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Youth Cells: It's All About Making Disciples
by Joel Comiskey
Excerpts from Youth in Cell Ministry
When Jesus gave the Great Commission to his disciples, they knew exactly what he meant. After all, Jesus practically demonstrated it. Jesus developed his own group of twelve and shepherded them for three years. In that cell atmosphere, the disciples were molded, shaped, trained, and then sent forth. These same disciples became the key leaders of the early Church.
Not only did Jesus minister with these disciples over the course of three years, but he then sent them into homes to establish house churches that would multiply and infiltrate the surrounding communities (Luke 9 and 10). In other words, house-to-house ministry in small groups was the way Jesus made disciples, and he expected his disciples to do the same. The houses or apartments were very small in the ancient world, and they were excellent meeting places for making disciples.
Small groups are still the best training ground for future disciples. Jose Abaroa, youth minister at Cypress Creek Church, in Wimberley, Texas, challenges his young people to become disciples by leading small groups called community groups on junior high and high school campuses. He expects a lot from his youth, and they have responded by leading and multiplying youth cell groups. The campus junior high cells meet at lunch time for one and one-half hours. The groups are dynamic, fun, and empowering. Those leading the groups grow more than those attending as they are challenged to trust Jesus to use them. Jose confidently believes that his students are capable leaders and can effectively minister to other students, while becoming disciples in the process.
Jose also gathers the youth cells together on Sunday as a congregation. "They need to know we're going to be there for them," he told me. Jose is passionate about cell ministry because he himself was born again and discipled in a Cypress Creek small group meeting on campus at Texas State University in San Marcos. Jesus transformed Jose in the community group, and he wants others to experience Christ in the same way, including the junior high and high schoolers.
Some react negatively to the word disciple but the original meaning simply means pupil or learner. After Christ's resurrection, the word disciple was broadened to include such words as believer, saint, Christian, and brother or sister in Christ. Why? Because after Pentecost, God established the Church, the gathering of believers, to be the main place where discipleship occurred.
Youth cells are an exciting way to make followers of Christ who are molded, shaped, and transformed in the process. We'll discover in this book how churches disciple young people through cell groups and larger youth gatherings. We'll see how churches transition to youth cells, avoid common mistakes in youth ministry, and even plant youth cell churches to make disciples worldwide.