While visiting a dynamic cell church in Costa Rica I (Steve Cordle) picked up a simple principle which has hepled our church build healthier cells. I was traveling with Joel Comiskey, and we had the privilege of spending a day with the church’s pastor. He shared that his church had come through a hard time of shrinking numbers of cells, and discouragement among the leaders. As a result, he started to emphasize what he called “robust” cells. that is, they closed and consolidated a lot of smaller cells, and established a guideline that each cell should have at least 10 people in it. The result is that they had fewer cells, but more people involved and a higher percentage of healthy groups.
We have made the same change at Crossroads Church, although we made 7 the new minimum number for a cell. Before a cell group can birth, we require there to be at least 7 people committed to the group. Where a group has dropped below that number we carefully work with the leader to discern whether it is time to merge with another cell.
I’m not saying God can’t work with a fewer number, but we found that smaller groups have a harder time with group energy, it’s less appealing to visitors, and harder to get consistent when people have to miss. Surely where there are 2 or 3 gathered together in Jesus’ name He is present. But the sense of body life seems to be stronger and the meeting richer because of more voices/contributions. I’d rather have fewer cells if they are healthier and more people are involved.
What’s your experience?