Go Get Your OWN Stories

Rob Campbell here.

Elie Wiesel wrote, “God made man because he loves stories.”

It was a hot summer day in Texas and the lawn needed attention.

I started up my Snapper and strapped on my Walkman (the forerunner to the Ipod—I trust you remember those days).  I enjoy outdoor work.  I find it a time when God speaks to me.  Actually, God was speaking to me through Jimmy Seibert of Antioch Church in Waco, Texas.

Jimmy was telling stories of how God was moving through various individuals around the globe.  The stories were moving and I was stoked.  He concluded his talk by saying, “Go get your own STORIES.” 

As you labor day in and day out with leading a cell (or a cell church), are you remembering how powerfully God is moving around the globe?  His-story is spreading throughout the world.

      *Every DAY at least 74,000 more people across the globe come to faith in Christ.

      *3,083 new believers every hour

      *Perhaps 30,000 each day are in China

      *An average of 3,500 new churches are opening every week worldwide.

      *China in 1950: 1 million believers; China Today: 80 million

       *Africa: 20,000 daily added to the Body of Christ.  Africa was 3% Christian in 1900 and is over 50% Christian today.

As one peruses the gospel accounts, you see that Jesus’ life was not an essay. His life’s purpose was not to spearhead a systematic theology that might be passed down through the generations.   The gospels do not record one long sermon in which Jesus pontificates a philosophy of life.  Instead, you discover that Jesus’ life was a story.  His story has transformed billions of lives and remains the most inspiring, penetrating and awe-inspiring story ever heard. 

BLOG ON IN!!  Share a story with this community of how God is working in your midst.  Simply share a few sentences or paragraphs and be used by God to encourage others.

Love to hear from you today,

Rob Campbell

Some don’t belong in your church

My wife and I ate with a couple last week who had come to our cell four times and seemed to really enjoy it. We were hoping they were excited about our church, so while we were enjoying salad at Olive Garden, I asked them if they felt called to be part of our church. Yet, I also added this phrase, “we only want you here, if God has called you.”

I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks, that not all growth is good growth. Some growth can be downright negative.

I remember one of the early couples at Wellspring who led one of our cell groups. They were friendly, outgoing, and had a wide circle of friends. And they brought lots of peole to church. Yet, they also had a negative side. The husband felt his calling was to be a “board member” (you know the type I’m talking about). And even through I shared the cell vision extensively with him, he never really caught it. He somehow couldn’t see the advantages of cell ministry. The one-hour Sunday morning service was far more appealing to him. Yet, I tried to hold onto this couple for the “growth” of our church. I felt like we needed them to make our church work.

Yet, as I look back, I now realize that THEY WERE STOPPING CHRIST’S WORK IN OUR CHURCH.” They were just not the right fit for our cell church vision.

We put up with them for about 1.5 years, and when they finally did leave, it was a very difficult situation. We lost two cells as a result of their departure. And it all happened one week before Christmas–not a very merry way to celebrate Christ’s birth.

Yet, as I reflect back on this situation, it was the best thing that ever happened to our church. It cleared out the “spirit of control” that hovered over us. We sensed a new life in our midst and CHRIST began to bring new people who were in line with our vision—those who truly embraced our ministry values.

Yes, I want church growth, but I have to be very careful about wanting it too much. God, brings me back to the prayer, “Lord, bring in those who You have called.” Christ is the head of HIS church, and HIS church is a supernatural one. It’s woven together by Christ Himself.

Lord, bring those who You have called.

Have you experienced similar situations? Comments?


Cell Church Ministry in Thailand

One of the main themes of the blog this week has been the worldwide cell church movement and its incredible ethnic variety.

I was quite surprised on Wednesday night when Timothy Jeng, Thai pastor and leader, walked in my home and said, “I know you, Joel. I was your translator for your cell seminar in Thailand in 2000, and we had dinner together in a fancy hotel. We use your books a lot in Thailand and are part of a growing cell church movement in the country.”

Ugh. . . I politely nodded while furiously trying to think back at where I’d seen his face.

Timothy and his wife, Rex, were in my home to kick off our annual mission conference at Wellspring.  Yet instead of sending missionaries, the Christian and Missionary Alliance decided to send a national leader from Thailand this time. And what a national leader! Timothy speaks six languages, pastors the largest CMA church in the country (360 members and 20 cell groups), and heads up the Thai unity vision to plant a church in every district by 2010.

 Thailand, a graveyard for missions and missionaries for the last 100 years is finally opening up to the gospel. God is using Cell church ministry as one of His key strategies in the country.  

I asked Timothy about the resurgence of the cell movement in Thailand,  and he reflected on the maturing of cell ministry over the years.  The first major impact was the incredible growth of Hope of Bangkok, a pure cell church and the largest church in Thailand with 5000 people attending.  The second impact was from Singapore. Lawrence Khong’s seminars (Faith Community Baptist Church) were helpful, but even more fruitful were the practical seminars and workshops from Trinity Christian Centre, also from Singapore.  Yet, more recently Thai pastors have been networking together under the umbrella of Ben Wong’s Cell Church Mission Network. When I attended the CCMN conference in Indonesia in 2005, the largest delegation was from Thailand (about 75 pastors and leaders), and in 2006 the conference was held in Thailand!

As we gathered that evening to hear Timothy and Rex speak, we heard amazing stories of physical healings and power encounters that are taking place across Thailand. God is moving in Thailand and throughout the world, and we can rejoice in His handiwork.

Feel free to comment.



Kingdom DNA

 Hi – -Steve Cordle here:

Yesterday Joel highlighted the flourishing cell movement at the MAADI church in Cairo. He pointed out that church has been planting many others and has influenced churches in many countries.

I have been struck by the realization that most of the USA’s healthiest and most dynamic cell churches have a strong international missions/church planting emphasis. Churches like Bethany World prayer Center, Cypress Creek Church, Antioch Church , and others, are involved in international church planting in huge ways.

I wonder if these churches minister globally not because they have thriving cell ministries, but rather they have thriving cell ministries because they minister globally. Specifically: that the missional vision which propels a global ministry is the same fuel required for healthy cell groups. It is the biblical ministry “DNA”: the Kingdom of God. Adopting the Kingdom mindset of Jesus will lead to multiplication of all kinds: disciples, cell groups, and churches.

What does that mean for a new or smaller cell church? Whether our churches are currently planting churches overseas or not, if we instill the Kingdom DNA in the hearts and minds of our people the Lord will cause his Kingdom to flourish in surprising places!

Cell explosion in Egypt

You might not have noticed but Bill Joukhadar made a comment to my Monday blog on ethnic diversity in the worldwide cell church movement saying, “As you know the Maadi Community Church in Cairo, Egypt is a spiritual home to 50 nationalities and 40 Christian denominations. That’s our ‘normal’ mix! And, cells are flourishing!”

The MAADI church is an English speaking International church, a spiritual home for expatriates from 50 nations. When Bill took over the cell ministry, there were zero cell groups. Now there are 330 cell groups (3,100 members), 1,300 + new believers have come to Christ through our cell groups, 5 daughter churches were planted in the second half of 2006, and 900 + lay members have undergone their locally developed 6 session cell pastor training course (600+ are presently serving as lay cell pastors). The cell driven church plan has been adopted by evangelical churches in Cyprus, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Finland, The Netherlands, Australia, Brazil, The Philippines and California. 

The MAADI church is known as â€˜the church with the revolving door,’ with a turn over of 1/3 of the congregation every year. Yet, this church refuses to see this as a negative, but rather a postive because the church can help those who enter the church leave ‘on fire’ for Him and His purposes. Bill refers to them as “Fire Foxes burning up the work of the enemy, world wide.” 

I did a cell seminar at MAADI church in March 2003 and remember being amazed at the power of God using cell church principles in every culture, time, and setting! They are unchanging. Way to go, Jesus. Thanks for using, Bill and team!