My shift

jeff

by Jeff Tunnell

Eph 4: 15-16 says, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

When I read portions of scripture these days I discover that I have gone through a great paradigm shift over the last decade. During the first decade of my pastorate at Big Bear Christian Center, 1985-1995, I worked to attract people from my ever-changing community. It was subtely understood that unless people attended the church building each week, they would not fit the normal description of a believer, consequently everything had to revolve around them coming back. In that time period, many came, many left, but the ones who stayed were those with whom I established a personal friendship.

We grew from 40 to 170 during that first decade. The frustration that hit me when I could not grow the body beyond two hundred. I realized that I needed to find a better way to reach my entire community with the gospel. My shift had begun. By the end of 1997 we were using small groups of varying models to see if we could expand our influence beyond the great “I” that had to be in the center of everything to make things work. By 2001 we came to understand the significant differences between small groups and cell groups. My paradigm began to shift when I came to believe that the cell was the church and as Lawrence Khong says “there is a heaven and earth difference, between a church with cells and a cell church.”

During the second decade of ministry my shift completed. When I read passages like the one above from Ephesians 4, I now see that the celebration gathering is a place of giving direction, vision, and scriptural equipping to the body of Christ: the whole body, every joint, and each individual part. Cell leaders obtain ongoing support and biblical guidance during the messages and teaching in this larger gathering of cells. The goal is each individual part becoming functional, which in turn causes the growth of the body. I began to apply Jethro’s advice to Moses and realized that I could no longer become personal friends with everyone that came to the celebration service. Cell leaders began to shepherd their friends and acquaintances, and as those people attended the celebration gatherings, they were connected to one another.

Now I see the biblical case for following Jesus’ model of discipling His 12 men in a cell group. Those same men participated with others in homes and smaller gatherings in order to duplicate what Jesus had accomplished in them, every joint supply its part for the growth of the body as it builds itself up in love.

I hope that our blogs will help you move ahead more quickly than we did. You do not need to take two decades to make the shift in receiving revelation of truth about biblical, cell-based ministry. But you will be challenged to remove some long-term beliefs passed down to you from traditional church practices. Have you ever stopped long enough to ask yourself if the way you conduct ministry is in the Bible? Seriously examine the structure and methods that frustrate you and your ability to expand the kingdom.

In sincere Christian love,

Jeff

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Mi Cambio de Paradigma

por Jeff Tunnell

Efesios 4: 15-16 dice: “sino que siguiendo la verdad en amor, crezcamos en todo en aquel que es la cabeza, esto es, Cristo, de quien todo el cuerpo, bien concertado y unido entre s por todas las coyunturas que se ayudan mutuamente, según la actividad propia de cada miembro, recibe su crecimiento para ir edificándose en amor”.

Cuando leo porciones de las Escrituras en estos das, descubro que he pasado por un gran cambio de paradigma en la última década. Durante la primera década de pastorado en Centro Cristiano Big Bear, 1985-1995, trabajé para atraer gente de mi comunidad en constante cambio. Muchos vinieron y algunos se quedaron, pero en general éstos eran los que con quien establec amistades personales. Se entiende que si las personas no asisten a la iglesia, no encajaran a la descripción normal de un creyente, por lo tanto todo tena que girar en torno a que regresen.

Crecimos de 40 a 170 durante la primera década. La frustración me golpeo cuando no pude crecer el cuerpo más allá de doscientos y empecé a preguntarme si haba una mejor manera de llegar a toda mi comunidad con el evangelio. Mi turno haba comenzado. A finales de 1997 estábamos usando pequeños grupos de diferentes modelos para ver si podamos ampliar nuestra influencia más allá del gran “Yo” que tena que estar en el centro de todo para que las cosas funcionarán. En 2001 llegamos a entender las diferencias significativas entre los grupos pequeños y los grupos celulares. El cambio de paradigma, empecé a creer que la célula era la iglesia y como dice Lawrence Khong “hay una diferencia entre el cielo y la tierra, entre una iglesia con células y una iglesia celular”.

Durante la segunda década de ministerio mi turno terminó. Cuando le pasajes como el anterior de Efesios 4, ahora veo que la celebración es un lugar de dirección, visión y para equipar las escrituras al cuerpo de Cristo, todo el cuerpo, cada articulación, cada parte individual. Los lderes celulares obtienen apoyo y orientación bblica en los mensajes y la enseñanza de la celebración de las células. El objetivo está que cada parte sea funcional y eso es lo que hace que el crezca el cuerpo. Al igual que el consejo de Jetro a Moisés, ya no somos amigos personales cuando todos vengan a la fiesta. Los lderes celulares pastoreaban a sus amigos y conocidos, ya que asistieron a la celebración conectados entre s.

Ahora veo el caso bblico para seguir el modelo de discipular de Jesús, 12 hombres en un grupo celular. Y como cada uno de ellos se convirtieron en seguidores de Jesús ellos participaron con otros en hogares y en pequeñas reuniones con el fin de duplicar lo que Jesús haba cumplido en ellos, cada conjunto llega a ser capaz de suministrar su parte para el crecimiento del cuerpo edificándose en amor.

Espero que nuestros blogs les ayuden a moverse más rápido que nosotros. No es necesario tomar dos décadas para hacer el cambio de recibir la revelación de la verdad sobre el ministerio bblico, basado en células. Pero serás retado para eliminar algunas de las creencias a largo plazo transmitido a usted por las prácticas tradicionales de la iglesia. ¿Se ha detenido el tiempo suficiente para preguntarse si la forma en que conduces el ministerio está en la Biblia? Examine seriamente la estructura y los métodos que frustran tu habilidad y a ti, para expandir el reino.

En sincero amor cristiano,

Jeff

2 thoughts on “My shift

  • Cuàl es la diferencia entre una iglesia celular y uma iglesia con celulas. Por favor quiero inscribirme en sus boletines. Muchas gracias.

  • Bro. Jeff,

    You wrote (in part), “we came to understand the significant differences between small groups and cell groups. My paradigm began to shift when I came to believe that the cell was the church and as Lawrence Khong says ‘there is a heaven and earth difference, between a church with cells and a cell church.’” AMEN Brother!

    I’ve even been “accused”, by supposed cell-based church advocates (one person who of all people should know of the significant differences between small groups and cell groups immediately comes to mind) of having a ‘it’s cell or hell’ mindset.

    Sharing the Journey,
    Rick Diefenderfer

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