Meeting Social Needs through the Cell

joelby Joel Comiskey

I remember one influential businessman in Ecuador who was passionate about meeting the physical needs of those in the country. He was bright, influential, and zealous to help the poor and needy of Ecuador. He pressed the pastoral team to organize a social outreach ministry and then pushed us to make Sunday announcements. We were only two years into our cell church transition and trying to say “no” to new programs. I told him, “Juan [not real name], you need to organize the cell groups to meet social needs. Cell members not only know the needs of those attending the cell, but they also know the needs of the community. They are better able to meet physical needs.” But Juan wanted to make announcements in church and organize a program that he could control. He loved making announcements, and we wrestled with trying to integrate his vision into the church’s cell ministry. I struggled with trying to integrate Juan and his vision throughout my time at the Republic Church.

This month on the JCG blog we’re talking about money and the cell church. Most churches budget some money to meet the physical needs of the members. Some churches might form a committee to give out benevolent funds for needy people (both members and non-members). If a church member or person off the street has a physical need, he or she can go to that particular committee for help.

I believe cells are a much better way to do this. Cell members know each other. Cell leaders are aware of what’s happening in the lives of cell members and the community around them. The cell might take a special offering to meet a particular cell member’s need or to reach out to someone in the community. I’ve also known churches who have distributed the “benevolent fund”  to the cell groups. One cell church pastor in Canada gave $300.00 to each cell group each year to minister to needy people (whether in or outside the cell). One of the cells in this particular church poured their time and money into a poor, non-Christian family from the school, whose father was dying of cancer. The dad eventually died and asked the church to do the funeral. The parents of the deceased father (the mother a former devout Jehovah’s Witnesses) were so touched that they started attending the church.

How are you meeting the physical needs of the members in your church? The needs in the community?


Translation into Korean:

Translation in Spanish:

por Joel Comiskey

Recuerdo a un hombre de negocios muy influyente en el Ecuador, que era apasionado en satisfacer las necesidades de los Ecuatorianos. Él era brillante, influyente, y celoso por ayudar a los pobres y necesitados del Ecuador. Presiono el equipo pastoral a organizar un ministerio de alcance social y luego nos empujó a hacer anuncios el domingo. Tenamos sólo dos años después de nuestra transición en la iglesia celular y tratando de decir “no” a nuevos programas. “Juan [no es el nombre real], necesita lo necesario para organizar los grupos de células y para satisfacer las necesidades sociales. Miembros de la célula no sólo conocen las necesidades de los asistentes a la célula, pero también conocen las necesidades de la comunidad. Ellos están en mejores condiciones para satisfacer necesidades fsicas “. Pero Juan quera hacer anuncios en la iglesia y organizar un programa que él poda controlar. Le encantaba hacer anuncios, y luchó con tratar de integrar su visión en el ministerio celular en la iglesia. Me esforcé en tratar de integrar a Juan y su visión a través del tiempo en la Iglesia de la República.

Este mes en el JCG blog estamos hablando de dinero y la iglesia celular. La mayora de las iglesias presupuestan algo de dinero para satisfacer las necesidades fsicas de los miembros. Algunos formulan comités para dar a conocer los fondos de beneficencia para las personas necesitadas (tanto miembros como no miembros). Si un miembro de la iglesia o una persona de la calle tiene una necesidad fsica, él o ella puede ir a un comité especial para recibir ayudar.

Creo que las células son una forma mucho mejor para hacer esto. miembros de la célula se conocen entre s. Los lderes de la célula son conscientes de lo que está pasando en las vidas de los miembros de la célula y la comunidad alrededor de ellos. La célula puede tener una ofrenda especial para satisfacer las necesidades de un miembro en particular o para llegar a alguien en la comunidad. También he conocido iglesias que se han distribuido los “fondos de beneficencia” a los grupos de células. Un pastor de la iglesia celular en Canadá dio $ 300.00 a cada grupo de células cada año para atender a personas necesitadas (ya sea dentro o fuera de la célula). Una de las células en esta iglesia en particular, derramó su tiempo y dinero en una familia pobre, no cristianos de la escuela, cuyo padre se estaba muriendo de cáncer. El padre acabó muriendo y pidió a la iglesia para hacer el funeral. Los padres del difunto padre (la madre de un ex devoto Ex-Testigos de Jehová) fueron tocados por lo que empezaron a asistir a la iglesia.

¿Cómo estas satisfaciendo las necesidades fsicas de los miembros de tu iglesia?  ¿Las necesidades de la comunidad?


3 thoughts on “Meeting Social Needs through the Cell

  • I must admit, this whole topic of ‘money and the cell church’ bothers me greatly. I remember a time many years ago attending cell church conferences at Bethany World Prayer Center wanting to hear something about ‘money and the cell church’ and being a bit agitated with Bro Larry Stockstill’s insistence on not addressing the topic.

    And then God began doing a work in me concerning and the vision of the Structure & Strategy of a Simple Cell-Based Church System in which He purposed for me to pursue and ever since, “money” never has been and never will be a topic of concern.

    I have been in the ministry for 23 years and have never once accepted any salary/stipend. My closest friends say “I am good for nothing”. While we do accept offerings in a ‘bread-box’ every Sunday, all monies collected are used solely for ministry.

    My wife and I planted a church in a rural area comprised of mobile home dwellers. When we first began, I approached the ‘Director of Missions’ of the mainline denomination I was once affiliated with seeking financial support and was told that ‘they’ were aware there was no church in this area BUT they concluded that mobile home dwellers don’t financially support churches and so they weren’t interested in this rural community.

    We planted Celebrated Community Church anyway without the mainline denomination’s support (also omitted their denominational name) and are so blessed that we did.

    Statistically, 40% of the US society live in ‘multi-housing’ communities, i.e.; mobile homes and apartments. Of this 40%, only 3% ‘claim affiliation’ with any church while 30% of the remaining 60% of our society who live in homes with concrete foundations ‘claim affiliation’ with a church.

    We see this as a ripe mission-field right here in the US of A. So what these folks won’t/can’t financially support a church? I am not above any means of earning money as I serve as a pastor. I even once worked as a ‘porter’ (glorified title for a janitor) in low income government subsidized housing communities picking up broken beer bottles and cigarette butts while pastoring a church that ministered to the very people living in those communities. Today, I own a lawncare business and collect royalties on the book I authored as a way of earning a paycheck while pastoring a church for FREE.

    And, as for ministry involving money, our church continually has sufficient funds to do such things as: help support missionaries currently serving in Bangkok, save people in the community from foreclosures on their homes, feed and clothe those in need and insure children in the community have Christmas gifts, etc.

    And as for me serving as an unpaid pastor, not even when I once worked as a well paid civil engineer, have I ever been as blessed as I am today (refer to Matthew 6:33).

    Paraphrased, if the thought of being underpaid/unpaid, is keeping you from planting and pastoring a cell-based church, have you ever considered making tents, picking up broken beer bottles and cigarette butts, mowing yards or getting some other type of employment?

    Just a thought 😉

    Sharing the Journey,
    Rick Diefenderfer

  • Rick, I really admire your stance AND I think it fits nicely into simple cell church ministry. If we require salaries for cell church planters, we won’t get far. I have never received a salary for the church plant here in Moreno Valley, and I was the founder and lead pastor for five years. Now we do support a pastor fulltime, but I have never received anything from the church. I do hope that they will give something to JCG in the future (and we do receive some of our support that way) but only as the church is able and this is still not the time. Suffice it to say, I want to commend you, brother!

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