D.Min course with Ralph Neighbour

joelRob Campbell asked me to share once again about my experience here in Texas at the cell symposium. The word “symposium” means “a formal meeting held for the discussion of a particular subject and during which individuals may make presentations.” The symposium, facilitated by Ralph Neighbour, was sponsored by the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary, and took place at Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas. Immediately following the symposium was the Golden Gate Seminary’s D.Min course on cell church that Ralph Neighbour is in charge of. Ralph asked me to teach two full days (I just finished yesterday). I wondered beforehand how I’d feel with Ralph Neighbour and Bill Beckham in the classroom while I taught. It actually worked out very well. Both of them positively contributed to the teaching and all eleven of us were enriched.

I was amazed to hear how extensively Ralph has visited cell churches around the world. He spoke from such a deep reservoir of experience. I was also impressed by Bill Beckham. Bill always has something uplifting to say and truly has a heart for Christ’s church. I didn’t know that in 1983 Bill Beckham felt God call him to link himself with Ralph Neighbour. Those two have been inseparable ever since. They live near each other and talk daily. Their wives also spend lots of daily time with each other.

Ralph is now 80 years old. He’s passing on his years of experience of cell church ministry to a new generation. No one knows the exact future of the cell church around the world. We do know that Christ is the head of the church, and we’re in good hands with Christ in control. As I ate breakfast with Ralph Neighbour and his first born son this morning (his son is also named Ralph and was part of the D.Min course), my heart filled with joy for the life of a pioneer who has blessed Christ’s body with penetrating truths. Will we continue to carry the torch? Comments?

Joel Comiskey

Desertion of Leaders


by Mario Vega

The desertion of cell leaders is an unavoidable reality. As in any army at war where dropouts do occur, there are also those who fall-out in the battle of faith.

Desertions affect the multiplication of cells. Cell multiplication occurs only when leaders multiply. But if new leaders have to be continually used to replace those who dropout, much of the multiplying force will be lost.

Some desertions occur for unavoidable reasons. For example, change of address, death, and emigration. But another part of drop-outs occur for a common reason: lack of discipleship. Ideally, every leader should be also a disciple. However, this always the case. A disciple of Christ is someone who follows the example and footsteps of the Master, which includes obeying His Word and sacrificially serving Him.

Cell churches should extend their effort widely to make every believer a disciple. By doing this, the level of desertion will be greatly reduced and only those cases that are strictly unavoidable will remain. Yet, if new leaders are just trained and a cell is handed to them, desertions will continue. The goal is to shape them into disciples who will live consistent, godly lives for Jesus.



En Español

Deserción de lderes.

La deserción de lderes es una realidad inevitable en todo trabajo celular. Al igual que en un ejército en guerra, en el cual se producen deserciones, también en la batalla de la fe se dan deserciones.

Las deserciones afectan la multiplicación de las células. La multiplicación de las células sólo se produce cuando los lderes se multiplican. Pero si continuamente se deben colocar nuevos lderes en las vacantes de los desertores, parte de la fuerza multiplicadora se perderá.

Algunas deserciones se producen por causas inevitables. Por ejemplo, cambio de domicilio, muerte, emigración. Pero, otra parte de las deserciones se producen por una razón común: la falta de discipulado. No es lo mismo capacitar a una persona para que sea lder que hacer discpulo a una persona. Lo ideal sera que todo lder sea al mismo tiempo un discpulo.

Un discpulo de Cristo es alguien que sigue el ejemplo y las pisadas del Maestro. Obedece a su Palabra y le sirve de manera sacrificial. Las iglesias celulares deben extender un esfuerzo amplio por hacer discpulos a todos los creyentes. De esa manera, el nivel de deserción se verá grandemente reducido y solamente quedarán aquellos casos estrictamente inevitables. Si solamente se capacitan nuevos lderes y se les entrega una célula las deserciones continuarán; pero, si se les hace discpulos, su servicio al Señor será mucho más consistente.


Prayer First

coach-tunnellby Jeff Tunnell

Antioch Community Church in Waco, Texas, is hosting the Cell Symposium this week! What a wonderful setting for writing today’s blog.  Participating in this historic event is a privilege and fun at the same time. 300 attendees from all parts of the world, discussing the state of the cell church in God’s economy while developing strategies for advancement of the Kingdom of God in the earth; pinch me, am I awake or dreaming?

The key area of focus woven into every message and conversation here at the Symposium is PRAYER FIRST.  Without this posture toward the work to which God has called us, our efforts are mere struggles to accomplish His task with our strength. Now there’s the wrong tool for the right job!

Personal growth is a requirement for all Christians; leaders embrace this responsibility. Rehearsing the axiom that “I cannot lead where I will not go, and I cannot teach what I do not know” is reasonable.

So, how is your prayer life?  In the conversations here, some quick “averages” of prayer, devotions, intercession and the “work” of prayer (as I see it) would come be: more than one hour daily, sincere prayer with others in the cell every week, a corporate meeting once or twice per month, and responses to urgent prayer gatherings for the church interspersed regularly on a frequent “as needed” basis. (These meetings are often being requested by government officials for intervention in civil disturbances!)

Reading books about prayer, talking about it and preaching/teaching about it, is necessary. However, these are no substitute for actually praying! We must pray. Let us determine to grow personally in PRAYER FIRST.

May I invite you to participate in the stream of conversation here this week?  Increase your fellowship with the Father and His family. Devote yourself to prayer. Colossians 4:2

The Army of God (notes from Dion Robert)

joelAllow me to share with you some things God has been doing this past week. Please read the fourth paragraph about my interview with Dion Robert:

Wednesday through Saturday: A “Cell Church Mission Conference” in Monterrey, Mexico from Wednesday to Saturday with Mario Vega, Ben Wong, and Robert Lay at Noe Salinas Church (2000 members in 250 cells). Powerful time talking to the 550 registered attendees about cells and missions. CCMN is trying to establish a mission sending network among cell churches throughout South America. This is our third congress.

Sunday: Preaching at a cell church in Santiago, Mexico on Sunday. This church is part of Rob Campbell’s network, and Rob asked me to minister there. Powerful time. It felt good to be in a smaller church that has grown to 10 cells and is continuing to reach out and multiply.

Monday until now:  Waco, Texas, hanging out in the room of Jim Lassiter, the translator and co-worker of Dion Robert, founder and pastor of the Baptists Works and Mission church (193,000 people). I had the incredible privilege of interviewing Dion Robert as we drove from the Dallas airport to Waco, Texas (2 hours). First, Dion is an incredible man. He insisted on carrying my bags for me. He would not allow me to sit in the back seat, asking me to sit in the front. He has a very humble demeanor, but very strong convictions. Dion sees his church as an army. His goal is to make disciples–not attendees. He learned how to organize this army by reading Numbers 18, where Jethro told Moses to organize the people into groups of 10s, 100s, and 1000s. “But how did your church grow so large?” I asked him. “Decrentralization,” was one of the answers he gave me. His 193,000 member church is organized around smaller local cell churches throughout the world. They are an army and share vision, cell messages, and ministries. Their main message is based on Luke 4:18-19–setting the captives free.

I have pages of notes, but I’ll stop there. The opening banquet for the cell symposium is in a few minutes.



Missions and the Cell Church


by Mario Vega

Most of the unreached people today are located in Muslim countries or in restricted countries to the Gospel. Under these conditions, it is not possible to perform the traditional role of missionary church planting.

Missionary work must be done slowly, carefully and practically in a clandestine way. This is where the work of cell church shines since the church members are trained and accustomed to delivering the Gospel person to person and from house to house. Joel Comiskey has said: “The same work that a leader performs multiplying a cell in his own country can be done on the mission field.” From that standpoint, every leader is potentially a missionary.

It’s easy for cell chruches to only focus on themselves. Yet, God wants to give them a vision of evangelizing unreached people groups as well. These are the topics that we are discussing right now in Monterrey, Mexico at the III Latin American Consultation of Cell Church and Mission network.

What do you think about these ideas?


Translation in Spanish:

Las misiones y las iglesias celulares.

Gran parte de los pueblos no alcanzados hoy en da se encuentras ubicados en pases musulmanes o muy cerrados al evangelio. En esas condiciones el realizar un trabajo misionero tradicional que consiste en fundar una nueva iglesia no es posible.

El trabajo misionero debe ser hecho de manera lenta, cuidadosa y prácticamente en la clandestinidad. Es all donde el trabajo de las iglesias celulares resulta importante ya que los miembros de estas iglesias se encuentran entrenados y acostumbrados a llevar el evangelio persona a persona y de casa en casa.

Joel Comiskey ha dicho: ‘El mismo trabajo que un lder realiza multiplicando una célula en su pas es el que debe hacer en el campo misionero.’ Desde ese punto de vista, todo lder es un misionero en potencia.

Las iglesias celulares que hasta hoy se han concentrado en el crecimiento y en s mismas deben levantar la mirada para dirigir sus capacidades adquiridas hacia la evangelización de los pueblos no alcanzados.

Temas como éste son los que se desarrollan en la Tercera Consulta Latinoamérica de la Red de Iglesias Celulares que se desarrolla en Monterrey la presente semana.

¿Qué piensas de éstas ideas?