Holistic – A Definition

by Jeff Tunnell

“Groups of 3-15 meeting weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and spiritual growth with the goal of multiplication”   Cell Group definition given by Joel Comiskey in yesterday’s blog.

The following definitions for Holism and System are from the online Wikipedia:

Holism (from ὅλος holos, a Greek word meaning all, whole, entire, total) is the idea that all the properties of a given system (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave.

System (from Latin systÄ“ma, in turn from Greek σύστημα systÄ“ma, “whole compounded of several parts or members, system”, literary “composition”[1]) is a set of interacting or interdependent entities forming an integrated whole.

Most systems share common characteristics, including:

  • Systems have structure, defined by parts and their composition;
  • Systems have behavior, which involves inputs, processing and outputs of material, energy or information;
  • Systems have interconnectivity: the various parts of a system have functional as well as structural relationships between each other.
  • Systems have by themselves functions or groups of functions

So what does this mean?

In a Cell group system, the properties (life giving nature) of the cell are more than the sum of its component descriptions:

  1. Size/Quantity (3-15)
  2. Regularity (weekly)
  3. Penetration (outside the church building)
  4. Evangelism
  5. Community
  6. Spiritual Growth
  7. Multiplication

 That is, when all of the above components are present in the cell they produce a greater result/effect than can be predetermined by estimating the sum of the individual component’s impacts.

When the Body of Christ gathers in cells, He is present in each person and the effect of the gathering will cause an individual to say upon departure: “I got more out of that than I can explain!”, because of the nearly intangible and imperceptible results of the synergy in a holistic cell.

Defining the components carefully provides leadership with the ability to monitor quality, consistency, and overall system health.

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