Shared Ministry – The Cell-based Benefit

by Michael Sove

I’ve done it both ways!  I planted a church with cells (called “Little Platoons”) and I’m currently Cell Pastor in a church of cells.  I prefer the church of cells.  Here are some of the benefits I’ve found in our cell-based system.

#1  Celebration and cell are considered equally important and feed each other.  People get a sense of the transcendence and immanence of God through large group and cell group participation.

#2  Everyone ministers to someone and no one ministers to more than ten.  Appropriate spans of care allow all to be ministered to well.

#3  All our cells throw monthly outreach events and practice body life evangelism.  You have as many evangelism nets as you have cells.

#4  All our cells apply the same passage or message topic each week and this allows continuity and brings great unity.  We’re on a common path together.

#5  Many more mentor’s available as discipleship is carried out through cell relationships.

#6  It allows for more people to use their gifts in both celebration and cell.  Many times we mobilize cells to serve at all church events.

#7   The cells expand the mission base of the church.  All our cells have adopted an International pastor as well as have a local mission focus.

After twenty one years in pastoral ministry I believe the cell-based system is the best delivery system for living out my job description found in Eph. 4:11-12 (NCV) “And Christ gave gifts to people—he made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people.  Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.”

Questions?  Comments?


2 thoughts on “Shared Ministry – The Cell-based Benefit

  • Mike, in #2 you wrote that “no one ministers to more than ten.”

    I’m guessing some of your groups grow beyond ten members. This is a goal you shoot for and not a legalistic rule you impose on every group if they’re reaching a bunch of friends for Christ in a season of harvest, right?

    I am fully aware of group dynamics degrading over 12 persons and I’m a big fan of keeping a small group small. But when my group reaches a family of five for Christ and the group jumps from 10 to 15 overnight, I don’t multiply the group the next week so I can keep the number below 12 persons. Folks need to see the need for multiplication, want to leave or stay, and leaders need to be fully developed before deployment.

  • Thanks Randall for asking that qualifying question. You are right, the number ten is just a long term ideal I keep in mind. We have groups of 15 and groups of 4. Even as a full time staff person I keep my coaching to no more than 10-12 and that is a max. At the upper level it is even harder to keep the intimacy and communication with that many people.

    My coaches who work with some of the cell leaders have between 1-3 as they lead their own cells as well. The key point I was making in number two was the beauty of reasonable spans of care in a cell-based system.

    There is no magic birthing point either as a new cell requires a trained leader. A new cell doesn’t happen because of numbers in a cell. So that is why I’m on my face two times a day praying Luke 10:2 (I pray at 10:02am and 10:02pm as my alarm goes off on my phone).

    If any of you know Neil Cole he talks all the time about passing the Luke 10:2b virus. Look it up and you’ll understand how important that prayer is. Pass it on!

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