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Ministering to One Another in Cell Groups
Last month I, Joel Comiskey, attended the Group Life Conference in Pomona, California, hosted by Mosaic Pomona where Nathan Neighbour is the lead pastor. During one of the workshops, Abba Love, a church in Chino Hills, California, held an actual cell group to demonstrate what they do in their cells. Christian Leo, son of Eddy Leo, lead pastor of Abba Love in Jakarta, started by saying, "We are here to encourage each other. God is going to use each of you to bless others." As worship played in the background, Michael Obajda, lead pastor of Abba Love, showed us how to teach and admonish one another through psalms and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16). Then the team demonstrated transparency and how to strengthen, encourage, and comfort one another through New Testament prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:3). Jesus showed up and touched people deeply. All of us participated, prayed for each other, and went away encouraged.
What we experienced in the workshop was close to what happened in the early house churches. We don't see a rigid agenda. Rather, the meetings were a time to minister to one another and meet needs. The writer of Hebrews tells the house church members to "consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:23-25). The members enjoyed each other's presence, laughed together, and experienced rich fellowship. Robert Banks writes, "We find no suggestion that these meetings were conducted with the kind of solemnity and formality that surrounds most weekly Christian gatherings today" (The Church Comes Home, p. 36). Paul placed a high emphasis on participation because each person had a contribution to make. Paul assumed that they would energetically minister to each other. His concern was that "Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Corinthians 14:40).
I invited Mark Speeter, pastor and founder of Antioch Community Church Fullerton, to the conference in Pomona. My daughters attend his church, and they often share about the dynamic ministry that takes place in the Antioch life groups. Mark explained, "Often college students are hesitant to open up in a life group, but when God uses someone else to speak into their lives, they go away excited and want to come back." My 22-year old daughter Nicole started a high school cell at Antioch Fullerton. She describes her experience:
Each youth that walked through the door at the life group was in tears during worship as we prayed over them, spoke prophetic words over their lives, and listened to their hearts. One student's head was healed, another girl decided to give her life to the Lord fully for the first time, and all were deeply touched by Jesus. At the end of the night, one of the students began weeping and declaring that, "Surely, this was the start of a youth movement!" The weeks that followed were just as supernatural as the students began to minister to each other. We walked away each week more amazed at the beauty and power of God.
Ralph Neighbour also spoke at the Group Life conference and he talked about ministering to the needs of the members through New Testament prophesy, like what happened in 1 Corinthians 14: 24-25 where the house church members prophesied to each other, and the unbelievers were so touched they fell down and worshipped saying, "God is really among you!"
Here are a few questions: Are you encouraging your cell members to hear God's voice and minister to others in the group? Is your group dry and boring or exciting and dynamic? Somewhere in between? During the month of November, experienced pastors and leaders will write twenty blogs on the topic of ministering to one another in the cell group. We will cover:
- November 06-12: Ministering to one another. General concept of ministering to one another in the cell group with a special emphasis on what the Bible says about this.
- November 13-19: Flexibility in ministry. It's all about building each other up. The goal is to encourage one another, not to fulfill the four Ws or any other order. Edification is the essence of cell ministry.
- November 20-26: New Testament prophecy. New Testament prophesy according to 1 Corinthians 14:3 involves strengthening, encouraging and comforting. We do this by giving people a chance to minister to each other through prayer and ministry.
- November 27-December 03: Practical tips. This doesn't mean that we abandon the order or the leader doesn't need to prepare. It does mean that the focus is on those who are present.
Share your experience in ministering to one another in cell groups here.
2017 JCG Event in Reseda, California
- We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 25, 2017. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Sign up now for $39.00 ($59.00 at door).
2017 JCG Event in Falls Church, Virginia
- We will be holding our second JCG conference in Virgina/Washington D.C. area at the Elim Church Virginia area on September 02, 2017. You can register here.
JCG offers coaching
- Do you need help with your cell ministry? Perhaps you are making a transition to cell ministry and would like a coach to help you in the process. Or maybe you're planing a new cell church. For more information on receiving coaching, please email us or call 1-888-511-9995.
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Joel Comiskey's new book, Children in Cell Ministry, can now be purchased here.
27 videos on cell church from Joel Comiskey
- There are 27 videos on all aspects of cell church (with downloadable resources) on Ministry Grid. Check it out.
Free Ebook byJoel Comiskey and small group health assessment
- Free Ebook from Joel Comiskey (Making Disciples in the 21st Century Church). Joel's book is available at the end of the Thriving Small Groups Assessment. There is no catch to this. We are not asking for your contact information or trying to up-sell anything. At the end of the assessment, you will also discover the health of your small groups. I think you'll find both of this free resources extremely helpful.
Joel Comiskey's new book: 2000 Years of Small Groups
- Ebook: 2000 Years of Small Groups
Bill Beckham's new books
Audio books (Click here)