Integration for Transition

by Michael Sove

A few days ago Jeff Tunnell wrote an excellent article called Understanding Integration.  In it he talked about the four types of integration.  (non integration; faulty integration; minimum integration and maximum integration)  Here is how it works for us, a church in transition.

We are a hybrid of minimum integration.  As Jeff laid out the main points of

minimum integration are:

• Cell Church

• Clear definition of a cell group

• Cell attendance is just as important as celebration attendance

• Only those already attending a cell group can be involved in official church ministries.

We hold to the first three points but let me explain the last one, especially what we would consider official church ministries.  In this phase in our transition people can serve without being in a cell but to lead or function as a point person for any ministry we do ask them to participate in a cell group.  All our deacons are at least members of a cell, most are leaders.  Leadership is influence and if they are not part of the cell system they cannot influence others to participate in the life of the cells, a very important part of our strategy.

For example we were approached by some men who wanted to start a men’s ministry.  Both these men were already in a cell group so we were open to the idea.  We asked them to call it Men’s Network and to make sure it contained balanced elements of our Connect, Grow and Serve strategy.  In other words it would not just focus on fellowship and fun events, it would not just focus on spiritual growth or serving in the community but would balance all three of these dimensions.  Men’s network serves both cells and celebration and does not have a life of it’s own.  It is an integral part of the overall cell system.

Since we only have 40 percent of our worshipping adults in cells we want to be able to harness the energy of the other 60 percent and get them behind the vision of our church and involved in service while we try to invite them into cells which is more of the strategy of how we live out the vision.  Later on when the majority are in cells we can depend more and more on the cells to carry out the basic ministry functions.

It is so important to address integration as you plant a cell church or transition away from a program based system to a cell based system.

Comments?  What are you doing to integrate?


5 thoughts on “Integration for Transition

  • I read the write up on integration and i think it will work for me because presently the practice is in my church has not been yielding the desired result. what we do in my church, wisdom christian assembly, is that we insist that membership is drown from the cell groups. but still there are, the majority, who still wont go into the cell groups. we end up having about 40per cent in the cell which is still not a pass mark for church to be said it is fully cell. i believe that 100per cent is

  • When we were in transition ten years ago, this is the thing that we have been doing. Right now, we are at the minimum integration. I don’t know if we will ever get to the maximum integration in our context. Maybe one day when revival will breaks through in our country.

  • Adekunle and Richard thanks for your comments. Again I think you have to keep thinking of ways to include all without compromising the cell vision and leadership. The more all the pieces work together for the common cause the better off you will be. Obviously even in the midst of transition you may have some who are not in cells and have been in a point position and you may need to work with them or give them a target date to be connected to a cell. As new positions become available or you need to replace someone who is not involved in a cell, at that point only fill it with someone who is in the cell system and committed to the vision. The point is you have to decide as to what level you want to integrate and once you do that there will be a process in that transition. Remember to love all people as you will run in to some who won’t understand the need to integrate.

  • Yes, I would suggest that our church is also in a stage of minimum integration. We have been “transitioning” for a long time, with an ongoing list of congregants who have no interest in cell community. We also experience a constant inertia, a tendency for drift, oriented about how to serve the “non-cell” congregants. What has inspired me about the integration principles, is that there is hope for us to move forward, to continually expect to see a higher percentage of this church recognizing the value of cell life, and growing to reproductive maturity in this context.

  • Thanks for all your comments. The integration question is so critical. I’ve seen and coached churches that didn’t take heed to integration in the name of “freedom of choice.” What happens later, however, is the inability to promote cell ministry because many “have decided” to get involved. Sometimes cell ministry evolves to a really great ministry in these churches but never reaches the point of cells as the base of the church.

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