Consistent Cells


by Joel Comiskey

I was in one cell church that legalistically, in my opinion, asked the cells to meet each week without exception. If a cell could not meet one week, for whatever reason (e.g., vacation, sickness, etc) it would have to make up the missed meeting by gathering on another night that same week or doubling up the next week. I felt this policy was too strict and didn’t take into account unexpected occurrences.

On the other hand, I hear a lot about churches that start and stop their small groups each semester, take several months off during the year, or only meet occasionally. Inconsistency cheapens the quality and priority of the small group.

If small groups are another program in the church (howbeit an important one) there is no problem closing and opening them like Awana, Sunday School, or Evangelism Explosion.

Cell churches, on the other hand, prioritize the small groups on the same level as the Sunday celebration. Since the weekly worship service meets throughout the year, the small group ministry does the same. If the church has officially decreed that small groups will not meet during the summer, what happens to the person who receives Jesus during the summer? Will she have to wait until September to receive discipleship and spiritual growth?

I do believe, however, there will be natural times in which the small groups will not meet. For example, if 85% of Jim’s cell will be gone the last two weeks of August, the group will probably decide to not meet during those weeks. The group will inform the supervisor of their decision. However, perhaps three of the six families in Jim’s cell will be home in August and would like to continue to meet (Remember that when the official leader is absent, it’s an excellent time for others to exercise leadership).

Thus, it’s best not to make a church-wide decree that all small groups will not meet during a down-time of the church calendar. Small groups should be the life of the church, not subject to programmatic cycles of church calendars or work schedules. My point is this: Let the cell leader (along with those in the cell) make that decision in consultation with the supervisor.

In December, we will be discussing topics such as: natural cell breaks, weekly cell groups, and special cell outreaches (thinking of Christmas break). We’ll cover:

  • Week 1 (December 4-10): Cells meet consistently but not in a legalistic way. There are breaks like Christmas and Easter when individual cells may not meet. I recommend that individual cells make this decision rather than making a church-wide decree.
  • Week 2 (December 11-17): The cell is the church. Christians grow and non-Christians are evangelized, just like the celebration service. Weekly cell groups are the norm in cell churches around the world. Why? We’ll discuss it here.
  • Week 3 (December 18-24): Special occasions in the calendar cycle allow for cells to reach out in a special way. One of those natural outreaches is during Christmas time. Some cells will celebrate Christ’s birth by having a party. Others will make it a special time of outreach to those who don’t know Jesus Christ.

Why do you believe it’s important to have consistent cells?

Joel Comiskey

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“Células Consistentes”

por Joel Comiskey

Yo estaba en una  iglesia celular que era legalista, en mi opinión. Ellos pidieron que las células se reunieran cada semana, sin excepción. Si una célula no podra cumplir una semana, por cualquier motivo (por ejemplo, vacaciones, enfermedad, etc.) ellos tendran que hacer la reunión que se perdió, reuniéndose  otra noche en esa misma semana o duplicando la próxima semana. Me pareció que la poltica era demasiado estricta por no tomar las ocurrencias inesperadas.

Por otro lado, he odo mucho acerca de las iglesias que inician y detienen sus pequeños grupos cada semestre o solamente se reúnen ocasionalmente. Inconsistencia abarata la calidad y la prioridad de los grupos pequeños.

Si los grupos pequeños son otro programa en la iglesia (con todo eso el más importante) no hay ningún problema de cierre y apertura como en la Escuela Dominical o Evangelismo Explosivo.

Las Iglesias celulares, por el contrario, dan prioridad a los pequeños grupos en el mismo nivel que la celebración del domingo. Si la iglesia ha decretado oficialmente que los grupos pequeños no se reunirán durante el verano, ¿qué pasa con  la persona que recibe a Jesús durante el verano? ¿Tendrá que esperar hasta septiembre para recibir el crecimiento espiritual y el discipulado?

Yo creo, sin embargo, que habrá ocasiones en natural en el que los grupos pequeños no se reunirán. Por ejemplo, si el 85% de las células de Jim se han ido las dos últimas semanas de agosto, el grupo probablemente decida no reunirse durante esas semanas. El grupo informará al supervisor de su decisión. Sin embargo, tal vez tres de las seis familias en la célula de Jim estarán en casa en agosto y les gustara seguir reuniéndose (Recuerde que cuando el lder oficial está ausente, es un momento excelente para que otros puedan ejercer el liderazgo).

Por lo tanto, es mejor no hacer un decreto para toda la iglesia que todos los grupos pequeños no se reunirán durante un tiempo de inactividad del calendario de la iglesia. Las células deben ser la vida de la Iglesia, y no están sujetos a los ciclos programáticos de los calendarios de la iglesia o los horarios de trabajo. Mi punto es este: Que el lder de la célula (junto con los de la célula) tomen la decisión en consulta con el supervisor.

En diciembre, vamos a discutir temas tales como: Descansos naturales de la célula, reunirse semanalmente en la célula, y los alcances especiales de las células (pensando en las vacaciones de Navidad). Si desea recibir estos blogs todos los das a través de correo electrónico, por favor, regstrate AQUI. . Vamos a cubrir:

  • Semana 1 (diciembre 4-10): La reunión constante de las células pero no de manera legalista. Hay descansos como Navidad y Semana Santa cuando las células individuales no se pueden reunir. Le recomiendo que las células individuales tomen esta decisión en lugar de hacer un decreto para toda la iglesia.
  • Semana 2 (diciembre 11-17): La célula es la iglesia. Los cristianos crecen y los no cristianos son evangelizados, al igual que el servicio de celebración. Los Grupos semanales de células son la norma en las iglesias celulares alrededor del mundo. ¿Por qué? Vamos a discutir aqu.
  • Semana 3 (diciembre 18-24): En ocasiones especiales en el ciclo del calendario se permite que las células sean alcanzadas de una manera especial. Uno de los alcances naturales es durante la época de Navidad. Algunas células celebran el nacimiento de Cristo con una fiesta. Otros lo hacen un tiempo especial de las comunidades para aquellos que no conocen a Jesucristo.

¿Por qué cree que es importante contar con células compatibles?

Joel Comiskey

1 thought on “Consistent Cells

  • I think consistency in cell group meetings is important because is a spiritual exercise. It keeps the whole church strong and healthy. It’s hard to keep physically fit. You have to exercise in a weekly basis. However, because of our human nature, is really easy to lose that physical fitness by discontinuing the exercise and not watching your diet. In the spiritual realm is the same, it’s really easy to stop praying, reading the bible, fasting and assembling together to worship, minister, and be ministered to. That is why Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
    Some years ago we got the idea to do evangelism through a video series of five weeks. We figured that we would reach more people if each member of the cell showed the video in their own home. So we disband the groups for five weeks. When we tried to assemble them back again, it was difficult because some started late and were still in the process of the five week series. Others were starting all over. We had around 70 conversions but we could not disciple them because we did not have the groups going and they had already watch the videos. It took me about three month to finally assemble the cells together, because it wasn’t just the people that were stagnant, I also had become sluggish. We lost three cells in the process. After that I promised never to disband or bring to a halt the cell groups again. When Christmas or New Year falls near the weekday we meet, leaders and cell members have the choice not to meet or take advantage of the season and evangelize with the cells. Two weeks in the year is the longest time we have discontinue the cell groups since that experience.

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