Key Principles for a Successful Transition

joel by Joel Comiskey

I’ve coached and observed churches that have failed in their transition to cell church. I’ve also had the great pleasure of witnessing churches who have made it all the way to a fully functional cell church. The churches that successfully transition follow certain key principles:

1. Commitment of lead pastor. It’s possible to have a “church with cells” without the lead pastor’s continual involvement and commitment, but it’s not possible to have a cell church. The lead pastor must guide the vision from beginning to end. This means personal involvement in cell ministry. I counsel pastors not to start the cell church vision until counting the cost and being willing to hang in there for the long haul.

2. Commitment of leadership team. Many pastors fail here. I remember one large AG church that asked me to coach them. The new lead pastor (founder’s son) wanted me to guide them through the process, and I tried for over one year. The transition eventually failed because the lead pastor failed to convince key pastoral staff members. One staffer in particular torpedoed the process by criticizing cell church and promoting his own program. The lead pastor didn’t want to cause “problems” and eventually decided not to go through with it.

Very few churches have paid staff, but the formation of a leadership team to guide the transition process applies to all influential leaders in the church (e.g., elders, deacons, etc.). In my seminars, I tell lead pastors to ask for a “Starbucks budget” during the pre-transition period to win over the movers and shakers of the church.

3. Planned strategy to transition. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Most churches start a pilot group, which the senior pastor leads.Some do it differently, but all have a clear strategy to become a cell church, have counted the cost, and are willing to make the long-term sacrifices to become a cell church. Remember it often takes between 4-6 years to transition a conventional church to the cell church strategy.

Are you willing to follow these three key principles?


Translation into Korean:

Translation into Spanish:

Principios clave para la transición

por Joel Comiskey

Las Iglesias que han tenido una transición exitosa a la iglesia celular siguieron tres factores clave:

1. El compromiso del pastor principal. Es posible tener una “iglesia con células” sin la participación continua del pastor principal y el compromiso, pero no es posible tener una iglesia celular. El pastor principal debe orientar la visión de principio a fin. Yo aconsejo a los pastores a no iniciar la visión de la iglesia celular hasta que tengan en cuenta el costo y estén dispuestos a mantenerse por un largo plazo.

2. El compromiso del equipo de liderazgo. Muchos pastores fallan aqu. Me acuerdo de una gran iglesia AG que me pidió entrenarlos. El nuevo pastor (hijo del fundador) quera que les guiará en el proceso, y he intentado durante más de un año. La transición finalmente fracasó porque el pastor principal no logró convencer a todos los miembros del personal pastoral. El pastor no quera causar  “problemas” y, finalmente, decidió no seguir adelante con ella.

La mayora de las iglesias no tienen personal pagado, por lo que la dirección del equipo va a consistir en ancianos o en miembros de la junta directiva. El pastor principal debe desarrollar el equipo de transición de la iglesia.

3. Planificación de la estrategia para la transición. Aquellos que fallan al planificar, planifican a fracasar. La mayora de las iglesias inician un grupo piloto, que el pastor lleva. Algunos lo hacen de manera diferente, pero todos tienen una estrategia clara para convertirse en una iglesia celular, han calculado el costo, y están dispuestos a hacer los sacrificios a largo plazo para convertirse en una iglesia celular. Recuerde que a menudo se tarda entre 4-6 años de la transición de una iglesia convencional a la estrategia de la iglesia celular.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *