coach-tunnell    by Jeff Tunnell

Planning ahead for the coaching time is a smart idea.  Regardless of duration, whether a 15-30 minute phone call, 30 minutes in person, or 3 hours in the living room, build a flowing outline in your mind (or write it out) that gives direction for your time.  Plan to address your most pressing issues and needs so that you come away with valuable information and direction.  As the coaching time unfolds remain flexible enough to embrace spontaneity when it arrives.

Plan Ahead sign

What key elements do you use to plan for your coaching times?

The Power of Story


by Rob Campbell

Elie Wiesel wrote, “God made man because he loves stories.”

I trust that you know storytellers. They are probably very dear friends to you. As you converse with these individuals, a myriad of stories are meticulously woven through the fabric of your conversation. Typically, sanguine personality types are big storytellers. Storytellers build relationship, cement friendships, and display transparency and vulnerability through the spin of conversation. As you recline on the couches with your friends in your hunting cabin or gather around the table with your family during your annual family reunion, stories will be shared. These vignettes remind us of the past and point us to the future. The swapping of stories fills the pages of God’s Word as well. For example, read closely this story of God’s mighty work recorded in Nehemiah 9:9-12:

You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them. You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day. You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters. By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take.

At the last supper, Jesus stated to his disciples, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Do you see “the remembering one,” the God-man commanding us to tell his story? Indeed the scriptures are chalked full of stories– God’s most effective means of breaking into our hearts and minds. Larry Crabb wrote “God is telling a story, a story full of life, love, and grace, a story of hating evil and honoring good, a story rich in drama, poetry, and passion. As we see his story told through our lives, we find the courage to handle the inevitable confusion of life. We find the strength to move ahead, to take risks, to relate deeply, because we are caught up in the larger story of God.”

Enjoy the journey. Be captivated by God’s story expressed through the lives of people around the world. But, don’t be content in simply reading stories about God’s activity. GET YOUR OWN STORIES of God’s marvelous work in your own life and church.



Cell Church in the Russian Far East

joelby Joel Comiskey

I’m writing from my hotel room in Ussuriysk , Russia, a city of 160,000 people about 100 kilometers from Vladivostok, the major city in this far east region of Russia. Pastor, Alexander Volkov, invited me to come speak about two years ago, so it was great to finally be here. He started his church, Higher Call  Church, fifteen years ago with his wife, Ira, and it’s now one of the largest churches in the area (300 people in the mother church and an additional ten church plants). This church is a pure cell church with 45 cells and more than 90% in cell groups. Alexander has four pastors under him who oversee approx. ten groups each and who also lead their own cell (I thought this was a great characteristic!). Although my cell seminar included various churches (400 during the first night and 250 on Saturday ), it especially confirmed to Alexander’s church that they were on the right track.

Cell church comes naturally to these Russian people. They are very friendly and group oriented–much like the Latin American culture. Pastor Alexander said, “When we go on vacations, we  like to invite other families to go with us. It makes the time more exciting.” My translator said to me, “Russian people depend on each other. They’ve gone through very, very hard times together and they’ve learned to overcome with the help of friends.” Another person gave me an illustration of popular culture saying,  “When a Russian person drinks vodka, he never does it alone. He’ll even find someone off the street to drink with him.”

I appreciated the way that pastor Alexander organized each detail of the seminar, so that I could eat and talk with a wide range of leaders from his church (and even experienced a traditional Russian sauna on the last night with some of his key leaders!). After the first night, we ate a traditional Russian meal, and I sat next to Tasha, a cell leader who has multiplied her group various times. She shared that her cell members experienced such wonderful fellowship that some would spend the night after the cell. And Tasha loved it! She told me that her main problem in cell ministry is that sometimes she doesn’t stick to the cell agenda.

I told Alexander that North Americans are far more individualistic and less group oriented, but that we desperately needed cell ministry to truly experience God’s plan for the church. He agreed with me. I’m excited about what God is doing through the cell movement in Russia and plan on coming back in the future.



Cell Churches in Brazil


by Mario Vega

The past weekend I was invited as keynote speaker at the conference entitled “Passion and Persistence,” organized by Bethany Church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bethany Church is a Presbyterian Church that, like many other denominations, has begun to make its transition to the cellular model.

The conference registered a little over a thousand attendees whom for three days received lessons on cells. It’s amazing the interest with which many pastors and leaders received the principles of cell work.

There is no doubt that Robert Lay’s work in Brazil has been outstanding. With such large cities as Rio de Janeiro, the cell model is a key to reach significant evangelist goals. Another factor that attracted the attendee’s attention was the translation to Portuguese of Joel Comiskey’s book on Elim’s history.

“Paixão and Persistence”, as it is called in Portuguese, is a book that Brazilians acquire with great interest and has made it possible for even very conservative churches as Bethany, to have adopted the cell model and continue to deepen in its study. They are interested not only in numbers but in all the values of fellowship, evangelism and the teaching that the model implies.

Brazil is a fertile ground and the cell model has begun to yield results. At the end of the conference Pastor Josué Rodrguez gave me as a present a clock with a picture of the Maracana Stadium, the largest in the world, as a representation of the purpose that Rio de Janeiro’s churches have to fill it completely one day as testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the country. My desire is that this purpose becomes a reality.



translation in Spanish:

Iglesias celulares en Brasil.

El fin de semana pasado fui invitado como orador principal a la conferencia ‘Pasión y Persistencia’ organizada por la iglesia Betania de Ro de Janeiro, Brasil. La iglesia Betania es una iglesia Presbiteriana que, al igual que muchas otras denominaciones, han comenzado a hacer su transición al modelo celular.

La conferencia contó con un poco más de mil inscritos que durante tres das recibieron enseñanzas sobre células. Es impresionante el interés con el cual muchos pastores y lderes recibieron los principios del trabajo celular.

No hay duda que el trabajo de Roberto Lay en Brasil ha sido sobresaliente. Con ciudades tan grandes como Ro de Janeiro, el modelo celular resulta clave para obtener alcances evangelizadores significativos. Otro de los factores que despertó la atención de los asistentes es la traducción al portugués del libro de Joel Comiskey sobre la historia de Elim.

‘Paixão e Persistencia’, como se llama en portugués, es un libro que los brasileños adquieren con mucho interés y ha hecho posible que incluso iglesias muy conservadoras como Betania hayan adoptado el modelo celular y continúen profundizando en su estudio. Ellos no solamente están interesados en los números sino en todos los valores de comunión, evangelización y enseñanza que el modelo implica.

Brasil es tierra fértil y el modelo celular ha comenzado a dar resultados. Al final de la conferencia el Pastor Josué Rodrguez me obsequió un reloj con la fotografa del estadio Maracaná, el más grande del mundo, como un propósito de las iglesias de Ro de Janeiro de llenarlo completamente un da como testimonio al pas del evangelio de Jesucristo. Mi deseo es que ese propósito se haga realidad.


coach-tunnell  by Jeff Tunnell

Today is Veteran’s Day in the USA, so HATS OFF to each of you who have given such a large part of your life to the defense of freedom! There are multiple Vets in our family line and while they have much to be proud of, their service has not come without deep personal costs. I say humbly, THANK YOU!

Anticipating the moment of coaching: looking forward to when you will be WITH each other; nervous, excited, cautious, joyous, whatever the emotions, harness them to prepare you for the time!  Coaching is a relatively brief exchange that helps the coached in applying principles learned or learning new principles.  Because it is a ‘short’ time, you should prepare to maximize the time.  Write out some questions, rehearse your victories in applying previously discussed principles and be ready to answer for any assignment for which you are accountable (this assists the coach in monitoring your progress). THEN PRAY.  Give yourself a bit of time ahead of the coaching appointment to get focused.  Settle your heart and spirit.  Take control of your physical environment to guard against interruptions or distractions.

You are about to receive a boost from the Holy Spirit working through your coach, so watch for it, anticipate how you will accept the assistance God is giving you, and have fun!

What is the most recent benefit you have received from coaching?