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Joel Comiskey Group
Resourcing the Worldwide Cell Church 
March 2011 Newsletter

JCG NEWS

New book: Joel Comiskey is working on  Myths and Truth of the Cell Church:  Key Principles that Will Make or Break Cell Ministry. The book will come out in October 2011.

Bookstore: CCS Publishing is excited to publish the Elim training track by the end of this month. We will also be publishing a new edition of Joel's Spanish training material. Check out the JCG bookstore for special deals.

March ministry:  March 11-12 in Santa Maria, California. Joel will be doing a cell seminar sponsored by the  Assembly of God but open to all those in the area. Contact person: Hector Pinochet at heccoc@yahoo.com
March 17-19 in Quito, Ecuador. Joel will be doing a cell seminar at the Church of God seminary called SemiSud in San Rafael (right outside of Quito). He's excited that His  daughter, Chelsea, will be with him. Many of you know that the Comiskeys lived and worked in Quito, Ecuador from 1990 to 2001. Contact person: Yadetzi Rodriguez at
yaderodri@hotmail.com  

JCG event in 2012: On February 25, 2012, we will hold the next JCG event with Mario Vega, Joel Comiskey, and the JCG team. We will hold the event in the Elim Dallas Church in both English and Spanish. Those speaking English will meet in one part of the building and Spanish speakers in another. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will rotate the speaking among both language groups and the JCG team will help out with the English group. We were thrilled to have 100 people register for this year's event in Dallas. 
 
Facebook, Twitter and Blogging: JCG is now on Facebook and Twitter. Check out the JCG home page, and you'll notice the right hand column  of up-to-date micro-blogs .

 


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Reflections on an Ancient Strategy

I've been reading Ron Trudinger's book Cells for Life: Home Groups, God's Strategy for Church Growth.  The author writes with penetrating clarity about the effectiveness of home cell groups and their power to transform lives and raise up new leaders. I had to keep on reminding myself that Trudinger is now in heaven, and he wrote the book in 1979!

There is nothing new under the sun. Home cell groups have been around for a long, long time. As I reflect on my own ministry, I'm keenly aware and appreciative of the pioneers who have gone before me.

Last week I received a phone call from Carl George to talk about cell ministry and how specifically to help another author express himself more clearly. Carl George's 1991 book Prepare Your Church for the Futurerevolutionized my own vision for cell groups and transformed my ministry. I stand on his shoulders. And what about Ralph Neighbour and Bill Beckham, two cell church pioneers who have helped so many churches understand the values and principles behind cell ministry. Everytime I read Neighbour's Where Do We Go From Here I receive new insight and grow in my appreciation for both the author and his in-depth cell church theology.

Going back a bit further, we see David Cho, the founder of the modern day cell church movement. I never fully recovered from reading Cho's 1981 book, Successful Home Cell Groups back in 1984. It lit a passion inside me for the possibilities of home group ministry. I read it right after hearing Dr. Cho speak at a Church Growth seminar at Fuller seminary in Pasadena, California. At that seminar Cho shared his own journey of ministry exhaustion in the summer of 1964 when he collapsed on the platform of his local church in Seoul, Korea. Then 27 years old, Cho was told he needed total bed rest because he was physically exhausted and his heart was extremely weak.

As Cho recuperated over a two-year period, he searched the scriptures to see how the early church met from house to house in small groups to worship and fellowship. Likewise, he observed how Moses in Exodus 18:13-26 divided the millions that he was responsible for into divisions and small groupings of ten people.

Following these biblical insights, Cho launched twenty home cell groups, led by women. From the twenty groups, the church grew to 25,000 cells and 250,000 people attending the mother church--easily the largest church in the history of Christianity.

But Cho didn't start the cell church movement. He stands on the shoulders of John Wesley and the Methodist movement, who were helped by the Moravians, who in turn were heavily influenced by the Piestists. And all of them stand on the New Testament's emphasis of house to house ministry and celebration worship (Acts 2:42-46).

The modern day cell church movement is not new. It's actually quite ancient. Today I'm grateful for the pioneer work of Ron Trudinger and others. While we in the present day cell church movement ask God for future insight and direction, we are very grateful for the historical foundation on which we stand.  

Joel Comiskey