Recently someone criticized my cell definition: A cell is a group of 3-15 people who meet weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and discipleship with the goal of multiplication.
Most people that criticize this definition focus on the part about weekly cell meetings or the phrase “outside the church building.” John (not real name), however, criticized the part that says, “with the goal of multiplication.” He argued that the goal should not be multiplication but transformation. He expanded on this by saying that the real goal is Christ’s presence in the cell.
Yes, I agree that the real goal of God’s glory and Christ’s presence is beyond any definition. In reality, the over-arching goal of the Christian life is God’s glory and Christ’s presence, and this is certainly implied in my above definition.
I also have to admit that multiplication can be misinterpreted as multiply at all costs. I visited one cell church in which each cell leader led two to three cell groups. This church was so hung up on reaching “the goal” that they failed to develop leaders.
When I talk about multiplication, I’m referring to leadership development–the essence of the cell church. Multiplication is simply the context in which disciples are made. Jesus told us in Matthew 28:18-20 that we are called to make disciples who make disciples. Multiplication simply provides the venue for making disciples who make disciples.
Thus, if you wanted to be technical, you could finish my definition this way, “with the goal of making disciples that results in multiplication.”
I believe it’s important to include multiplication in the definition because it gives practical direction and necessary movement to the cell. It reminds the leader and members why the cell exists–to penetrate a lost world through raising up disciples who make other disciples.