by Joel Comiskey
During a cell seminar, a pastor from Victory Outreach announced to the seminar participants: “I’ve tried to start cells in my church three times and failed on each attempt. I now realize what I did wrong. I wasn’t concentrating on my cell group system.”
The phrase I heard over and over in the successful cell churches I studied was this: “cell ministry is the backbone of our church.” The vision passed down from leaders to members is that one must belong to a cell group to receive pastoral care, because cells are the very life of the church.
If cell ministry is one more program amid endless church activity, it’s bound to fail. The church won’t be able to concentrate on “this one thing.” Too many interests will overload the cell system.
The fact is this: No one can do everything well. A job well done requires deliberate concentration. This is true of churches, too. Successful churches cannot be all things to all people.
A cell church organizes itself around cell ministry. In a church with cells, the cells are one ministry among many. All other ministries function as separate programs but are supposed to exist harmoniously with the small groups. One person typically heads the cell ministry, while other pastors attend to their ministries. A church with cells might emphasize the importance of cell ministry, but it is not the main ministry.
Cell churches have two important ministries: cell and celebration. Cell ministry provides pastoral care, evangelism, counseling, follow-up and all other important activities. The core organizational structure is based on cell ministry.
It’s my growing conviction that if you want your cell groups to succeed you must learn to concentrate on the cell system behind those cell groups. The key word is concentration.