Mega Versus Simple Cell Churches


by Joel Comiskey

Some in the cell church movement believe that the goal of each cell church is to grow larger and larger. After all, huge cell churches can have a powerful impact on cities and nations.

Others, however, believe that cell churches should be small and simple. Simple cell churches, after all, reproduce more easily and rapidly. I’ve heard the arguments on both sides and have even written books both on the power of large cell churches and the reproducible nature of simple cell church planting.

The problem is when one side thinks they are exclusively right. I’ve heard simple cell church promoters talk against large cell churches. Their argument is that large cell churches are too cumbersome and not reproducible.

The mega cell church promoters, on the other hand, tend to ignore simple cell church planting as lacking the effectiveness to penetrate entire cities for Jesus.

Here’s the truth: Large cell churches and simple cell church planting are both needed and necessary! The cell church movement is a big tent and there is room for both small and large cell churches.

I cringe when I hear simple cell church people talk against the large mega cell churches. Yet, I also grieve when large cell church pastors lack the vision to plant small simple cell churches because their only goal is to grow larger and larger.

In July, the JCG blog will explore the role of mega cell churches and simple cell church planting. Experienced cell church pastors and planters will write 24 blogs on this topic throughout the month of July. If you’d like to receive these blogs daily via email,  please sign up HERE.

The schedule is:

  • Week 1 (July 3-9): Celebrating a large tent. Both mega cell churches and simple cell churches are both important in the cell church strategy.
  • Week 2 (July 10-16): The benefits of mega cell churches.
  • Week 3 (July 17-23): What it takes to lead a mega church.
  • Week 4 (July 24-July 30): The benefits of simple cell church planting.
  • Week 5 (July 31-August 06): What it takes to lead a smaller cell churches.

God is very creative. He’s not limited by our own biases. Rather, God sees the benefits of both.

How about you? What do you believe about the balance between mega and simple cell churches?.

Joel Comiskey

Translation into Korean:

Translation into Spanish:

Grandes Iglesias Contra simples Iglesias Celulares

por Joel Comiskey

Algunos en el movimiento de la iglesia celular creen que el objetivo de cada célula es crecer más y más grande. Después de todo, enormes iglesias celulares pueden tener un fuerte impacto en las ciudades y naciones.

Otros, sin embargo, creen que las iglesias celulares deben ser pequeñas y simples. Simples Iglesias celulares, después de todo, se reproducen con más facilidad y rapidez.

He escuchado los argumentos de ambos lados, e incluso han escrito libros, tanto en el poder de las iglesias de células grandes y el carácter reproducible de la plantación de la iglesia celular sencilla.

El problema es cuando una parte cree que están exclusivamente correctos. He odo simples promotores de la iglesia celular hablar en contra de las iglesias de células grandes. Su argumento es que las iglesias de células grandes son demasiado engorrosos y no reproducibles.

Los promotores de la mega-iglesia-celular, por el contrario, tienden a ignorar la siembra sencilla de la iglesia celular que carece de la eficacia para penetrar en ciudades enteras por Jesús.

Esta es la verdad: las iglesias de células grandes y la plantación de simples células iglesia son necesarias y es necesario! El movimiento de la iglesia celular es una tienda grande y hay espacio para las iglesias de células pequeñas y grandes.

Me estremezco cuando oigo a la gente de la iglesia celular sencilla, hablar en contra de la mega-iglesias de células grandes. Sin embargo, también llorar cuando los grandes pastores de la iglesia de células carecen de la visión de plantar pequeñas simples iglesias celulares, porque su único objetivo es crecer más y más grandes.

En julio, vamos a explorar el papel de las iglesias celulares, la mega plantación de simples células iglesia. Experimentados pastores de la iglesia celular y plantadores, escribirán 24 blogs sobre este tema durante todo el mes de julio. Si desea recibir estos blogs todos los das a través de correo electrónico, por favor regstrese aqu.

El horario es:

• Semana 1 (julio 3-9): Celebración de una gran carpa. Ambas iglesias celulares, mega iglesias y simples células son importantes en la estrategia de la iglesia celular.

• Semana 2 (julio 10-16): Los beneficios de las mega iglesias celulares.

• Semana 3 (julio 17-23): ¿Qué se necesita para llevar una mega iglesia?.

• Semana 4 (24 julio-30 julio): Los beneficios de la plantación de la iglesia celular sencilla.

• Semana 5 (07 31 hasta 8 06): ¿Qué se necesita para llevar a las iglesias celulares más pequeñas?.

Dios es muy creativo. Él no está limitado por nuestros propios prejuicios.

Por el contrario, Dios ve los beneficios de ambos.

¿Y usted? ¿Qué cree usted acerca del equilibrio entre las iglesias celulares mega y simple. Por favor coméntelo aqu.

Joel Comiskey

8 thoughts on “Mega Versus Simple Cell Churches

  • I totally agree Joel.
    Even when we look at Scriptures we have the two also. The Jerusalem Chuch was a mega Church. In Acts 21.20, James is talking of “tens of thousand” Jews composing the Church in Jerusalem. The Ephesus Church seemed really also a mega church. They were a multitude, and according to Acts 19.26 it was a somewhat great crowd. When we read 1Tim. 5.17 we see that they had a large paid staff (all plural for each categories).
    But we have also many small Churches. In Athens there were only a few converts (Acts 17.34) when Paul planted the Church. The Philippians didn’t seem to be that numerous.
    So even the Scriptures supports the two approaches.

  • Large & Small, I suppose the debate may go on forever as to which ministry is more effective, best, etc. This is a great subject to teach on to leaders as much pride seems to be in the minds of many regarding which is best. We are not all given the same gifts, abilitys, capacities, etc. The question comes down to are you as a leader truly following what he Holy Spirit is telling you and following His lead. In a world full of hype and self promotion it is easy to fall into the trap of being something other than Christ like.
    Eventually the people who follow your leadership figure it out and grow tired of your personal agenda and move on or worse they get caught up in living and promoting the hype.
    Check your ego and agenda at the door, true humility will take you to places with God and his followers that many Christians unfortunately never experience. We can build weakness and bad spiritual habits into the very people we seek to disciple and to help. Big vs Small, my denomination vs your denomination my pride vs your pride. Love covers a multitude of sins, love the people that God blesses you with by walking in His love & compassion. Great subject Joel!

  • Yes, it’s time to embrace both and not judge either. both are scriptural and both have their place. there will always be more simple cell church plants than large cell churches, but both need to support one another.

  • I believe that if you have the calling from The Lord To lead the big Cell Church he will give you what it takes to do it. It’s simple The parable of the talents its an example of that.

    If you maintain your self Christ balance you will also have what it takes to lead a small cell church. The important thing is not stoping from preaching the gospel to the many in need around the world.

    I personally work better with a small cell church I get to know everybody that I minister to and they know me. tis close relationship it’s possible because I have small cell church.

    But I praise the Lord For The Big Cell Church because the can do What small cell church Can’t. God BLess you and your ministry.

    Ps: The church I minister to it’s Hispanic.

    Josue Rodriguez

  • Dr. Comiskey, concuerdo que el movimiento Celular es uno con diversos modelos, estructuras eclesiasticas y procesos de implementacion. La vision Celular es tan amplia que ofrece espacio a los modelos de iglesias celulares simples como a los modelos de iglesias mega-celulares. La clave consiste en el comun denominador:alcanzar y ganar los perdidos y consolidarlos en multitudes para el Reino de Dios. Los modelos de Iglesias Celulares que desarrollan una Pastoral de grupos de Lideres de Celulas con parejas de Pastores, se enfocan generalmente en la plantacion de Iglesias de tamano promedio que a su vez desarrollan nuevos lideres de Celulas y mas parejas Pastorales facilitando que se extienda la plantacion de nuevas iglesias Celulares. Tanto las mega iglesias-celulares como las iglesias-celulares simples son importantes, y desde la perspectiva de la gran comision amabas se complementan en avanzar la suprema tarea de la Iglesia del Senor.

  • Crazy debate to have – 30 years ago my pastor (who also led the bible college I attended) was asked what is better – One church of 1000 or 10 churches of 100? He answered 10 churches with 1000. In other words the question was framed incorrectly. We should aim for as many churches as possible. The correct question is to ask whether we should aim for growing churches? Whether they grow big on their own, or spawn off a whole lot of satellites or church plants I don’t really care as long as they are following the appropriate strategy for their situation. Make sure your church is growing and then do something with that grwoth. I like CItylife Church in Melbourne Australia. They have grown a megachurch (500 plus cells) yet established a multi site strategy with 4 geographical satelite churches in their city plus two foreign language congregations, and are are involved in missions as well, for example planting a church in Ethiopia. At least I can see what they are doing and get inspired, be large and yet be outward focused at the same time. The large cell versus simple cell argument is a bit too academic for me. I am going to concentrate on helping my church GROW….then I’ll worry about what strategy to follow…..

  • yo pienso que cada pastor que es movido por el Espíritu Santo, sabrá que actitud tomar sobre las mega o sencillas. y de ser así, no estará en posición de criticar ni a la una ni a la otra, sino que se dedicará con todo su corazón a desarrollar la visión que Jesús ponga en su corazón, y pienso que debems ayudarnos los unos a los otros, para que el “mundo vea” , en el servicio al Señor no debe haber competencia para juzgar sino para servir. tomemos las bendiciones de la una y de la otra y ayudemonos los unos a los otros. les deseo bendiciones a todos los que anhelamos servir a esta generación tan lastimada por la maldad…

  • Estamos ainda na fase de início do trabalho com grupos pequenos. Participamos no ano passado do seminário O Ano da Transição e no início deste ano, participamos do Congresso que aconteceu em Foz do Iguaçu, onde o Pastor Joel Comiskey foi o preletor.
    No próximo mês estaremos iniciando o Grupo Protótipo, esperamos que Deus nos ajude a termos êxito na implantação de Grupos Familiares em nossa igreja aqui em Cascavel-Paraná-Brasil.

    Bispo Davi Valim Freire

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