by Jeff Tunnell
Joel asked us to share our highlights on the Cell Symposium so I’ll follow up here. My time there was ENORMOUS and powerful. Seeing the “heads of state” for the cell movement in one place at one time was awe inspiring. Hearing from them each-in-turn was a privilege not to be squandered. Holy Spirit presence was granted in the gathering and I believe the Father was pleased to overseee everything said and done. Hats off to the servants at Antioch Community Church and Pastor Jimmy Siebert for their exceptional hosting of this historic event.
A personal sensitivity in my life presently is toward prayer. At the symposium I heard distinctly that the major weakness in the Western churh (as observed by our friends outside the USA) is that “it does not pray”. We teach about it, write books about it, preach on the subject , lead Bible studies and tell others to pray, but bottom line, we do not pray much. Little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power. That saying was coined by our far east brothers as I recall. Our dependency on self has left us with just that for our assistance. We are not able to accomplish much when we are depending on ourselves.
Dion Robert’s portrayal of a 15 year old cell leader, along with his cell group, raising someone from the dead was a poignant example of the Kingdom of God coming and the will of God being done, on earth as it is in heaven! This apostolic man pastors 194,000 people through his cell ministry in Ivory Coast,West Africa. His practical approach to God and His word led me to note “God-led and Bible-based, that’s all we need!” As a General in God’s army, Dion called us to die to self and come alive in Christ for the advance of His kingdom. He said the Lord needs more “dead men” to get the battles won! Whew!
Bill Beckham’s presentation still loops in my mind and heart. He compared the various “dimensions” of the church: Discipleship, Community, Task, Public, Network and Universal. With these components in hand he moved on to demonstrate the part of the church that accomplishes each: Simple church, House church, Para church, Traditional church, Historical denomination, Catholic church (respectively). I do hope this will be posted to the Symposium website for review as it was very full and complete, concluding with a comment that cell church embraces and accomplishes all dimensions when Jesus is at the center! (go to the FAQ tab for downloadable materials)
Another clear-cut message from our international friends is this; if the American church fails in this hour of testing, the world-wide Christian community will be severly weakened. They still look to us for leadership on the global scene, but fear that we will wash out in this hour. May God strengthen our spiritual spinal cord in this nation to rise to the challenge of repentance and sincere pursuit of God’s face instead of our preoccupation with His hand. (Him vs. His blessing)
The streams flowed together, may a mighty river be the result!