The Planning Meeting

marioby Mario Vega

Shortly after starting our cell work we felt there was a need to add one more meeting each week. ‘Planning meeting’ was the name given to this meeting. Its original purpose was to bring together Christians from the small group to plan the next cell meeting.

The main purpose was that each member in this meeting would assume a commitment to bring a specific guest to the cell meeting. Every Christian was requested to mention who they would bring as a guest to the cell meeting. The name was written down and a list of guests was prepared, then a prayer for the conversion of these people was made.

Later on, the planning meeting also served to evaluate the previous cell meeting, detect the reasons why it was difficult to bring the non-believers, designate duties for the next meeting, prepare the guest list, plan transportation to the church, check on the care given to new converts and to delegate visits.

Although the planning meeting was not part of the Korean model, it proved to be of great benefit and help. Until now every leader develops the two types of meetings each week: the planning meeting and the cell meeting.


Mario Vega
Reunión de planificación

Poco tiempo después de iniciar nuestro trabajo con células se dejó sentir la necesidad de añadir una reunión más cada semana. A esta reunión se le dio el nombre de ‘reunión de planificación’. Su propósito original era el de reunir a los cristianos del grupo pequeño para planificar la siguiente reunión de célula.
El objeto principal era que en esta reunión cada miembro asumiera el compromiso de llevar a un invitado especfico a la reunión de célula. Se solicitaba que cada cristiano mencionara a quién llevara de invitado a la reunión de célula. Se anotaba su nombre y se elaboraba una lista de invitados, luego, se haca una oración por la conversión de esas personas.
Posteriormente, la reunión de planificación también sirvió para evaluar la reunión de célula anterior, detectar las razones por las que hubo dificultades para llevar a los no creyentes, designar funciones para la siguiente reunión, elaborar la lista de invitados, planificar el transporte a la iglesia, revisar el cuidado de los nuevos conversos y delegar visitas.
Aunque la reunión de planificación no era parte del modelo coreano, resultó ser de gran provecho y ayuda. Hasta el presente todo lder desarrolla los dos tipos de reunión cada semana: la de planificación y la de célula.

Ministry Endurance


by Steve Cordle


Recently I was talking with a guy in our church who has been a group leader for over 17 years. He has multiplied many groups, dissolved some groups, and influenced a bunch of people toward Jesus. I was impressed with his longevity, and I wondered, “What is it that helped him persist and not give up?”

Ministry is not easy – for pastors or for cell leaders. It can be tempting to give up. A few traits of those who go the long haul are:

1. A sense of call from God. This is why we start, and unless God tells us to stop, it is the reason to continue.

2. A vital relationship with Jesus. This brings strength, wisdom, and perspective.

3. Expect problems. Ministry is full of them (it’s where all those miracles in the Bible come from). Leaders who assume that an anointed ministry is marked by unbroken joy and success will soon quit when problems arise. They will feel like something is wrong with them, or that this is not what they signed up for, or figure God is telling them they are in the wrong place. Actually, it just means they are in a spiritual battle and ministering in a fallen world.

What is it that keeps you going? Why do you do what you do?


Advancing Through Adversity

by Rob Campbell

Joel’s post yesterday highlighted a cell church plant in Muskegon, Michigan pastored by Jeff Boersma.  Check it out and read the comments.

I ate lunch with a cell church planter yesterday and he said, “This is quite a journey.  Everything and I mean everything has not gone the way I expected it to go.”  We laughed.  Thankfully, this cell church pastor is leading a very dynamic cell church that is seeing lives changed.

Planting and leading will be treacherous at times.  It’s interesting.  One of God’s primary ways of shaping us and preparing us for service to Him is through adversity.  Adversity can become our greatest motivation for spiritual growth or the deadliest means of discouragement.  Our challenge is not to get stuck in adversity, but to grow through it.

Remember, God does not permit adversity for the purpose of defeating us but for the purpose of benefiting us.  Consider the eagle.  Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?  The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come.  While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.  The eagle does not escape the storm.  It simply uses that storm to lift it higher.  It rises on the winds that bring the storm.  May we emulate the eagle as storms come our way.  Here’s why.

Our response to adversity displays to others what we think of God.  It also reveals our life’s lenses.  Typically, people walk around with the following lenses:  Is it what I want?  Is it what I deserve?  Is it what I always expected?  Does it make sense to me?  Does it fit into my plans?  Does it make me happy?  Does it inconvenience me in any way?  Will others understand?

Those who successfully advance through adversity are astute and consistent in asking the following two questions:  First, how can this adversity in my life glorify God?  Next, how can this adversity fulfill God’s purpose in the earth? 

Indeed, our faith is weighed on the scales of adversity.  May you advance through adversity with God’s Spirit upon you.


Cell Church Planting in Muskegon, Michigan

joelThree years ago I had the privilege of being the doctoral reader of Jeff Boersma’s Fuller dissertation entitled “A Strategy for Beginning a Church Multiplication Movement in michiganMuskegon, Michigan.”

To start a cell church from scratch in Muskegon (population 40,000), Jeff first had to convince his denomination that he was really starting a CHURCH when he started the first cell group. He had to overcome the denominational rules which stated, “A minister of the Word serving as pastor of a congregation shall preach the Word, administer the sacraments, conduct public worship services, catechize the youth, and train members for Christian service.”

Jeff did an admirable job of describing point by point how that the first small group would participate in the Word of God, baptize new believers, partake in the Lord’s Supper, and even exercise Christian discipline. He completed his Fuller doctoral dissertation in March 2005.

During the first year in Muskegon, Jeff formed a leadership launch team, trained the leaders, met weekly for cell life, held several retreats, and prepared them for the multiplication of the first group. However, his launch team failed to launch. One-by-one, they left the pilot group. The problem? They were not able to reach the harvest.

During the second year, Jeff began over again with his wife and three kids in a small group. In the meantime they continued to develop relationships with the community. They eventually extended an invitation to several unchurched people to enter their small group. Three families signed on. The group grew to thirty people which gave birth to a second group.

The third year Jeff birthed his third group. Jeff writes, “I have weekly and monthly contact with our sets of leaders and feel good about our apprenticing process. However it has been challenging beginning to start a church with an entirely unchurched group of people. I guess I’ve learned again that God’s ways are not always my ways.”

Two months ago Jeff said, â€œWe are still a mom and pop shop compared to most traditional church plants- claiming only about 40 that identify themselves with our church. Of course, that is 8 times the size we were 2 years ago- when we were my family of 5. It has been 3 years of persevering, forgiving a lot of hurt along the way, and sharing deeply in the joys, hurts, and lives of other people.”

He goes on to say, “It is nothing but a testimony to God’s grace that we are now supported by the denomination who has done two articles on our church in the last few months. And I’ve now been asked to coach other church planters and perhaps guest teach at our seminary.”

Isn’t this a great testimony of perseverance in the cell vision among a skeptical denomination!



Joel Comiskey

Cell Leaders in the Midst of Tragedy

marioby Mario Vega

On the night of July 3rd one of the buses that was bringing back home several families of our church was dragged by an overflowed river. The tragedyCROSS happened a few minutes after 9 pm.

About three hours later I was at the place where the bus had disappeared swallowed by the overflowed river channel. Around 40 buses had taken people to the churches’ celebration service that night. How could we know who were the probable victims riding that bus?

Each of the buses that carry people to the church are hired by sectors of 1 to 5 cells each. The bus of this tragedy had been hired by two sectors headed by a supervisor each. One of the supervisors was inside the bus and the other one was a little further back driving his own car.

Right after the incident the pastor of that area began to make a list of missing persons based on the information that is handled through the cell leaders. At about 2 a.m. there was already a preliminary list of 23 missing people. As the supervisors continued to contact the rest of the leaders the list continued to grow.

When it was nearly dawn the number of missing persons had risen to 31. We had their names and ages. The information was collected through the cell structure.

In the early hours of the next day, the Red Cross contacted me to ask if we had a missing persons list. I handed to them the full list of 31 people with their names and ages. They were surprised by the accuracy of our information and received it with disbelief. Unfortunately, the days that followed only served to confirm that our information was correct. Our 31 brethren died in the tragedy.

If it wasn’t for the cell structure it would had taken a lot of time to identify the victims from among the thousands that went to church that night in the same type of transportation. The closeness and intimacy that small meetings in houses allow is useful even in the middle of a tragedy.

Translation in Spanish:
Lderes celulares en medio de la tragedia.

La noche del pasado 3 de julio uno de los autobuses que llevaba de regreso a casa a varias familias de nuestra iglesia fue arrastrado por un ro desbordado. La tragedia sucedió unos minutos después de las 9 de la noche.

Unas tres horas después me encontraba en el lugar donde el bus haba desaparecido tragado por el cauce desbordado del ro. Esa noche alrededor de 40 autobuses haban llevado personas a la celebración en la iglesia. ¿Cómo saber quiénes eran las probables vctimas que iban en aquel autobús?

Cada uno de los autobuses que llevan a las personas a la iglesia son contratados por sectores de 1 a 5 células cada uno. El bus de la tragedia haba sido contratado por dos sectores a cargo de un supervisor cada uno. Uno de los supervisores se encontraba dentro del transporte y el otro viajaba un poco más atrás en su vehculo particular.

Al darse el incidente el pastor de esa zona comenzó a levantar una lista de los desaparecidos sobre la base de la información que manejan a través de los lderes de células. A eso de las 2 de la madrugada se tena ya elaborada una lista preliminar de 23 personas desaparecidas. En la medida que los supervisores continuaban contactando a los demás lderes la lista continuaba extendiéndose.

Ya casi amaneciendo el número de personas desaparecidas haba subido a 31. Tenamos sus nombres y edades. La información se haba recolectado por medio de la estructura de células.

En las primeras horas del nuevo da, la Cruz Roja me contactó para preguntarme si tenamos un listado de desaparecidos. Les entregué el listado completo de 31 personas con sus nombres y edades. Ellos se sorprendieron de la exactitud de nuestra información y la recibieron con incredulidad. Lastimosamente, los das que siguieron solamente sirvieron para confirmar que nuestra información era correcta. Nuestros 31 hermanos fallecieron en la tragedia.

Si no fuese por la estructura celular hubiese tomado mucho tiempo identificar a las vctimas de entre los millares que esa noche fueron a la iglesia en el mismo tipo de transporte. La cercana e intimidad que permiten las pequeñas reuniones en casas es útil hasta en medio de la tragedia.