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Resourcing the Worldwide Cell Church 
September 2014 Newsletter

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Preview Joel Comiskey's 2014 book:
2000 Years of Small Groups: A History of Cell Ministry in the Church 

New: Online "live" teaching with Joel Comiskey, plus free book
-Sign-up for five weeks of "live"  interactive online teaching on Biblical Foundations for the Cell-based Church with Joel Comiskey via Adobe Connect (no need to download software)
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-When? Begins January 2015.
-Cost? $50.00 for five weeks. 
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Joel Comiskey's September schedule:
-September 17-27,2014: I will be conducting three seminars in Brazil with Ministerio Igrega em Células. Robert Lay will be my translator for all three seminars in various parts of Brazil. Contact person: Robert Lay

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Read chapters of Joel's 2013 book, Making Disciples in the 21st Century Church
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2015 JCG Events 
--We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 28, 2015. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Place it on your calendar and  register today for special deals. . 
  
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Biblical Foundations book: 
--Biblical Foundation for the Cell-Based Church, is now available for $10.95 (discount of $4.00)
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--Read parts of Comiskey's new book, Biblical Foundation for the Cell-Based Church

2014 Seminar Schedule

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Connecting Sermon with Cells

I've written a lot about how cell churches connect the teaching on Sunday (or mid-week teaching, as in the case of Elim) with the cell lesson. All of the cell churches in my research connected their teaching in the larger gathering with the cell lesson. But did you know that this practice dates back to 1666? 

It was during that year that Philipp Jakob Spener, the founder of Pietism, was called to a pastorate in Frankfurt, Germany. He started to hold religious meetings at his home, which he called collegia pietatis (schools of piety or godliness). In these home groups, he would apply his sermons to the lives of his members. 

Spener led the first group and then made rules and regulations for the new groups. He encouraged others to open their own homes to practice the priesthood of all believers, so that everyone would be involved. He encouraged those present to ask questions and apply scripture, specifically the teachings they had heard on Sunday. 

In 1675, Spener published his famous Pia Desideria (Godly Desires). Spener argued that small groups were necessary because the people were not learning the Bible through the customary Sunday sermons. He wrote,

The congregation does not hear the rest at all, or they hear only a few sayings or directives which are mentioned in the sermon without being able to understand their whole significance even though there is something important in them . . . The people have little opportunity to grasp the understanding of the Scripture in any other way than from the texts that are interpreted to them. That they even have less opportunity to use the Scriptures themselves as their edification requires.
Preaching God's inerrant Word on Sunday morning is a wonderful thing. But many pastors are overly optimistic about how much the congregants actually grasp and are able to apply.  Those listening often nod, say amen, and desire to apply the message, but Satan can so easily snatch away the truths sown in their hearts. When a church applies the message through the cell lesson, there's a far greater chance that those in the cell will talk about what they learned and be held accountable to apply the biblical principles.  

But what if a church doesn't have a larger gathering? Some reading this article might be in a new church planting situation in which there is no celebration service--only the small group (s). In such cases, the lesson would need to be created independently each week and not based on the Sunday morning message. Yet, even in a church planting situation, the planter is creating the lesson for the group (s) and has a plan in mind for both the content and application. 

Even though Spener's movement was eventually suppressed in his hometown of Frankfurt some twenty-five years later, it went on to influence the Moravians and Methodists, who in turn sparked the eighteenth century Great Awakening. And Spener's influence continues through cell churches today.  

During the month of September, we'll be exploring various aspects of connecting the teaching of the larger gathering with the cell group.  We will write twenty blogs on this topic in the month of September. If you'd like to receive these blogs in your email inbox each day, please sign up HERE. We'll cover:

  • Week 1 (September 07-13);  How connecting the cell lesson with the church's teaching helps believers to apply the message. So often churches just focus on teaching and not application. The two wing cell church believes that Christians need strong teaching as well as clear application in order to live the Christian life. Celebration and cell work together. make this happen through the cell lesson
  • Week 2 (September 14-20); More than information. There's a  tendency to hide behind information and avoid transparency. We need to confess our faults one to another. The cell lesson highlights the application of God's Word. 
  • Week 3 (September  21-27);  Vision casting through the lesson. The pastoral team can cast the vision of evangelism and strategy through the cell lesson. Everyone is on the same page. It's also easier to develop leaders if the potential disciple doesn't have to prepare the lesson. 
  • Week 4 (September  28-October 04); Practical mechanics. We will cover when and how the leaders receive the lesson, number of questions, various parts of the lesson, and so forth. If the leader has the cell lesson while hearing the pastor on Sunday, he or she can envision the future cell lesson. Who makes the cell lesson? In a larger church, someone can be appointed to receive the pastor's message beforehand and write down the questions. In most churches, the pastor prepares the lesson.  

Do you connect the sermon with the cell? Why or why not? Please feel free to comment here

Joel