By Joel Comiskey
2012, The following article is from Comiskey’s book Myths and Truths of the Cell Church.
Myth: Change the Church by Criticizing It
Jesus saved me at seventeen, and when I was nineteen I joined a miracle ministry called Shekinah Fellowship. Brant Baker was the leader of Shekinah, and the ministry prospered for a number of years. As the months went by, however, I noticed that Brant Baker’s message was increasingly negative against the church. I constantly heard, “The church is dead and God’s miraculous power through Shekinah is the answer.” Soon after this wave of negativity, Shekinah lost its way and folded.
Years later, I noticed another popular ministry making negative remarks about the church of Jesus Christ. Once again, I heard the repeated message that the church had failed, and now this new ministry was raised up to revive Christ’s ailing church. Like Shekinah, this ministry grew rapidly and then declined when the founder died.
Some in the cell movement excel in putting down others, while exalting the cell structure as the new wineskin. They construct a “we-they” mentality. Everyone else is doing ministry wrongly and the only group doing it right is the cell church. Many, in fact, embrace the cell church because they are disillusioned with the conventional church. Yet can negativity sustain the cell church movement?
Truth: Let People See It Worked Out
Churches and ministries lay a very weak foundation with a negative message. Granted, scripture critiques our lives and ministry and never sugar coats the truth. Yet, once the theological foundations for cell ministry are laid, people need a positive message of how to implement that biblical message in their own culture and context.
I’ve spent a lot of time doing cell church ministry in Brazil and have heard testimony after testimony of churches who have applied cell principles and seen wonderful fruit. Their fruit encouraged other Brazilian pastors to press on. Testimonies like this do wonderful things. They give others a window into something real, something that’s been worked out in the hard knocks of life.
Just do it. Let people see the results in action. I personally believe that cell church ministry is the best strategy out there. Yet, I realize that it’s not the only strategy, and that God is using various ministries to bless his body and grow his church. God has supernaturally placed me in his body to encourage and fine-tune cell church ministry.
All those living under the Lordship of Jesus and committed to his inerrant word are part of his organic church. Leaders in Christ’s church need to be very careful about badgering and bad-mouthing Christ’s blessed body.