The Power of Cell Church Planting


by Jim Wall

Our church is located in a large metropolitan area. A few years ago, we discovered our church family included several families who lived in small towns thirty to forty-five minutes away. They attended our weekend celebrations. They did not join our cells because they considered it too far to drive during the week. My wife and I decided we would drive to them and start a cell group in their area. It filled up quickly. As soon as we trained an intern to lead it, we started another cell…and another… and another.

After a couple of years of growth, we cast a vision for a daughter church and they caught it. The Lord called a young couple in our church to take on the challenge of planting the new church. By July 2010 we had seven cells in that area. It was time for New Branch Community Church to be born. Initially, the members continued to worship and serve in our celebrations. Their tithes and offerings were held separately. On September 19, 2010 they held their first public celebration; 120 people—committed to forming a new church—gathered. Within one year they had leaders in place, full-time leased facilities at a great location and they were financially self-sufficient!

In a day where researchers say that 80% of church plants don’t make it, how did this one grow to self-sufficiency within a year? The answer is the cells were in place before the celebration began. It was the cells that created a strong bond among the original core group. It was the cell leaders who formed the backbone of the new leadership team. The celebration merely announced their presence in the community. Since then the church has continued to grow. More than 200 people gathered for their first anniversary service. Dozens of people have come to Christ. The baby church is making a difference.

This past fall, my wife and I started a cell group in an area thirty minutes in the other direction from our campus. That cell has already birthed two more cells. We are praying now for a church planter and scouting possible sites for a celebration. I wonder how many churches we can launch using this model? There is certainly no shortage of hurting people who desperately need Jesus!



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El poder de la plantación de la Iglesia Celular

Por Jim Wall

Nuestra iglesia se encuentra localizada en una gran área metropolitana. Hace unos años, descubrimos que nuestros miembros familiares de la iglesia incluyendo a varias familias que viven en las ciudades pequeñas de treinta a cuarenta y cinco minutos de distancia. Ellos asistieron a las celebraciones de fin de semana. No se reunan en nuestras células, ya que consideraban que eran demasiado lejos para conducir durante la semana. Mi esposa y yo decidimos que conduciramos a ellos y formaramos un grupo de células en su área. Se lleno rápidamente. Tan pronto entrenemos un miembro interno que los lidere, empezamos otra célula… y otra… y otra.

Después de un par de años de crecimiento, vimos la visión de una iglesia hija y lo atrapáramos. El Señor llamó a una pareja de jóvenes en nuestra iglesia para asumir el reto de plantar la nueva iglesia. En julio de 2010 tuvimos siete células en esa área. Ya era hora para que floreciera una Nueva Iglesia en la Comunidad. Inicialmente, los miembros continuaron adorando y sirviendo en nuestras celebraciones. Sus diezmos y ofrendas se mantenan por separado. El 19 de septiembre del 2010 se llevó a cabo su primera celebración pública; 120 personas comprometidas con la formación de una nueva iglesia fueron reunidos. En el periodo de un año tenan lderes en su lugar, de tiempo completo las instalaciones eran alquiladas en una gran ubicación y ¡eran económicamente autosuficientes!

En un da hubo investigadores que decan que el 80% de las iglesias no lo logran, ¿cómo esta creció a la autosuficiencia dentro de un año? La respuesta es que las células estaban en su lugar antes de la celebración comenzara. Fueron las células las que crearon un fuerte vnculo entre el grupo original. Fueron los lderes de células que formaron la columna vertebral del nuevo equipo de liderazgo. La celebración simplemente anunció su presencia en la comunidad. Desde entonces la iglesia ha seguido creciendo. Más de 200 personas se reunieron para su servicio en su primer aniversario. Decenas de personas han venido a Cristo. La iglesia bebé está haciendo una diferencia.

El otoño pasado, mi esposa y yo comenzamos un grupo de células en un área de treinta minutos en la otra dirección de nuestra área. Esa célula ya ha dado a luz dos células más. Estamos orando ahora por un plantador de iglesias y explorador de posibles sitios para la celebración. ¿Me pregunto cuántas iglesias podemos iniciar con este modelo? ¡Ciertamente no hay escasez de daño a la gente que desesperadamente necesitan a Jesús!



4 thoughts on “The Power of Cell Church Planting

  • I very much appreciate this article and the idea of planting a cell from a mother church with several cells and leaders in place. It allows for the DNA of the cell principles and practices to be replicated and gives a healthy strong start with supportive oversight from the mother church. This to me is the definition of multiplication and the more Biblical & organic way to plant a church. It also reinforces that the goel of a church is not to become as big as possible but to multiply disciples! However, there seems to be so few churches or denominational groups willing to committ to this type of church planting or multiplication effort. I have recently spoken with another cell based church that has also taken this church planting aproach and now has 4 healthy & growing church plants. My experience has taught me that starting a cell church from scratch without a team is very difficult to do and if if it is successfull and grows in usually grows slowly and therefore take a lot longer to become self sufficent financially.

    Note to Jim Wall, my wife and I have been recently praying about an oportunity to start another cell based church but only in a team concept. How can I get a hold of you to talk more? My name is Andrew Pasedag and my e-mail is I’ve been mentored by Joel in the past and he should be able to give a reference for me.

  • Excellant!

    This is our strategy for Phoenix, AZ. … a 50 mile by 70 mile population of 4 million. Glad to see you have experienced this strategy working.

  • Mike,

    It just struck me… your name sounded familiar. Are you the same guy who David and Lissa Hinman went with to plant a cell-based church in Phoenix? David was our Children’s Pastor way back in the early 90’s.

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