On Wednesday, I asked for you to send me questions/suggestions to bring to JCG team meeting here in Myrtle Beach. Here are some that were sent to me:
I see that your board consists of two men pastoring churches with over 100 cells. And although I do praise God for their apparent success, I humbly ask that your new blog forum please remember us folks who are pursuing the cell church vision in rural America and even those who are attempting to plant cell-based churches in metropolitan areas
The fact is that most churches are small. The average size church in North America, for example, is 72 people. And we as a JCG team (board) are acutely aware of this fact. I coach one pastor who is planting a cell church with only one cell group of 8 people after 2.5 years. I coach another church of five cell groups. My church plant has 9 cells and 55 people. We at JCG are very much aware that rapid growth depends on prepared soil and God-ordained receptivity (e.g., Latin America, Africa, parts of Asia, China). In North America and the western world this is just not the case. Two of the JCG team members pastor larger cell churches, but they are also aware of how difficult North American ministry really is. Today, we were discussing a name change for my book Cell Church Solutions in the next printing. Someone had suggested title, Cell Church Fire! The Expanding Cell Church in North America. Yet, as we discussed this title, we agreed that we don’t believe that FIRE is here in North America (although we’re praying that it will come!).
Another question sent to me was: I notice that you waffle between the terms “cells” and “small groups”. I see (on your website) that your church is named Wellspring Cell Church but many of the books you write interchange the two terms. So, which do you advocate?
My answer is this: I have strong convictions about the nature of the cell. I describe a cell as: A group of 3-15 that meets weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and discipleship with the goal of multiplication.
I only promote this type of cell (according to the definition) because it’s a holistic definition of a cell. For me, the quality of the cell is everything. It’s the foundation upon which the cell church is built. However, I’m not dogmatic about the name for a cell group. I might use life groups, heart groups, cell groups, or small groups. Yet, when I use the term small groups I’m certainly not referring to: closed groups, short term groups, program/ministry groups, or any other group that doesn’t meet the above definition. For me, the key is the definition and not the name of the group. All of the JCG team members would agree.
Finally, someone wrote, Please, as you are able, make your resources available to financially poorer churches. Perhaps, challenge financially stronger churches to sponsor seminars, coaching, and resource material for poorer churches that are known to them or to your Joel Comiskey Group.
This is one of the key reasons why JCG exists. When I go to speak, for example, in poorer countries, I know they can only afford to give me a small amount. Yet, I can still go because certain wealthier churches have made a commitment to support me through JCG. Support that is given to JCG allows us to offer all our web site material for free. We don’t charge for people to see our resources because we know that many poorer churches couldn’t afford to pay. And we are working hard to translate our web site into Spanish, Chinese, and Korean. The only way we can pay translators is because certain wealthier churches give to JCG. As money becomes available we’d like to help sponsor other workers to hold cell seminars and coach pastors.