The cell is the church. Most of those in the cell church movement would agree with this statement. But its application shocked me after talking to a church planter who I coach. This church planter started a cell in his home and will have three cells by September. Yet he was very discouraged saying, “I’m just not sure if I’m the one who should lead this church plant. I don’t think I have what it takes to lead a team to a successful launch.” I just listened. He continued, “I should have more people by now so that I can eventually launch this church.”
“But you already have a church,” I countered.
“But I need to have a lot more on the launch team to truly launch the church in the future,” he replied.
Deeply ingrained in this church planter was the notion that his church really didn’t exist until they had a major launch with a lot of people sometime in the future. In the meantime, he was simply gathering people who were preparing to launch the real church. While he waited for the big launch, he was beset with feelings of failure because he was told by others that he should have many more people in his pre-launch group.
All this begs the question of: what is the church?
I counseled my friend to see his first cell as the church. I told him to enjoy the multiplication of individual cells, knowing that he had already planted the church. Eventually, he would bring those cells together in a celebration service to enhance the edification and receive more teaching. At that time both the cell and the celebration would be the church.
This church planter felt like a failure because he wondered if he had enough gifts and talents to launch a huge, successful gathering that he and others could finally call “the church.” I wanted the church planter to feel the pure joy of knowing that he had already planted the church. Why? Because the cell is the church! Obviously his job was to steadily reach out, multiply cells, etc. But because I believe the cell is the church, I believe it’s harmful to act like a huge Sunday event in a rented building will truly launch the church (this is more of the programmed idea of the church). Again, so much boils down to how we view the church.
You might not be planting a cell church. Perhaps you’re trying to transition a more traditional church to the cell church strategy. Yet you might be facing this same dilemma. One pastor confided that his cell members viewed their cell groups as a programmatic extension of the real church that met on Sunday morning.
The cell is the church—so is the celebration
Such faulty thinking causes cell members and cell leaders to lightly treat cell attendance but highly prioritize Sunday morning worship. Often it takes a while for member to fully realize that the cell is the church. Cell leaders truly function as pastors, and they should be encouraged to act out this responsibility.
How have you viewed the cell? Do you see it as the church?
We had a great CCS board meeting in Port A., Texas with Bill Easum. He suggested a few major changes (including a name change, which I will talk about later). Yet, for the most part we felt affirmed that God has placed CCS on the right track. We are a resource ministry attempting to equip the worldwide cell church through books, articles, and coaching. We eventually want to raise up area representatives around the world. God seems to be guiding us to begin online group and personal coaching. Thanks for your continual prayers.
From September 14-17 I will be speaking/consulting in Vero Beach, Florida at a cell church called Central Assembly. Contact person: Jon Hamilton at firstname.lastname@example.org
14-17, My five-book equipping track–that will take a new believer (book 1) all the way to leading a cell group (book 5)–will be ready to ship on September 31,2006! I believe that each of these five books will be a great blessing to the body of Christ. God has given me an excellent team to make these books possible. Please check out the complete front and back covers for Live!Encounter!Grow!Share!and Lead!Along with the five books that each member can use, CCS Publishing will offer a CD of teaching outlines and PowerPoints so that church leaders can teach the material in a group setting. We at CCS want this training track to work for you. We’re offering a pre-release special of all five books for $39.95. Quantity discounts are also available.
Summer special on books will continue through September. Remember that you can save $6.00 on the retail price of Cell Church Solutions(now $8.95 rather than $14.95). Save $5.00 on The Spirit-filled Small Group(now $7.95 rather than $12.95). Save $4.00 on An Appointment with the King(now $6.95 rather than $10.95). This is a very limited sale. Act now.
Check out the CCS Web site that is offered in English, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese (we’re still working, however, on translating everything to Korean and Chinese). Every suggestion you have to improve the site is greatly appreciated.
Cell Church Solutions is a tax exempt, non-profit organization and your financial contributions are greatly appreciated. Check out the CCS board letter that outlines how you can give and what you’d be giving for (for example, a portion of the money received is helping translate the web site into these various languages).
Do you need coaching to help you on the cell church journey? CCS offers coaching both in English and Spanish.