyond cell-celebraiton, they want to make sure their members have time to develop oikos relationships, complete the training track, and receive coaching. Fruitful cell church pastors have learned to concentrate on this “one thing.” They have learned to say no to additional programs that will clutter the precious time commitments of their members, knowing that the good is often the enemy of the best. Questions: How focused are you? Have you learned to concentrate on the cell church vision?
- Integration: In Ecuador we transitioned a Christian and Missionary Alliance Church to the cell focus. The CMA asks churches to elect board members through a general assembly each year. We integrated the cell focus by only allowing cell leaders to be placed on the ballot. As we grew as a cell church, we eventually only allowed coaches to become board members (leaders of leaders). Steve Cordle mentioned last Wednesday about how he integrated cell training into Sunday School, cell fruitfulness into leadership requirements, and cell attendance into church membership. What are you doing to integrate cell church principles in your church?
- Networking with other cell churches: Cell church pastors are team players and relational disciples, so they interact well with those within their denomination. However, they also feel the need to network with cell church pastors within and outside their denomination. They are proactive to find and maintain strong relationships with cell pastors with whom they can find mutual encouragement. Perhaps this means visiting a U.S. or worldwide cell church, going to a cell seminar and then staying in contact with the host church, and receiving resources about cell church (e.g., blogs like this one). Remember that cell church contacts won’t just drop down from the sky. You will need to search for them. What are you doing to network with other cell churches?
- Finding a cell coach: Coaches can help cell church pastors keep on course and not give up. Coaches have perspective and insight at another level. Some pastors informally ask another cell church pastor for mentorship and accountability. Others ask for formal coaching, like we offer at JCG. Whether formal or informal, it’s wise to have a coach. Who is coaching you in cell church ministry?
You can become a fruitful cell church pastor within your denomination, but you will need to focus, integrate, network, and receive coaching.