Sabbath Rest


by Rob Campbell

Let me share a few thoughts that should mesh well with Joel’s post yesterday.  The antidote to burnout is honoring the Sabbath (“cease to exist, to stop, to bring things to a halt, a DAY OF REST”).  The command to observe the Sabbath is one of the Big Ten, isn’t it?

Here are some things to consider in light of the Sabbath:

Sabbath is a matter of rest, not ritual.

“Work six days only, but the seventh day must be a day of total rest.  I repeat: Because the Lord considers it a holy day, anyone who works on the Sabbath must be put to death.” Exodus 31:15

“He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

Psalm 23:2

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”                                                               Mark 6:31

“It’s useless to rise up early and go to bed late and work your worried fingers to the bone.  Don’t you know He enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”                                    Psalm 127:2

One’s principle behind the Sabbath will determine the priority of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-28).

The Sabbath is a matter of good, not greed  (Matthew 12:9-12).

The Sabbath is a matter of Lordship over legalism.

“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”  Matthew 12:8

Now, consider the following three questions.  First, what day each week is your Sabbath?  How do you refresh your spirit?  What do you need to change in your schedule?

Before you move on to something else right now, please read Isaiah 58:12-14.



Personal Retreats

joel;I talked with a pastor who was struggling with personal problems that were affecting his pastoral work. His huge outside difficulties were placing enormous strains on his daily ministry.God blessed the church’s cell ministry in spite of the problems, and it grew slowly and steadily. But I noticed that the underlying personal struggles were taking a toll on his minsitry. “I’d be willing to leave the pastorate, if it would help,” he told me. Yet, his board of elders and those closest to him encouraged him to stay on, because they knew the situation and believed in him. This is a good sign, I thought to myself. His elders know everything and yet want him to stay.

I didn’t talk with the pastor for awhile, and just recently spoke to him again. I noticed a complete change in his voice, a new vibrancy in his attitude, and new hope in ministry. His personal problems had not changed drastically, but he seemed like a different person. “I’ve been taking some personal retreat times,” he told me. “I realize that I need to be refreshed by God in order to make it in the long haul. I’ve committed myself to schedule more spiritual retreats in the next year. I believe this is the key to pick me up in spite of my personal difficulties,” he said. I rejoiced with him for this new discovery.

The bottom line is that long-term ministry requires periodic breaks. Yes, our daily devotional times give us continual strength, and I believe all God’s people need to take a 24-hour day off each week. Beyond those basic refreshment times, we need periodic spiritual retreats.

I just came off my own yearly personal retreat. I’ve been doing this each year for the last twenty-six years. My pattern is to fast and pray for 2.5 days, rent a hotel room for one-night, review my diaries from the past year, and then try to make sense of it all. I ask myself key questions:

  • What are the patterns in the past year?
  • What were the significant events?
  • How did last year compare to the previous year?

And then I hone in on the vision God is giving me for the next year. In my case this involves: God, wife, family, personal vision, JCG, fund-raising, seminars, coaching, and Wellspring. I write down what God shows me, and it serves as a guide for the upcoming year. One of my goals for this next year (September 2009 to August 2010) is to have an additional, shorter personal retreat in February 2010, rather than waiting for one entire year. These retreat times provide refreshing, retooling, and fresh vision.

What about you? What has worked for you in the area of refreshment and retooling?

Joel Comiskey

Step by Step


by Mario Vega

The cell model is not something that is established once and for all. Rather, it should be improved continually. Each church must adapt, adjust, and determine how to improve every aspect of the cell model according to its context.

Although our model is strongly based on the work of Pastor Cho in Korea, and we try faithfully to adhere to his model, this fact hasn’t stopped us from making adjustments to our own reality. I could say that approximately every three years we are innovating in some way.

Obviously, these innovations do not change the principles or the values of cell work. In our case, it doesn’t even change our attachment to the Korean model. But, it does allow us to achieve the adjustments that make our work more efficient.

Another reason why we must make adjustments is because the society in which the church testifies is also changing. If we are not attentive to new sociological movements, the church will soon stop being relevant. That does not mean that the church walks by the world’s rhythm. It only means that the church takes advantage in the best way possible of the new opportunities society offers.

For these reasons, we should not fear to make adjustments or precisions that will fit within our particular reality. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can mend our nets for a greater catch of fish.



Translation in Spanish

Paso a paso.

El modelo celular no es algo que se establece una sola vez y para siempre. El modelo celular es susceptible de ser mejorado. Cada iglesia debe adaptar, ajustar, precisar cada aspecto que resulte en una mejora dentro de su contexto.

Aunque nuestro modelo se basa fuertemente en el trabajo del Pastor Cho en Corea y tratamos de apegarnos de manera fiel a su modelo, eso no ha impedido que hagamos nuestras propias adaptaciones a nuestra realidad. Podra decir que aproximadamente cada tres años estamos innovando en algún aspecto.

Obviamente, esas innovaciones no cambian los principios ni los valores del trabajo con células. En nuestro caso, ni siquiera cambia nuestro apego al modelo coreano. Pero, s nos permite lograr los ajustes que vuelven más eficiente nuestro trabajo.

Otra razón por la que debemos hacer ajustes es porque la sociedad en la que la iglesia testifica es también cambiante. Si no estamos atentos a los movimientos sociológicos la iglesia pronto dejará de ser pertinente. Eso no significa que la iglesia camina al ritmo del mundo. Sólo significa que la iglesia aprovecha de la mejor manera las nuevas oportunidades que la sociedad ofrece.

Por tales motivos, no debemos temer el hacer los ajustes o precisiones que funcionen en nuestra realidad concreta. Con la ayuda del Espritu Santo podemos remendar nuestras redes para una gran pesca.

Step by step.


coach-tunnellJeff Tunnell

I am thinking about the usefulness of coaching today.  My musing is simple: Coaching only works if you use it.  What I mean is this, it may be available, but if you don’t access it, there is no benefit.

The largest share of “responsibility” in coaching is on the recipient; to access what is available and then to decide on implementation of any insight gained.  The coach can offer points of accountability relating to the decisions made, but cannot “play the game” for you.

In a similar way I apply this view to marriage counseling.  The counselor is the coach and is not allowed to take the field with the couple.  He/she may only coach from the sidelines, but may not be on the field/court where the team plays the game.  The coach’s role is highly valuable, but the team (couple) must learn how to execute the plays themselves.  The coach’s role is to observe, train, equip and encourage, but is not allowed to perform the task of the players.

Growing a cell-based church suffers from experimentation while shaping the church by its values and guiding by principles.  A coach can help you avoid many unnecessary changes and efforts that tend to make leaders feel like victims of trial-and-error.  Each of us can gain advantages by inviting a seasoned leader/coach to speak into our lives and circumstances.

Are you utilizing a coach?  Is your coach used for personal or cell church development? How are you benefiting from coaching?

Love and Lost


by Rob Campbell

No one tells a story like Jesus. The designation of “master storyteller” falls short of his creativity, expertise, and connectivity. Frequently in the gospels, Jesus speaks of the fine art of shepherding. This was an intricate part of his environment for he was continually around sheep and shepherds. Sheep were dependent on a shepherd to find pasture for them. The task of shepherding entailed finding water, shelter, medication; lending aid in the birthing process; and providing for wounded and weary sheep. Further, Jesus understood the Jewish mind which believed Israel was the flock of God. God was their shepherd and Israel was his flock. In Luke 15:1-7, Jesus tells a story couched in this timeless relationship. Before I progress, do you remember who is surrounding Jesus when he shares this story? Yes, the tax collectors and “sinners” were huddled around him. This infuriated the Pharisees and teachers of the law and they began casting judgment against Jesus for his association with such a desperate lot.

Jesus states, “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?” Notice the condition of a certain member of this flock. This lamb was “lost.” Maybe this lamb had moved from one tuft of grass to another and spontaneously worked her little body through a hole in the rock fence. As the shepherd began counting his sheep, he discovered the reality of his flock– one was lost.

He would immediately survey the fence striving to find that little hole that enticed the lamb to wander from the flock. The shepherd would “go after” this lost lamb and would not rest “until he finds” her. Jesus adds more punch to this story as he proclaims, “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.” Allow your mind to embrace this picture. The shepherd finds this little lamb. A broad smile fills his unshaven face. He stoops to pick up this little lamb and notices she is injured. The burly shepherd anoints the cuts and bruises with the gentleness of a mother. Slowly, the lamb is hoisted upon the shepherd’s shoulders and he relaxes on the strong muscles of the shepherd’s back.

This story is a beautiful picture of God’s love for you and me. In our wayward tendencies (and in our lostness), God’s searching love (“go after”) meshed with the persistence of his grace (“until he finds”) is desperately concerned for every single individual especially those outside the safety and protection of the flock. When any one lamb returns home, there is great rejoicing which illustrates God’s response to this recovery mission. God is filled with joy when he finds you!