by Joel Comiskey
Should cells rotate or is it best to have one “permanent” place? There are solid arguments for both sides. I don’t believe there is one right answer. Some believe that the Scripture teaches that cells must rotate on a regular basis. Yes, Scripture does say, “Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ” (Acts 5:42). But is this verse prescriptive or descriptive? In other words, is God commanding a pattern to follow (prescriptive) or simply describing the reality of the early church? It seems to me that this verse is more descriptive because Paul also referred to stationary house churches:
- the church in the house of Mary (Acts 12:12
- the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (1 Corinthians 16:19)
- the church in the house of Nympha (Colossians 4:15)
- the church in the home of Archippus (Philemon 2)
It seems that the early house churches both rotated from house to house and enjoyed a more or less permanent location.
Rotation works well because it helps other members to share the hosting load and creates new opportunities for evangelism. But having one place is also a good idea because it capitalizes on the giftedness of one host (i.e., if you have a gifted host, why move the group around?), helps everyone to remember where the cell meets, and more effectively reaches the people of one particular area.
My own Life group rotates between my house, Brent’s house, and Jose’s restaurant where we meet in an outside, secluded table. Sharing the load works well for us, but in other situations, it’s best to meet in one home, especially if the person or couple has God-given gifts that enhance their role as host.
For example, those with the gift of helps, service, pastor, giving, or mercy normally make great hosts. And I believe that God has placed an abundance of the gifts of helps and service in the body of Christ. Those hosts who possess “hospitality type” gifts make excellent “permanent” hosts. Yet, I also believe that all Christians should grow in hospitality and learn to become better hosts.
The Elim Church uses both permanent hosts and rotating cells. Mario writes,
Here at the Elim Church we have both types of meetings, and both have been a blessing. Rotating cells work well to reach new spheres of influence because they move from one house to another. The fact that the cell is a novelty in a home becomes an element of attraction for the neighbors.
On the other hand, permanent cells, even though they maintain their sphere of influence without any variation, they have the virtue of consistency. This type of cell has more extensive follow-up on the same people each week and provide more opportunities for neighborhood people to attend.