Lessons from a church planting movement


by Steve Cordle


In areas of Africa and China, there are church planting movements which are rapidly spreading the Gospel and multiplying churches (generally house churches). A missionary from southern Africa recently said that the method used to spark a chain reaction of church plants was simple: train the trainers.

That is, the focus is not to plant a church. It is not even to train a leader to plant a church. It is to train those who train leaders. This is the leverage point.

How does that translate to your church’s cell ministry? If the group leader is the “planter”, and the coach is the trainer, then the idea is to train coaches. They will, in turn, train the leaders.

“What if I don’t need coaches because I don’t have enough leaders right now?”

Good question. I think the missionary would says “Do it anyway”. Set the foundation to allow a rapid expansion of groups.



Beggars, Diggers, Stewards

by Rob Campbell


In Luke 16:1-13, we see a beggar, a digger, and a steward.  A beggar’s motivation is survival.  He wants  to make it through another day.  A digger’s motivation is success.  He’s digging for gold.  He’s on an insatiable journey to “make it big” and “turn a deal.”  A steward’s motivation is significance.  She wants to leave behind a legacy.  She wants to invest in souls and the kingdom of God. 

The story teaches us that we must give an account to God for our stewardship.  Stewardship is much broader than how we manage and allocate money.  It also includes the management/allocation of our time, influence, expertise, abilities, and resources.  Speaking of resources, the use of one’s resources is a test of values, character, and heart.  Further, the management of one’s resources is a preparatory lesson for other responsibilities before God.

Indeed, life is an exercise in stewardship.

David displays to us a majestic heart of a giver in 2 Samuel 24:10-25.  He refuses to give something to God that doesn’t cost him something personally.  The root of this reality is worship (a continuous preoccupation with God).  In other words, he refuses to worship God on the cheap.  The result of his gift is acceptable unto God (see 1 Chronicles 21:25-28).

Beggars beget beggars.  Diggers beget diggers.  Stewards beget stewards.  A cell pastor who doesn’t steward well probably will beget a cell leader who doesn’t steward well.  I wonder what the cell members might be like in such a reality?

Leadership is modeling.

May your church, cell, and community experience Acts 2:43a, 44, 46b:  “A deep sense of awe came over them all….They shared everything they had…They sold their possessions and shared the proceeds with those in need…They shared their meals with great joy and generosity.”

Please comment.

Giving to the Local Church

joelWe don’t take offerings in cells– yet. We’ve talked about it and greatly admire those who do! Most of the largest cell churches in the world do take tithingofferings in the cells and celebration.

Beyond where a person gives (cell or celebration) is whether people are giving at all. At least in North America, giving to the local church is in a dismal state. The latest statistics I have say that 5% of church goers in NA tithe (whether to the local church or missions). And this problem even extends to leadership. I remember talking to one potential church planter who confessed to me that he wasn’t giving/tithing to the local church because he was going through a difficult financial time and his wife didn’t believe in tithing. I asked him about how he was going to exemplify the priority of giving in difficult times to his new congregation. He just shook his head. He didn’t know.

Martin Luther once said, “People go through three conversions: their head, their heart and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.” When a person is ready to give part of their money to God, major values shifts have already taken place in their heart. Making Jesus Lord of our lives includes Lordship of our material possessions.

I know it’s impossible to “require” that church people in general give/tithe. Yet, the essence of leadership is setting forth an example for others to follow. Thus, my questions are these: What kind of “giving” requirements do you have for the leadership of your church–whether cell leaders, elders, or pastoral team members? To be a cell leader does a person have to tithe/give to your church? How about elders? Pastors?

Joel Comiskey

Offerings in the Cells

mario By Mario Vega

When we started our work with small groups in houses, we began to wonder about the offerings subject. Was it appropriate to collect offeringsofferings in the cells? There were two positions: one from brothers who thought offerings should be collected and the other from those who thought it was not a good idea if the main purpose was the evangelization.

Those who thought offerings should be collected supported their position stating that this subject is part of the gospel and, consequently, the gospel had to be presented as it was. Those who thought was not appropriate claimed that guests could get the impression that we were only interested in money. Others thought it could generate the idea that the snack was being charged.

Finally, others thought that it was not right to let leaders and supervisors handle the churches´ money.

Both positions had their valid reasons. At that time, we did not have a clear idea about the whole meaning of the cell work. Our only reference was Pastor Cho´s model.

In his books, Pastor Cho made repeated references on the fact of collecting offerings in his meetings. Therefore, we decided to follow the Korean model and set the offering as part of the home meeting program.

In the subsequent years, experience has taught us that collecting offerings was a good decision. Now we are sure that cells are a very effective way for not only achieving evangelization and growth goals but also economic ones. About that, I will write later on.


Mario Vega


Translation in Spanish:

¿Qué sobre las ofrendas?

Cuando iniciamos nuestro trabajo con grupos pequeños en casas comenzamos a preguntarnos sobre el tema de las ofrendas. ¿Era conveniente recoger ofrendas en las células? Existan dos posiciones: la de los hermanos que pensaban que se deba recoger ofrendas y la de los que pensaban que no era una buena idea si el propósito principal era la evangelización.
Quienes pensaban que se deba recoger ofrendas sustentaban su posición expresando que el tema de las ofrendas es parte del evangelio y, consecuentemente, se deba presentar el evangelio tal como era. Los que pensaban que no era conveniente, argumentaban que los invitados podan llevarse la idea que lo único que nos interesaba era el tema económico. Otros pensaban que se poda generar la idea que se estaba cobrando por el refrigerio. Finalmente, otros pensaban que no era sano dejar que los lderes y supervisores manejaran dinero de la iglesia.
Ambas posiciones tenan sus razones valederas. En ese tiempo, no tenamos una idea clara sobre todo lo que significaba el trabajo con células. Nuestro único referente era el modelo del Pastor Cho.
En sus libros, el Pastor Cho haca repetidas referencias al hecho que en sus reuniones se recogan ofrendas. Decidimos entonces seguir el modelo coreano y establecimos la ofrenda como parte del programa de la reunión en casa.
En los años posteriores la experiencia nos enseñó que el recoger ofrendas fue una buena decisión. Ahora estamos seguros que las células son un medio muy eficaz no solamente para alcanzar metas de evangelización y crecimiento sino también económicas. Pero, de ello, escribiré más adelante.

Equipping Track as Discipleship


by Steve Cordle


What makes for a good equipping track?

One of the characteristics of an effective equipping track is that it will combine disicpleship training with leadersihp training. Specifically, there will be little difference between growing as a follower of Jesus and growing in group leadership.

When discipleship training and leadership training are part of the same process, people understand that it is normal to become a disciplemaker; that growing in maturity involves becoming able to disciple someone else.

This in not to say we must communicate that everyone should become a group leader (though some churches feel led to make that a goal). But when we combine discipleship training and leader training into one track, we will grow more leaders, and more effective disciples who know how to make disciples — whether as a group leader or not.