Staffing Questions in the Cell Church

joelI have the privilege of coaching pastors of churches from various sizes and different places in the cell journey. One church I’m coaching is in the single cell stage, has no celebration, and is preparing to multiply into two cells. Another church has 650, meets weekly in celebration and is transitioning to the cell church strategy.

Another church I’m coaching is right in-between. It started as a cell church, lost focus along the way, and asked me to coach them to retool and refocus. This church of 300 has approximately twenty cell groups and recently asked for counsel about hiring new staff. The pastor asked:

“How important is it to add a full time pastoral staff position to take the load off me, versus adding a part time person?” (one of his administrative team members insisted they hire a fulltime person, while others were open to either option).

I gave my opinion, but I told him that I would seek outside counsel. I asked Steve Cordle what he thought. As the founder of a church that now has 70 cells and 1200 worship attendance on 2 campuses, I knew Steve had loads of advice and experience.

Steve wrote saying, “Part-time people are preferable in my book: they often work well beyond their expected hours, and you can get two part-time for less than the cost of a full-time. Quite often they will produce more. The part-time role allows you to see how a person is doing before moving to a full-time role.”
The pastor of the church of 300 then asked, â€œShould I get an experienced fulltime pastor from outside who could lift stuff off my shoulders or hire someone from within, who might have less experience but who shares our vision and values.”

Steve Cordle replied, “If you stay focused on cell and celebration you won’t have to chase too many other things as you keep executing the ministry of the church through the cells. Hiring a part-time cell person sounds good, but hiring a part-time cell pastor from within is to be preferred. You know them, they know you, there is little danger of philosophical difference, and it models ministry advancement to the rest of the church. Make sure the person you hire has multiplied a cell and has the ability to influence others. The beauty of hiring from within is that you can see this in your own context before hiring. If there is no one suitable from within to hire and you hire from the outside, only hire someone who has done it already. Many can talk about cell ministry with conviction, fewer do it well. Make sure you set very clear expectations of their role: that the result of their ministry to measured in the number of healthy cells, and the adult discipleship is directly related to the cell ministry.”

I thought Steve’s advice was so right on, I wanted to pass it on to you.

What do you think?

Joel Comiskey

The First Contact

marioby Mario Vega

In the process of inviting a new guest to the cell, the first step is to make contact. The goal is to develop a relationship with the person and then friendshipeventually invite him or her to the cell. Joel Comiskey tells the story of how he would “do things in his yard ” with the goal of getting the chance to make contact with his neighbors. That first contact could be a simple greeting, but, then it could be cultivated into a much closer relationship.

Pastor Cho mentions how his members spend time going up and down in their apartments’ tower elevator only to meet “by chance” with a neighbor that could be helped with their shopping bag or children.

We should take full advantage of that first contact when we’re seeking to serve people. We can continue with the process of inviting this person to the cell meeting when this first contact is transformed into a friendly relationship.



El primer contacto.
En el proceso de hacer un invitado se debe procurar un primer contacto para iniciar una relación de amistad con la persona a quien se pretende invitar a la célula.
Joel Comiskey me ha contado de cómo inverta tiempo en ‘cuidar’ su jardn solamente por tener la oportunidad de tener un primer contacto ‘de casualidad’ con sus vecinos. Ese primer contacto poda ser un simple saludo; pero, que luego poda cultivarse como una más estrecha relación.
Por su parte, el Pastor Cho menciona cómo sus miembros invierten tiempo subiendo y bajando en el ascensor en su torre de apartamentos solamente para encontrarse ‘por casualidad’ con algún vecino al cual ayudar con su bolsa de comprados o con los niños.
Ese primer contacto se aprovecha al máximo en la búsqueda de servir a las personas. Cuando de ese primer contacto se transforma en una relación de amistad se puede continuar con el proceso de invitación de la persona a la célula.



Stuck In My Heart & Head

Jeff Tunnellby jeff Tunnell

Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah! Thine the glory; Revive us again!  The words kept running through my heart and head.  Sitting to write I couldn’t shut off the familiar tune rolling over and over in my spirit and so I yielded.  It was a cry coming from within after reflecting on the subject of prayer again. Revival is bringing back to the “normal” state something that is waning toward expiring.Worship knees.jpg Oh how much we need this in our worship of the Almighty.

Prayer, the outpouring of the heart to our Father, needs this reviving. Unrestrained worship as lifestyle, not simply a duty-filled, compartmentalized practice that fits neatly into a segment of my day.  Prayer without ceasing; love without restriction. Comfortable conversation with Jesus and power-filled intercession guided by the Holy Spirit.

To come again as the child with faith that is simple and trusting. Believing once again that our Father in heaven can do anything in response to believing prayer. Pastor Mario Vega’s blogs on this subject are stirring me.  Prayer dependency is a waning area of spiritual discpline in the western church.  We can operate celebrations without much prayer in them.  We know how to choreograph the meetings to look good and flow pretty seamlessly from beginning to end – but where is prayer?  We have songs with words about US and how God meets OUR needs, but when do we lean into our need for Him?

Worship child.jpgMake us like children, revive us again to the simple dependency of faith in the Greater One!

Happy Thanksgiving (whether in the USA or not!)

Celebration and Cell Connection

by Rob Campbell

Hats off to Michael Sove for his comments on Joel’s last post.  Simply put, his ideas are excellent concerning the cell/celebration connection.  With that said, my post today is a simple encouragement for you to read Michael’s comments.  Go back to Joel’s latest post and click on “comments.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all, Rob

Cells Celebrating Together

joelIn my last blog, I shared that many cell churches bring the cells together weekly, while others choose to do so monthly, or every other week. Celebration in a cell church, like other evangelical churches, should highlight worship and the preaching/teaching of God’s Word.

The distinction of celebration in the cell church is that it’s truly a time for the cells to come together. Many cell churches, for example, emphasize this fact by:

• asking a cell member who has been transformed through relational ministry—new friendships, special ministry times—to share what God has done
• hearing the testimony of someone who has received healing within the cell group
• presenting a new multiplication leader to the entire church

Those attending the Sunday celebration need to realize that the primary pastoral services of the church are offered through the cell system. If they need ministry and help, they can find it in a loving cell group.

I’ve always encouraged pastors to personally lead a cell group. Why? One of the reasons is because personal involvement allows the pastor to freely add cell examples to sermons. When a pastor who is personally involved in a cell talks about the need for community, body-life evangelism, leadership development, and the use of the gifts of the Spirit, that pastor can tie in personal involvement in cell life, drawing on a variety of illustrations and testimonies from real life. Soon the congregation begins to realize that cell life is the normal Christian life and that attending the celebration service is only one part of that reality. They soon realize that they must also be involved in cell to capture the full benefits of what the church really is.

If you’re planting a cell church, just keep it simple.

If you’re transitioning to the cell church, there are some thing you can do that will help your transtion. Take the bulletin. Cell ministry can find a great friend in the bulletin or other advertisements in the church. I suggest that the bulletin in the cell church highlight a cell testimony of how people’s lives have been transformed through cell ministry. Cell announcements should be given priority space so that those visiting will immediately see the heartbeat of the church and know where to go to get involved in a cell group.

One church I coached had thirty cells and two hundred worshippers. The bulletin in this church was a two-sided sheet of paper, listing all the cell groups each week on the front page. The statement made each Sunday was this: “We’re pastoring our people through cell ministry.”

A visitor to the celebration service should be able to detect the philosophy and priority of the church from the Sunday morning service. Some churches have book tables; larger ones even have bookstores. I encourage cell-based churches to have a cell information table where they lay out relevant books on cell ministry, the weekly cell lesson, a box to place cell reports, and other pertinent information about cell ministry.

It’s a great idea to post in the foyer a map of the city with each cell group pinned on it. This map explains where the cells are located, their focus (e.g., family cells, women’s cells, youth cells, etc.), and when they meet. A volunteer worker or secretary should be available to answer questions each week and connect new people to cell ministry.

It’s not easy to adapt to the cell model. People are accustomed to their old ways and habits. They must be reminded of the cell church focus by what they see in church during the worship service.

What have you done to connect cell and celebration?