by Joel Comiskey, 2017
Generosity and open sharing should be a trademark for all those in Christ’s church, but more specifically to this blog, all those involved in cell-based ministry.
There are certain key principles that connect those in the cell church movement, like the importance of meeting in both large and small groups and the role of the pastor to develop lay people to do the work of the ministry, rather than doing it personally. But house to house ministry is not a secretive, hidden philosophy that only certain people can understand or implement.
Sadly, certain pastors would like for others to believe that they have the only correct formula that everyone should follow. The human tendency to be superior and to exclude others is as old as the fall of mankind in the book of Genesis. Certain models have fallen into this trap and erect walls and barriers around a few of their formulas.
This mentality has saddened me in the cell church because God’s principles must be freely shared, and they should be open for all and for everyone to experience. I think of the Elim Church. Elim is a very generous cell church that welcomes people to taste and see, use their resources, study their system, and take what’s best. They do have distinctions, like each cell nucleus having a weekly planning meeting to prepare for the Saturday cell groups. But you’ll never hear Elim talking about their planning meeting as a “secret formula” that separates them from everyone else, or makes them better than other cell churches. Rather, in humility, Elim chooses to emphasize common cell church principles and especially the biblical values that undergird cell ministry.
Generosity comes from the heart of God. I’ve always been concerned about those churches that exclude rather than welcome. I love to highlight Paulo Mazonni’s church in Belo Horizonte. Each year, the Central Baptist Church holds a DNA conference in which they freely give away their resources while inviting pastors and leaders to experience what God has done in their church. Their motivation is to freely share what has propelled them to 2200 cells and 12,000 people in their celebration services.
Robert Lay is another example of generosity. He places all PowerPoints on his website for people to freely download and use. Robert realizes that God is much bigger than one model and it’s his goal to freely resource the body of Christ.
Unlike those who separate from the larger body of Christ, the cell church movement needs to be marked by Christ’s own words, “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8).