Jeff Tunnell here, filling in for Joel Comiskey who is ministering in New York. Early on in transitioning our congregation from Traditional to Cell-based structure, we confronted the issue of building a training track (equipping track for discipling new believers into future leaders). Being a small congregation, resources in both manpower and funds were equally small. Like many we ADOPTED someone elseâ€™s model and pre-printed materials. As we continued to transition, the publisher of our adopted materials began changing them radically and frequently which led to our frustration. This was due to the belief that any fruitfulness would come from following the â€œmodelâ€ exactly and that any change would weaken its inherent strength and wisdom. Ouch!
At a Cell church conference I had a conversation with a well-known cell church leader during which I vented my frustrations. His response finished the issue and gave me direction. He said, â€œWhen you follow a model built by someone else, rather than using Cell church principles, your path will be like this; first you will ADOPT their materials, and then when the expected results do not come within your expected timeframe, you will ADAPT them to more closely fit your ministry environment and outreach dynamics. When they still fail to produce the desired results, you will ABANDON them and try to compile your own. All of this will take about 2 years to cycle through.â€
Our experience proved this to be true and cost us much time and effectiveness. The simple fix? Follow principles not models! If you examine materials produced and published by someone else, look for at least these two things: adherence to the Word of God and well-known principles of cell church being implemented successfully around the world that have been birthed by the Holy Spirit.
Have you shared a similar frustration in your journey? Are you in the process of looking for help in this area of development? What other insights could you add to these?