JCG meeting and Day with Joel and Mario


Celyce and I leave on Monday morning for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where we’ll participate in the Joel Comiskey Group (JCG) board meeting (Tuesday and Thursday), and Day with Joel and Mario (Wednesday).

You who are reading this blog know that our main ministry and accountability structure is through JCG. Once each year we come together to pray, build relationships, and plan for the future. On Tuesday, each of us will share from the following four categories: biggest success, biggest Aha moment, what’s working, and greatest challenge. We’ll also share our top three intimacy needs (e.g., encouragement, acceptance, comfort, etc.) and then take time to pray. On Thursday, we’ll dig into vision, goals, and decisions for 2009 and beyond. Please do pray that we might make God-anointed decisions for the upcoming year.

Please also pray for the Day with Joel and Mario. All six board members will be actively participating in this Wednesday event, along with the twelve pastors and leaders who will come specifically for this day. We have planned a very dynamic, interactive time for all participants. Yet, our plans will go nowhere apart from the anointing of the Spirit of God. Please pray for God’s fruit and blessing over each aspect of this first-time event. 

I want to take time to thank the bloggers on this site: Rob Campbell, Jeff Tunnell, Mario Vega, and Steve Cordle. I love the fact that each of the bloggers come from a different size cell church (e.g., 11 cells-Joel, 28 cells-Jeff, 80 cells-Steve, 125 cells-Rob, and 11,000 cells-Mario).

I WANT TO ALSO THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION. We treasure your feedback and appreciate your partnership.

God has great things ahead for all of us in 2009!

Joel Comiskey

Allow the Children to Come to the Lord


by Mario Vega

As we examined our previous experience working with children in the houses, we made another important discovery: children were naturally showing up in the adult cells and that there were even more children than adults attending.

Logic made us think that for each adult cell there was another children’s meeting going on in some corner of that house. But as we did a census, we were surprised to find that only half of the adults’ cells had a separate meeting to minister to children.

That led us to understand that while the average attendance in each cell was nine adults, the average children’s meetings was nineteen. This phenomenon could be explained only by the God-given sensitivity that children possess. Without making a specific effort, the children had been enthusiastically attending the meetings on their own initiative.

It is important to clarify that at the beginning of our cell work, we did not count children’s attendance or either include it in our statistics. Therefore, leaders focused on adults and didn’t pay much attention to children.

So we wondered: if children wanted to come to the Lord without making any specific effort, what would happen if we made an effort to reach them? We also wondered: why not count and include them in the statistics? Aren’t they human beings in need of salvation?

This is how we launched children’s cells, trying to rescue the new generation for Christ.


Translation in Spanish:

Dejad que los niños se acerquen al Señor.

Al examinar nuestra experiencia previa en el trabajo con niños en las casas tuvimos otro descubrimiento importante. Suceda que la asistencia de adultos y la de niños era casi igual en las células de adultos y en las reuniones en un lugar de la casa para entretener a los niños mientras sus padres estaban en la reunión de célula.

La lógica supona que por cada célula de adultos haba una reunión en algún rincón de la casa para los niños. Pero, al hacer un censo nos encontramos con la sorpresa que solamente la mitad de las células de adultos tenan una reunión aparte para entretener a los niños.

Eso nos llevó a comprender que mientras la asistencia promedio a las células era de 9 adultos, en las reuniones de niños el promedio de asistencia era de 19. Ese fenómeno sólo poda explicarse por la naturaleza infantil que es más sensible a las cosas de Dios. Sin hacer un esfuerzo especfico los niños haban estado asistiendo entusiastamente a las reuniones por iniciativa propia.

Es importante aclarar que al principio de nuestro trabajo celular no contábamos la asistencia de los niños ni la incluamos en nuestras estadsticas. Consecuentemente, los lderes se concentraban en los adultos y no ponan mayor atención a los niños.

Entonces nos preguntamos: Sin hacer un esfuerzo los niños quieren venir al Señor ¿qué sucedera si hacemos un esfuerzo por alcanzarlos? También nos preguntamos ¿Por qué no contarlos e incluirlos en las estadsticas? ¿Acaso no son seres humanos necesitados de salvación?

As nos lanzamos a la tarea, nueva para nosotros, de trabajar con células infantiles y lograr rescatar la nueva generación para Cristo.

15, Count Them, Fifteen!

coaches_jeff-150x1501by Jeff Tunnell                  www.bigbearchristiancenter.org

If you are reading the blog on the JCG website, look above and find the tab labled “Articles”.  If you click this tab it will direct you to a resource page that has a left column menu showing a link called Cell Coaching.  Click that title and you will see 15, count them, fifteen, articles on a topic in which we have demonstrated some interest over the last three weeks.  You can read these as you have time and benefit greatly on the subject of Coaching.

The one that stands out to me is Spend Time with the Coach of coachesThree reasons why I am attracted to this article:

  1. I agree with Joel as he says, I’m convinced that the most important book I’ve ever written is called An Appointment with the King. I believe in Appointment with the King so much because it focuses on how to have a daily quiet time with God, getting know His person, His Word, and His presence.”  For me this book is Joel’s best (so far)!
  2. Of all the spiritual disciplines, daily fellowship with the Father is threatened most often by a leader’s busyness.  Coaches MUST have time with God or we will fall into the trap of applying our own “earthly” wisdom to coaching needs instead of the wisdom that comes down from heaven. James 3:17  Let’s guard our daily quiet time with our Father.
  3. I welcomed our most recent addition to the Tunnell family into the world on Tuesday.  Dawson was born to my son & daughter-in-law and when he arrived, he brought this reminder: the Father loves to simply hold us and we should love to be held. Thanks Dawson, you have already begun to teach your grandfather a most important truth!

Next blog will come from Myrtle Beach and the “Day with Joel Comiskey and Mario Vega”. I am so excited to be attending the event along with our other Coaches and Bloggers, Rob Campbell and Steve Cordle!  Pray for us as we meet for the Annual JCG Board Meeting. Thanks.

Foundational Pillars to Produce Missional Living

by Rob Campbell


First, I apologize for using the word “missional” in this blog post title.  It’s a buzz word these days and I’m tired of hearing it.  With that said, today I was with a group of church leaders and pastors who are interested in church planting around the world.  We were discussing some things and one of the presenters was Omar Reyes who is the Glocal (yep, “Glocal”) Impact Director at Northwood Church, Keller, Texas.

He briefly spoke on four “Foundational Pillars to Produce Missional Living.”  It was a captivating and insightful talk.  I thought I would share some of the content with you.  Here we go.

1.  Be about the gospel of the KINGDOM.  Christ spoke extensively about the kingdom of God.  Compare his “kingdom” talks with the the number of times the word “church” appears in the scriptures.  Next, consider that the kingdom of God is the reign and rule of God at any given time or place. 

2.  While membership is important, be about discipleship.  In simplest terms, discipleship is time spent with another person who desires to grow into the likeness of Christ.  Discipleship tools are plentiful; disciplers are the call of the hour.  In other words, it’s about relationship!

3.  Be mindful of SOCIETY.  Notice the spheres of influence (or domains) that exist in society such as economics, education, arts/media, medicine, etc.  When these domains relate well together, there is harmony.  However, when these domains are in conflict, chaos rules.  Here’s a few questions to ponder:  How can God use you to bless these domains?   How can the grace, love, and mercy of Christ flow through these domains?  How could you assist the mayor of your city in accomplishing something good for the city?  Do you know what the greatest need is at your local public school? 

4.  From these three before mentioned pillars, allow God to raise up his church.

In a nutshell, I could summarize these foundational pillars by saying, “Serve and bless your city and watch God birth your cell (church).”


Commitment to the Local Church

joelWe in the cell church world believe that both cell and celebration are the church. The natural result of this conviction is to encouage active participation in a cell group as a prerequsiste for membership.

Yet some might ask, “why membership?” Or, “why must I belong to one local church?” Why not just float from congregation to congregation, belonging to the body of Christ at large? Why do we even talk about commitment to one local church?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately in my attempt to explain to an uncommitted family in our cell group why it’s important to join a local church. In my first conversation with the husband, I stumbled and bumbled. I didn’t want to appear legalistic or overbearing but ended up giving him fuzzy, unclear signals. The next morning, however, the Lord spoke to me clearly and reminded me why each believer needs to be committed to a local church.

Scripture says in Hebrews 13:17, Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” God reminded me that He has ordained the local church to “watch over the souls” of believers. The local church is God’s vehicle to take care of believers. When a person joins the local church, he or she is placing himself under God-ordained leadership. The person is saying, I will receive spiritual direction from the local church leadership, and I will also contribute to the local church (e.g., tithing, using his or her gifts, etc.).

I live in California. We have a lot of illegal immigrants in this part of the world. An illegal alien can’t receive the full benefits of the government, nor can he or she truly contribute to the nation. Those who hop from church to church are a lot like illegal aliens. They neither contribute to the needs of the local church, nor receive the full benefits of pastoral care and discipline. They are constantly wandering (like one couple who attended our church for 1.5 years without ever saying, ‘this is my church’).

The next week after the cell, I told this husband that he and his family needed to make a decision to join one local church and submit to the pastoral leadership. I told him that if he and his family made a decision to join our local church, he wasn’t making a life-time decision. He could always leave later on. But if and when he did leave, I would then encourage him to once again find one local church. I even told him that I didn’t feel comfortable taking his family through the training track unless he was called to be part of our church. Why? Because as his pastor, I wanted to know that I had the spiritual authority to minister into his life.

What do you think about this? What has your experience been in this area?


Joel Comiskey