Transition is the hardest

steveby Steve Cordle

Years ago my wife and I attended Lamaze classes designed to prepare us for “natural” (no drugs) childbirth. Each stage of labor has a name; the most difficult and painful  of which is called “transition.”

“Transition” is also the most difficult stage of birthing a cell church. It requires a great many difficult conversations, hard work, and commitment to the cause.

I advise pastors who are transitioning to do three things:

1) make an informed commitment to cell church. After reading and learning as much as possible, the senior pastor must decide to commit to this ministry. Then keep reading and learning.

2) Start a model cell. You as pastor should lead the first cell exactly like you want all the other cells to operate. People will replicate what they experience. Develop the new leader through apprenticing. It’s generally not the best idea to start with the Board or Elders. Don’t make it a secret. Any who feel “left out” can become part of the next group as you birth.

3) Preach the values. Cell church operates on a different value system than program-based churches. Teach on those as you lead your cell.

At the same time you do these things, you continue to minister in the ways they were accustomed. Someday you will reach a “tipping point” when you will make structural changes to your ministry. But in the beginning just start modeling it and then let it spread.



Translation into Korean:

Translation into Spanish:

La transición es más difcil

Hace años, mi esposa y yo asistimos a las clases Lamaze para prepararnos en forma natural” (no medicamentos) para el parto. Cada etapa del trabajo tiene un nombre, el más difcil y doloroso se  llama “transición

Transición es también la etapa más difcil de dar a luz en una iglesia celular. Se requiere de muchas conversaciones difciles, de trabajo duro y compromiso con la causa.

Aconsejo a los pastores que están haciendo la transición a hacer tres cosas:

1) Hagan e informen del compromiso a la iglesia celular. Después de leer y aprender tanto como sea posible, el pastor principal debe decidir como comprometerse con este ministerio. Entonces continua leyendo y aprendiendo.

2) Iniciar un modelo celular. Como pastor principal de la primera célula, tú quieres que todas las otras células funcionen. La gente va a reproducir lo que ellos experimentan. Desarrollar un nuevo lder a través del aprendiz. No es generalmente la mejor idea para comenzar con la Directiva o los ancianos. No lo haga en secreto. Cualquiera que se siente excluido” puede llegar a ser parte del próximo grupo como el nacimiento.

3) Predicar los valores. La iglesia celular funciona en un sistema diferente  de valores que las  iglesias basadas ​​en programas. Enseñe a los lderes de su célula.

Al mismo tiempo que haces estas cosas, usted continúa ministrando en la forma que estaban acostumbrados. Algún da llegará a un punto de inflexión cuando se hacen cambios estructurales en su ministerio. Pero al principio sólo hay que empezar a modelar y luego hay que dejar que se extienda.

1 thought on “Transition is the hardest

  • Excellent advice, Steve. One additional thought on #3:

    If I were to bake a loaf of bread and you took a bite and realized it was the best bread you’ve ever eaten, would you ask about the mixing bowl or the ingredients?

    That’s right. You’d ask what on earth I put in that bowl to make that bread taste so good! People don’t care about the brand of the mixing bowl, the mixer, or oven.

    Same thing is true for churches. Members could care less about the cell group structure and even the cell group for that matter. While these things are really important, let me drive Steve’s nail deeper into the wood. Preach VALUES, not structure. People just don’t care how many groups you want to launch and how many groups will be supported by each coach and so forth. They want to know how to live full lives of purpose and meaning, and will be pleased that you have figured out how to organize that kind of life by giving them mixing bowls (cell groups).

    Pastors get very excited about implementing new structures because they can envision it on an organizational chart they create in their heads and then on paper. But this doesn’t motivate members. Preaching values of relational life with Christ and other members and lost people is what they need to hear, and they need to hear how the pastor himself is doing this and how living in purposeful community is personally changing him, which brings us back to point number 2 above!

    I’m enjoying the blog posts this week. Solid advice from practitioners!

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