Benefits of the Cell-based Church

mario
by Mario Vega

The main reason to make cells the base of the church is because the model of large and small meetings is the one that appears in the New Testament as a basic characteristic of the church. We have developed this subject before, and for now it is not necessary to go through it again.

In addition, there are other practical reasons that show the advantages of a cell-based church. From our own perspective, if we weren’t a church based on cells, the Elim church WOULD NOT  be:

1. Elim wouldn’t be a mega church. It would be a church whose membership might reach 3,000 people or so. In fact, we hit the ceiling of 3,000 for several years, and we couldn’t break it until we became a cell church.

2. Elim would not have so many branch churches overseas. Almost all of our branch churches were not born as a result of a missionary plan but as a product of the migration of thousands of Christians trained as cell leaders. If these migrants had not been trained for the work of the ministry, once abroad they would have joined a church as a member.  But their experience as leaders allowed them to become laborers of the churches that they themselves planted.

3. Elim would not  have been able to properly care for its members. The church was already large before becoming a cell church (about three thousand people), but it continued with the model of only one pastor looking after that crowd. And, of course, they were not really cared for. The cell model allowed thousands to exercise the “priesthood of all believers” and enabled them to encourage, pray and exhort one another. In this way, a whole cell care structure was created which has continued to this day.

4. Elim would not had been able to accomplish its big projects, like the purchase of six radio stations and a television channel with national coverage, a piece of land of 22 acres where its future 13.000 seat auditorium will be built, etc. Those great endeavors were made possible thanks to thousands of Christians organized around cells.

5. Elim would not  have the ability to evangelize and significantly penetrate the major cities of the country and abroad. The cell model has allowed 9% of the total population of the capital of San Salvador to be part of the church. It is very difficult to find anyone  in the country who has not heard of the Elim church.

6. if Elim was not a cell church it would not have a quarterly average of 9,000 conversions, about 300 baptisms per month,  and about 400 new leaders per year.

There would probably be other differences, but it is hard to imagine the difference between what Elim is today as a cell-based church and what Elim might have looked like as a traditional, program based church.

My prayer is that what is listed here might bless you to envision the benefits of the cell based church.

Comments?

Mario

Translation into Spanish:

¿Por qué es importante que la iglesia esté basada en células?

La razón principal es porque el modelo de reuniones grandes y pequeñas es el que aparece en el Nuevo Testamento como caracterstica básica de la iglesia. Este tema lo hemos desarrollado antes y, por ahora, no es necesario volver a él.

Además, existen otras razones prácticas que muestran las ventajas de una iglesia basada en células. Desde la perspectiva de lo que es nuestra experiencia, si no fuéramos una iglesia basada en células ¿cómo sera la iglesia Elim?

En primer lugar, Elim no fuera una mega iglesia. Sera una iglesia cuya membresa oscilara solamente alrededor de las tres mil personas. Ese techo que se mantuvo por varios años solamente pudo ser roto cuando la iglesia hizo su transición al modelo celular.

Segundo, Elim no tuviera tantas iglesias filiales en el extranjero. Casi todas nuestras filiales no nacieron como resultado de un plan misionero sino como producto de la migración de miles de cristianos capacitados como lderes de células. Si tales migrantes no hubiesen sido capacitados para la obra del ministerio, al llegar al extranjero solamente se habran sumado a alguna nueva iglesia. Pero su experiencia como lderes les permitió convertirse en obreros de iglesias que ellos mismos plantaron.

Tercero, Elim no hubiese podido cuidar adecuadamente de sus miembros. La iglesia era ya numerosa antes de ser celular (unas tres mil personas), pero se continuaba con el modelo de un solo pastor atendiendo a esa multitud. Y, lógicamente, se atenda mal. El modelo celular permitió que miles ejercieran su sacerdocio de creyentes para comenzar a animarse, orar y exhortarse los unos a los otros. De esa manera, se creo toda una estructura de cuidado celular que ha demostrado ser útil hasta el da de hoy.

Cuarto, Elim no hubiese podido realizar sus grandes proyectos como la adquisición de seis emisoras de radio y un canal de televisión de cobertura nacional, un terreno de 22 acres donde se construirá su futuro auditorio para 13,000 asientos, etc. Esos grandes esfuerzos fueron posibles gracias a millares de cristianos organizados en torno a las células.

Quinto, Elim no tendra la capacidad de evangelizar y penetrar significativamente en las principales ciudades del pas y del extranjero. El modelo celular ha hecho posible que un 9% del total de la población de la capital San Salvador sea parte de la iglesia. Es muy difcil encontrar en el pas a alguien que no ha escuchado, al menos, de iglesia Elim.

Sexto, si Elim no fuese una iglesia celular no tendra un promedio de 9,000 conversiones trimestrales, unos 300 bautismos por mes, unos 400 nuevos lderes por año.

Posiblemente existiran otras diferencias, pero es difcil imaginar las diferencias entre lo que es y lo que nunca fue. Pero, sirvan los elementos mencionados para ilustrar la bendición que significa una iglesia basada en células.

2 thoughts on “Benefits of the Cell-based Church

  • Thank you so much Mario for sharing your story and the difference it has made for your congregation to be cell -based! May we catch vision for our cities as well.

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