I coined the term “the cell-driven strategy” to conceptualize the need to make cell ministry the driving force of church life, rather than an extra ministry or program. I noticed so many pastors consumed with Sunday celebration services to the point that they lost their concentration on cell ministry. Take Pastor Mark, for example. As I coached him over the months, I found that he naturally spent more time trying to attract people to the Sunday celebration service. He focused on sermon preparation, visiting, and dreaming of a crowd on Sunday. Cell ministry received leftover attention. When I challenged him on this, he acknowledged that he got a high from the Sunday crowd and didnâ€™t get that same excitement from cell ministry.
This problem is not only on a pastoral level. I recently talked to someone who confessed to me that she loved the idea of cell ministry but simply didn’t have the time for it. She volunteered for children’s ministry in her church and had to make a concerted effort to go to a worship service to receive teaching. She just didn’t have time to attend one of her church’s home groups. Most church people follow a similar paradigm–involvement in a cell group is “extra.”
I”m asking this question because here at Wellspring we’ve been talking about moving to weekly celebration services. This has alwasy been our goal but as the cells grew stronger and more people were gathered. Currently we meet weekly in cell groups and prayer meetings but all the cells celebrate together once per month on Sunday and once per month during the Saturday half-night prayer meeting. Our current schedule assures that the cells drive all we do as a church.
What would you recommend to help us prioritize cell ministry? For you who have both weekly cell and celebration, what do you do to prioritize cell life and to keep it from simply becoming one of the many options?