Staying Focused–Seeing Clearly

jefJeff Tunnell here, pinch hitting for Steve Cordle.I just cleaned my glasses! Once again I am surprised by how much accumulation can occur SEEINGwithout my really noticing. I just plow ahead thinking I am seeing clearly when all the while my sight is being slightly blurred and clouded, almost imperceptibly.

Then I looked up at the bookshelf above my little desk and looking back at me was a hotel brochure for The Hampton Inn & Suites, Myrtle Beach – Ocean Front, in South Carolina. This is where the “Basic Principles of Cell Ministry” and “A Day with Joel Comiskey and Mario Vega” events will be held in February, 2009. (If you receive this blog to your email inbox without going through the JCG website, please visit the home page for additional information on these events).

Putting these two paragraphs together: As Cell church pastors and leaders we always have much to do that is both daily, and demanding. The dust of life accumulates on our original vision of multiplying leaders and birthing new cells in order to reach our communities for Jesus Christ. Occasionally, we need to “clean the lens of life” and do something to rekindle our passion and vision.

May I suggest you join me in attending one of the events provided by Joel Comiskey Group next February? I am keeping the hotel brochure right where it is, and keeping my glasses clean enough to see it – thereby retaining my focus on the goal of growth, both corporately and personally. Myrtle Beach is a very nice place to be in February!!

What is Your Name?

by Rob Campbell 

Joel’s post yesterday reflected upon recovery cells.  What an awesome mix, eh?  People who desire to be whole and…cell life.  When we participate with the Spirit of God in the context of community hope is instilled into our hearts.

One day Jesus encountered a demoniac.  Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”  He replied, “Legion.”  Who gave him that name?  Certainly, it wasn’t his parents.  It probably was the community folks who lived by the sea.  He resided in a graveyard.  This was a man of great rejection and he was the subject of “lock down” and “throw away the key.”  As time faded, he began to reject himself by mutilating his own body.

Why did Jesus ask him, “What is your name?”  Nobody knows for sure, but let me share one thought.  Wholeness only comes to us when we face our fragmented lives.  Could it be that Jesus wanted the demoniac to say his name as a starting place for his pathway to wholeness and healing?  “I am Legion….[Hundreds and hundreds of evil spirits indwell me]…Yes, this is who I am.”

Notice as well that Jesus did not avoid or ignore him.  He didn’t send one of his disciples to “take care” of Legion.  By asking his name, Jesus is extending himself to Legion.  It is a form of acceptance.  It wasn’t what Legion usually encountered.  He was used to rejection, not acceptance.

Do you see the connection?  Legion’s name clearly identified what he needed from Jesus.  It’s not as cut and dry in this life, is it?  Our name does not generally reveal what we need from Jesus.  Yet, we are fragmented in need of a touch from Jesus.  We all need recovery in the context of community– your cell members.

May your cell have the courage to face our fragmented lives and cooperate with God’s Spirit pursuing a new level of wholeness.

On a related note:  Pastor Bobby Arnold leads Cypress Creek Church’s network of recovery cells.  Check this ministry out at:  www.cypresscreekchurch/wimberley/cr/index.shtml



God’s Work through Recovery Cells

joelCelyce and I had the privilege of attending Jeff and Peggy Tunnell’s 30th anniversary one week ago. While there, we talked with Mike Erickson, the CELLSassociate pastor at Big Bear Christian Center. Mike told me what was happening in his network of cell groups, and my heart lept with joy for the many people getting saved and baptized. I asked him to write his testimony down to share with you on this blog. Here goes.

Mike Erickson writes:

April 9th of this year we were having our normal cell in the home of Keith and Patty White. This cell is a recovery cell, a cell in the truest sense yet the attraction is the group of people coming out of drugs and alcohol. This particular night there were seven in the cell and quickly we found out that five of the seven were not saved or didn’t know for sure about their salvation. Keith said, “The next week we are going to show The Passion of the Christ and everyone can get saved.” So the next week we did, with about 8 or 9 in attendance and about four or five were saved in a time of prayer after the movie.

One couple, Harry and Tracy, were saved that night. Harry had written his testimony for my book Recovery Cells: Small Groups for People in Recovery but at the time of the book’s release, Harry had relapsed and moved away from Big Bear. In March of this year, he told Tracy, “I am taking you to Big Bear, we are going to the cell group, find God, get baptized and get married.” They were saved at the viewing of the Passion, and baptized with two others, two weeks later. They entered marriage counseling and were married June 7th. About 75 people from the recovery community were at the wedding. . Harry and Tracy are now growing in Jesus and getting for our Encounter Weekend in August.

The week following the viewing of the Passion, we taught on water baptism and the week after that four were baptized. The excitement of that baptism has resulted in four more baptisms this year, including one scheduled for next week.

The follow-up of these people is so important. Right now we are helping most of them in the training track and have organized an Encounter Weekend in the home of Keith and Patty. The Encounter will be limited to 12 people, designed for an intimate encounter with God. After that the goal is to train some of them to be leaders and multiply new cells before the end of the year.

God is on the move!!




Joel Comiskey

P.S.: Dr. Mike Erickson can be reached at:


Thanks for Your Prayers

marioby Mario Vega

On July 3rd a bus that was returning from church with our brethren, after the celebration service, was confronted by the overflow of the Acelhuate floodRiver that runs through the entire city of San Salvador. The overflow occurred amid a violent storm.

After 15 minutes caught in a current that grew stronger and stronger, the bus started to be dragged until it was thrown to the ravine of the river where the force of water smashed it into pieces.

31 members of our church were killed in this tragedy. 11 cell leaders were among them, a supervisor and a hostess.

Only three bodies could be rescued on the day after the tragedy. Several days passed before other bodies could be located. Some of them70 kilometers (43.5 miles) away from the place where the bus was onslaught.

I want to thank those who expressed their condolences and solidarity in this blog. As well as those who did so through e-mails.

At the time of writing this note there are still two bodies to be recovered. Your prayers will be very important to find them and to strengthen and console the victims’ families.

Thanks again for your prayers,




El pasado 3 de julio un bus que regresaba con hermanos de la iglesia, después del culto de celebración, fue embestido por un desborde del ro Acelhuate que atraviesa toda la ciudad de San Salvador. El desborde se produjo en medio de una fuerte tormenta.

Después de unos 15 minutos de quedar atrapado en la corriente que creca más y más, el bus comenzó a ser arrastrado hasta ser arrojado a la hondonada del ro donde la fuerza del agua fue estrellándolo hasta hacerlo pedazos.

En la tragedia fallecieron 31 miembros de nuestra iglesia. Entre ellos se encontraban 11 lderes de células, un supervisor y una anfitriona.

Al da siguiente de la tragedia solamente fue posible rescatar tres cuerpos. Pasaron varios das para que pudieran ser localizados otros cuerpos. Algunos de ellos a 70 kilómetros de distancia del lugar en que el bus fue embestido.

Por este medio deseo agradecer a las personas que manifestaron sus condolencias y solidaridad en este blog. De igual manera a aquellos que lo hicieron a través de correos electrónicos.

Al momento de redactar esta nota todava hace falta localizar y rescatar dos cuerpos más. Sus oraciones serán muy importantes para encontrarlos y para que las familias de las vctimas sean fortalecidas y consoladas.

What Price for Success?

jeffJeff Tunnell, pinch hitting for Steve Cordle. The recent news from El Salvador, combined with Pastor Mario Vega’s blog last Friday, has challenged principlesmy mind – and I am attempting to wrestle those thoughts down into my heart. There is a price for “success” in cell ministry. I know this, but still refuse to get out my spiritual wallet and put my money where my mouth is.

In Joel’s books, Reap the Harvest, (ch 3) and, From 12 to 3, (pgs 32-33), I compiled a list of 21 principles of cell church. I refer to the first one on my list as our primary “price” for success; “Dependence on Jesus Christ through prayer”.

The “successful” cell ministries around the world pay this price FIRST and God answers by granting the souls and growth. Many of us want the growth that speaks of success, but lower the price for winning souls in prayer. We hear of, and may have visited Prayer Mountain in Korea, or seen the people pray at ELIM in El Salvador. I was ministered to personally, by the prayer team at Cypress Creek Church under the leadership of Pastor Rob Campbell. This occurred in the specifically designed, architecturally included, Prayer Room that is the FIRST part of their worship center. You must pass this room to enter their Celebrations. They have thoughtfully decided to pay the price for success in Wimberly, Texas.

Principles are always principles; we cannot reduce or shape them to our liking. We may work WITH them and find exciting ways of APPLYING them, but we must always give them the respect and allegiance deserved. Principles change us, we do not change them! Prayer first, is the first principle and price for success!

What price(s) have you PLANNED to pay for the success you desire in Cell Ministry? Or, what prices are you paying now for the failures you experience in Cell Ministry?