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Making Disciples through the Cell System
By Joel Comiskey
The New Testament house churches were linked together. They were not independent entities. In chapter 8 of my new book, Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Church, I talk about how those house churches connected together. In a connected system, the early church was able to more effectively make disciples who make disciples.
The cell church loosely follows this pattern by emphasizing three major systems:
The larger celebration service is a time to minister to the leaders and members. Preaching focuses on expounding God’s inerrant Word to make sure the leaders and members are well grounded in biblical truth. Then the teaching and preaching is reinforced in the house church setting through lessons that correlate with the preaching. Making sure everyone is in a cell group will help people to attend not as spectators and spiritual consumers but as worshippers and participants. Announcements should focus on how the church is reaching people through the family house church strategy and to give members a vision about what the church is doing to reach new areas through house-to-house ministry. Vision casting in these celebration meetings should be geared around existing cells and envisioning new groups. If there are visitors in the larger gatherings, try to connect them to cell members who will welcome them into a new family.
Cell churches have a step by step process to take a person from conversion to spiritual maturity. The training track is intimately linked with cell ministry and furthers the process of cell multiplication.
Synonyms for the word “track” include path, route, channel, and road. An equipping or training track takes the new believer from point A to point B. The training is specific, and the end result produces disciples who make other disciples through new cell groups. Cell church training tracks feature clarity and “doability.” They have a definite beginning and ending and a new person entering the church can readily understand what it takes to go from A to B.
One of the key differences between groups that start and fizzle and those that make it over the long haul can be summed up in one word: coaching. Most churches can successfully start groups—even hundreds of them. People will even readily offer their homes—for a few weeks. To make it over time, however, the small-group leaders must have a high-quality support system, much like the supply line that channels food and other materials to battle-weary soldiers. The cell-driven strategy succeeds or fails on the quality of the coaching given to the cell leaders.
As you look at celebration, coaching, and training, in what area are you the strongest? Weakest?
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