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Joel Comiskey Group
Resourcing the Worldwide Cell Church 
March 2012 Newsletter

JCG NEWS

 

 Myths and Truths book now available in Spanish

Myths and Truths book  in English
 
Joel Comiskey's new book,  
 Myths and Truth of the Cell Church: Key Principles that Will Make or Break Cell Ministry,  is now available for purchase. Feel free to read the introduction, table of contents, first chapter, second chapter, or press release

Schedule for 2012 

March Ministry

March 01-4: Ministry in Belgium with the Vinha. Contact person: Marcelo Almeida. 

March 08-10: Ministry in Newark, New Jersey (Spanish and English) with pastor Glen Wilson. Contact person: Glen Wilson.

March 23-24: Ministry in Boston MA with the CMA. Contact person: Patricia Pena

Sale on Comiskey books
(prices that are far better than amazon.com by $4.00 to $10.00)
  
----most books now available as PDF downloads
--How to be a Great Cell Group Coach (8.95, down from 18.95 on amazon) 
---Appointment with the King (8.95)
 --Relational Disciple (10.95) 
--Church that Multiplies (9.95)
--Planting Churches that Reproduce  (8.95)
--You Can Coach (9.95)
--All training track material: 7.45 each or 32.95 for entire set
--All Touch Publication books for 12.95 ($5.00 under amazon.com pricing)    

Social Media

--Facebook, Twitter: 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 . 

Blogs

--Sign up now to get the
JCG blog sent daily to your email inbox for free. Go to the blog site and place your email address in the box on the upper right side

 Donations  

--Find out more about how you can invest in  (donate to) JCG, a non-profit ministry.

 

 

 

Cell and Celebration

We know for sure that the early church met in house churches. Were these house churches independent of each other? I don't think so. Scripture indicates a connection between the house churches in each city (e.g., 1 Corinthians 1:2; 14:23; 16:19). In fact, at times, the early church met continually in both cell and celebration (Acts 2:24-46). Paul and the apostles also preached publicly and from house to house (Acts 5:42, 20:20). 

Bill Beckham, a key cell church teacher, has done more than anyone to highlight the need for both cell and celebration (see Beckham's celebration article). He coined the term "the two-winged church." The cell church emphasizes both wings.

The cell is the church and the celebration is the church. Believers need both. J.I. Packer once said, "I go around telling people that if they're not with the whole congregation on Sunday, and in the small group somewhere during the week, their Christian lives are unbalanced"(Small Groups Network, 1998). 

Some strategies only emphasize the cell  (e.g., independent house churches) while others focus solely on the celebration wing (program-based churches). The cell church teaches that believers need both cell and celebration. Outreach is also more effective when using both wings, rather than just one or the other. 

There are periods in the life of the church when one wing is emphasized over the other. For example, when planting a cell church, the cell is the priority  because many cell church plants begin with a single cell. The goal is to multiply the single cell and eventually increase the frequency of the celebration. In a transitioning situation, the celebration is stronger until cells begin to multiply and spread throughout the church.  

This month on the  JCG blog, we will be exploring different aspects of cell and celebration. Experienced cell church pastors will write 20 blogs on the topic of cell and celebration throughout the month of March. If you'd like to receive these blogs daily via email, please sign up  HERE. We'll cover:
    

  • Week 1 (March 04-10): The biblical base for both cell and celebration. We will talk about what the Bible says about cell and celebration by unraveling verses like Acts 2:42-46, 5:42, and 20:20. 
  • Week 2 (March 11-18): Imbalance of only focusing on cell or celebration. Some only focus on cells (e.g.,  independent house churches) and some churches mainly emphasize the celebration service (e.g., programmed based churches). Cell churches try to emphasize both cell and celebration. 
  • Week 3 (March 19-March 25): The cell church is really all about cells celebrating on Sunday. I call this the cell-driven church. In the cell, each member is pastored, cared for, and experiences the church. The celebration is where the cells hear God's Word and celebrate. 
  • Week 4 (March 26-April 03): Emphasis on different "wings" during transitioning or cell church planting. When planting a church, the cell is emphasized because that's all there is. The goal is to grow and then celebrate more frequently. When a church transitions to the cell church, the celebration is emphasized until more cells appear.  

Why do you believe in both cell and celebration? Or perhaps you believe one is more important than the other. Please comment  HERE.

 

Jesus gave marching orders to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. He told them to go and make new disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). He also gave them the promise that he had all authority and would be with them always (vv. 18,20). 

In my twenty-one years of working in cell church ministry, I've concluded that the essence of cell ministry is to make disciples who make disciples. 

When a person becomes a new believer, he or she learns how to live in community with other believers in the cell. Then he discovers his  gifts and uses them in the cell (priesthood of all believers). Eventually he participates ingroup evangelism. When the group gives birth, he can participate on the new leadership team or lead the group that stays behind. God has ordained small groups to form disciples who continue the process. 

When I'm coaching pastors I encourage them to make an annual goal of new cell groups. Granted, cell multiplication is simply one step in the process. In fact, Mario Vega once said, "Multiplication is the visible sign of discipleship and spiritual health." Even though the goal of new groups is the most concrete, visible one,  it's a really a step in the process of making disciples. 

I'm coaching one church planter who desires to go from one cell to two in 2012. He has a lot of work to do to make this happen. I'm coaching another pastor who envisions growing from his current 340 to 400 cells by the end of 2012. This same pastor didn't multiply any groups in 2011 because he wanted to refine the training track, build up his existing groups, and prepare for the future. Another pastor is set on going from 10 to 12 cells in 2012. 

All three of these pastors are working hard in cellevangelism, training, and coaching. They are simply on different stages in the cell journey. 

Setting goals for new groups is a delicate, painstaking process. A lot depends on the health of the church, how many are in the training track, and the vision of the pastor. Some churches need to first inspire their current cells to reach out and evangelize before they can launch new ones. 

This month, on the  JCG blog  we will be exploring different aspects of goal setting. Experienced cell church pastors will write 20 blogs on the topic of goal setting throughout the month of February. If you'd like to receive these blogs daily via email, please sign up  HERE. We'll cover:

  • Week 1 (February 05-11): setting goals based on making disciples who make disciples. Cell groups are leader breeders. I believe the key goal is to make disciples who make disciples which results in new groups. 
  • Week 2 (February 12-18): how are disciples formed in the cell.  It's not just about forming new groups. The process begins at conversion. Disciples are formed in community, exercising their gifts (priesthood of the believer), group evangelism, and forming part of a new team 
  • Week  3 (February 19-February 25): how does a pastor know how to set a goal of new groups? Various ways include: how  many will graduation from the training track, health of the church, degree of receptivity of culture, whether the church has just gone through a lot of new births (might need more rest), etc..
  • Week 4 (February 26-March 03): the balance between quality and quantity. It's possible to err on one side or the other: too fast or too slow. Some pastors have little vision and allow their groups to stagnate. Others set goals too high and multiply unhealthy groups. 

What is your goal this year? Perhaps, you don't believe in setting goals. Tell us why.  Please comment  HERE.  

 

 Joel Comiskey  

 

 Joel Comiskey