by Joel Comiskey
I’m here in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada (greater Toronto area) having just finished a cell church conference for pastors and leaders at the Newmarket Alliance Church. One of the questions that came up frequently was how to develop an equipping track and what materials to use. I told them that that the best equipping tracks promote the basic doctrines of the faith (along with the specific vision of the church), spiritual life development, evangelism, and leadership training. They are concise and clear and don’t overwhelm the learner.
I told them that there are two major points to remember when selecting training material. First, is it biblical? Does it reflect the pure doctrine “once delivered by the saints?” Second, is it connected with your cell church philosophy? In other words, is the training conducive to convert every member into a disciple-maker through the cell system?
Many cell churches, while in the process of developing their own materials, use the materials of others. Ralph Neighbour’s equipping track offers a number of booklets. Neighbour has spent the major part of his years perfecting training material for every aspect of cell life â€” new Christian development, Bible curricula, evangelism training, gifts of the Spirit, spiritual warfare, and more. The believer is told from day one that eventually he or she will be leading a cell group.
Little Falls Christian Centre has developed its own material. Each book leads to higher-level learning. The equipping track starts with basic doctrinal training in Welcome to Your New Family; then the new believer receives more in-depth discipleship in the Arrival Kit Companion; the Reaching the Lost booklet prepares the potential leader to evangelize, whereas the Cell Leader Equipping Manual launches him into cell leadership. A more in depth manual, taught in a retreat, accompanies each booklet.
My own training material possesses this same clarity. I begin with a book on basic biblical truths called Live, which leads to the book Encounter to help free a person from bondages. The potential leader uses Grow, to learn how to have a daily devotional time. Then the person studies Share, which helps him or her learn how to evangelize. The fifth book is called Lead, which prepares the person to launch a cell (or be part of a leadership team). Of course, the trainee is exercising his spiritual muscles in the cell group while completing the five books. I have two books (Coach and Discover), which are part of my higher level training.
Over time, most cell churches establish their own materials because they fit better. God has made your church unique, with particular convictions and methodologies. You’ll want to reflect this uniqueness in your material. Most importantly, listen to God. Discover what’s best for your own particular church and context.