coach-tunnellby Jeff Tunnell

Motorcycles, Boats, Values, Principles, Prayer, Vision, Focus, Patriot Zeal, Mechanical Ministry, Pep Talks, Context, Football, Be alone with God, Ask Him, Transparency, Results, Obedience, Self denial, Solutions, Crop Rotation; these are the lifelines you threw to me after last week’s blog – thank you!

Now that I am safely out of the water, (no longer drowning) my breathing has returned to normal and you have helped me to see that it’s good to be alive!

I often tell others “Principles always work: Principles change us, we do not change them”.  In light of my present conditions I will adopt the following responses;

Not owning a boat or motorcycle, I will find another method to relax and pull back somewhat to gain a new perspective.

I will focus on spending additional time with our Father, alone in His presence, and ask Him for direction and wisdom.

I will sincerely develop relational ministry especially in the area of edifying present cell leaders.

I will not abandon goals or record keeping, but place them in proper perspective and balance their timeframes to more closely reflect reality (instead of the ideals I may have).

I will embrace obedience over convenience in running the race set before me with perseverance.

I will revisit the Values on which cell ministry is founded to strengthen my resolve to live by them.

I will continue to be transparent and openly honest with co-laborers in God’s field.

AND I will be GRATEFUL, for faith, family and friends (like those who read the blog and freely lend their support to fulfill the “one anothers” of scripture).

In all of these, I will lean the full weight of my trust into Jesus and live by His grace (otherwise the “I will”s are futile and possibly fatal).


Helping Cells Develop a Heart for the Nations


by Michael Sove (filling in this week for Rob Campbell)

Last year around this time God began to send me pastors from the nations who were seeking encouragement and even mentoring in cell churchINDIA4 principles. In a very short period of time I had twelve pastors from nine nations who I was in constant communication with. I felt God prompting me to begin the International Cell Church Prayer Network. The idea here was to pray for each other across the nations and build friendships through prayer. I would send out a weekly update highlighting one of these pastors and their ministry needs and prayer requests. When you pray for people you have never met you really develop a heart for them. God used the following verse to capture my heart.

Isaiah 56:7 NCV “I will bring these people to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. The offerings and sacrifices they place on my altar will please me, because my Temple will be called a house for prayer for people from all nations.”

INDIA2After catching the vision for praying for the nations, I began to include our cell groups in this as well. I wanted the cell groups to have a heart for the nations and to think outside of their own needs and the needs of our church. Cell groups could adopt these pastors and their ministries for prayer and as God would lead, they could focus on a practical project as well. One common thing I found in the pastors from the nations is that they had many struggles when it came to basic needs and supplies such as Bibles for distribution in their language.


Some of our cells raised money for Pakistan and were able to provide 500 Bibles and 5 bikes for Pastors. Recently a few cells were able to contribute for Bibles for some Indian pastors as well. During the witness portion of our weekly cell gatherings, the cells pray for the pastor they have adopted as well as praying for those we’re trying to reach locally.

When a cell experiences the blessing of getting involved directly in foreign missions, they will never be the same. Recently one of the pastors from India asked the cell group who was praying for him to help him come up with a name for his church and ministry. One of my dreams is for the cells not only to pray and contribute to these pastors on the front-lines, but also to take short term trips together to go and experience ministry face to face with those they have been praying for.



Not Giving Up

joelLast week on the JCG blog, I wrote, “I can make my best effort under His sovereign grace to write the best books possible and to minister to people in the most effective, diligent way I know how. But then I have to leave the results to God.”

You’ll remember I highlighted book sales and church growth as two areas in which I often start demanding God to do what I want him to do. God is teaching me, however, that I need to do my part and then leave the results in His hands.

About a year ago, I ministered in a cell church in the Midwest. The church was a model of cell church growth for a number of years, but then it stagnated. The founding pastor felt like he should be seeing growth each year and began to feel like a failure when it stopped appearing. I was very impressed with the life and excitement in the church, but the pastor was down on himself because he didn’t feel successful. “I’m fed up,” he told me. “I’ve just lost interest. Maybe I should be doing something else.” I preached in his church on Sunday and was encouraged by God’s work in the church. But once again the pastor began to condemn himself because the church wasn’t growing each year. He told me that he felt like a failure and that perhaps he should simply leave the church. I listened intently, but eventually I found myself saying, “Who brings the growth? You do many thing well, but you have a problem in trusting God’s sovereignty to bring growth in your church. You need to hang in there until it happens.” His wife, knowing I had hit a raw nerve, encouraged him to listen closely.

When I arrived home in California, I still felt burdened by my conversation with the pastor. Why? Because he’s not alone in his struggles. So many pastors don’t hang in the saddle long enough. They don’t trust God’s sovereign hand to bring the growth and give the eventual victories. They leave too early.

Is there a time when God calls pastors and leaders to move on? O yes. However, moving on when we feel like a failure is not the best time to move. My counsel is to hang in there. The blessing will come. God wants to reach lost souls and make disciples. And He also wants to use you and me in the process. I’ve discovered that leading a church is often more about what God wants to do through me than others. When His lessons are finished in my own life, He then brings the desired growth. God is going to move, but He will do things in His timing. Are we willing to hang in there until God moves? What do you think?

Joel Comiskey

Counseling in the Cell Church


by Mario Vega

When a church has thousands of members, the counseling ministry can not follow the traditional model of a few pastors counseling each one of the members. It wouldn’t take long to discover that needs weren’t being met and that new measures would have to be implmented. At Elim, we work under the Jethro Model. I’m not just talking about structure. I’m talking about the core essence of Jethro’s counsel: that each person receives adequate attention. In our system, each leader is responsible for providing counseling to his or her cell members. When a case exceeds the leader’s advising ability or if the leader doesn’t know what to do, the leader transfers the case to the supervisor.

If the supervisor feels that his counseling ability has been exceeded, he transfers the case to the Zone Pastor. Normally, most cases are solved at this level. However, there are situations that are still too complicated or require more specialized help process. In this scenario, the Zone Pastor refers these difficult cases to the District Pastor or directly to me.

The model is not overly rigid. A person can go directly to his Zone Pastor and be cared for. Obviously, many would want to be ministered to by the Senior Pastor, but most people at our church were born again within the Jethro model and thus it’s very normal for them to follow the step by step process.

Without the Jethro model, it would be impossible to truly minister to every case—even if each day was devoted to counseling.



Consejera en una iglesia celular.

Cuando una iglesia posee miles de miembros el tema de la consejera no puede seguir el modelo tradicional de un pastor aconsejando a cada uno de ellos. Pronto se percibirá que se deben adoptar medidas mucho más amplias para cubrir la necesidad de consejera.

En nuestro caso, trabajamos con el modelo Jetro. No solamente en el sentido de la estructura sino más en el sentido esencial del consejo de Jetro: la atención adecuada.

Cada lder es responsable por ofrecer consejera a los miembros de su célula. Cuando un caso sobrepasa la capacidad de asesora del lder o no está seguro del camino que se debe seguir, traslada el caso al supervisor.

En caso que el supervisor se sienta rebasado en su capacidad de consejero, traslada el caso al Pastor de Zona. Normalmente, es en éste nivel donde se resuelven casi todos los casos. No obstante, hay situaciones que a veces se vuelven muy complicadas o requieren un proceso más especializado de ayuda. El Pastor de Zona suele remitir esos casos difciles al Pastor de Distrito o directamente a m.

El modelo no es excesivamente rgido. Una persona puede ir directamente a su Pastor de Zona y ser atendida. Obviamente, muchos quisieran ser atendidos por el Pastor Principal. Pero, la mayor parte de personas han nacido dentro de el modelo Jetro y para ellos es normal el ser ayudados de la manera que se ha explicado. De otra forma sera imposible atender cada caso aunque se dedicara todo el da a ello.

Help Me!

coach-tunnellby Jeff Tunnell

Oh No! My cells are falling apart around me.  Leaders do not report regularly, attendance in cells is down, spiritual direction is not cohesive (every man does what is right in his own eyes), Christian events within our town offer short-lived experiences that compete with steady discipleship and community within the body of Christ.  New people are not being assimilated into cells, no salvations and only one water baptism this month, ushers don’t “ush” and deacons don’t “deac”, while elders meet and pray (best move yet).  Among the congregation vacationing is at the top of the importance list and summer plans are messing with attendance at Celebrations too.

The old confusion sets in upon me; should I be concerned about the ABCs of western church (Attendance, Buildings, Cash) or focus on the health of cells?  If leaders can’t (or won’t) lead, there will be no cells left very soon.  What’s happening? Am I imploding? Maybe it’s my training track that jumped the tracks?  Most of all, what does God want me to do in this situation?

I am probably the only one facing these issues because I am a small cell church, in a tourist town, with a two-man staff, small budget, minimum resources and maybe even a lack of faith. So, reverse blogging is in order today….HELP!

What should I do now?