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Theological Foundations for Cell Church Ministry

By Joel Comiskey

Winter 2009

Why cell church? Why do we believe in it? Is it because David Cho's church, the largest church in the history of Christianity, is a cell church? Is it because someone said the number twelve will bring blessings and growth? Is it because cell church is the strategy that many "great" churches are using?

The problem with the above reasons is that they don't give long-term foundational strength. God has been showing me lately that theology must guide our strategies-and not the other way around. So what are the core theological reasons for doing cell church? Allow me to share three important ones:

1. The Trinity

Our God is a social God! He lives in relationship with the other members of the Trinity. God is not an independent, lone ranger. Individualism might be the cultural norm in the western world, but God loves community and unity (think of all the one-anothers in the Bible). One of the key values of cell church is that people need to live in community rather than hide in anonymity. The intimacy of a cell group encourages people to know and be known.

The Trinity is also an outreaching God. Evangelism flows from His very heart. God's will is to reach lost people through His Son, Jesus, and the church is His instrument to make it happen. The cell church encourages each member to reach out through relational evangelism. Cells expect all members to develop relationships with non-Christians because such activity reflects the heart of God.

2. Priesthood of all believers

It's quite easy for people to sit in church. Some churches grow large through filling pews. Yet, Scripture teaches that all believers are priests. Cells value the participation of every believer.

Part of the priesthood of all believers is the use of spiritual gifts. My books, The Spirit-filled Small Group and Discover, talk about how cells are the best atmosphere for spiritual gift use. In fact, all of the New Testament gift passages were written to house churches. Cell churches are rediscovering this important truth.

3. Making disciples

Christ's last command to His disciples was to make disciples of all nations. I believe the essence of cell ministry is making disciples who make disciples. Cells are leader breeders and the best place to prepare disciple-makers. Multiplication is at the heart of cell ministry because new cells provide the environment for making new disciples.

I often highlight large, growing cell churches or church planting movements. But such examples shouldn't be the main reasons for doing cell church. The best reason is because cell church promotes key theological concepts and brings glory to the living God.

Why do you do cell church? Or, perhaps you'd like to make a general comment or add a theological concept not listed here. If so, please click HERE.