by Joel Comiskey
What is the secret of cell ministry? Pastors and leaders are often asking this question. I talked with a pastor recently who wondered why the church had the same number of cells for two years. He wanted me to share with his leaders something that would get them out of their stagnation. He wanted me to give them a key, a spark, just something that would push the cells forward.
This pastor is not alone. Some cell church models promise rapid growth. All you have to do is to follow what the mother church is doing exactly and your church will grow, your cells will multiply, and you will be successful. I’ve noticed that most models try to add something new and different that no one else is doing to distinguish their model from the other churches. The idea is that when you adopt their model and add this new feature, your church will grow and become relevant once again.
The G12 model was like this. The secret of G12 was the number 12. There was a special anointing in finding 12 disciples. After reaching 12, something extraordinary would happen. Things would change for the better. We still see this secret mentality today in the cell church world.
So what is the secret to cell ministry?
The secret is that there is no secret. The secret is passion and perseverence. The secret is not giving up. It’s getting on your knees daily, seeking God, and then following his directions. It’s implementing basic, biblical principles until those principles work. It’s refusing to look at magical formulas for growth and “anointed” models.
It means knowing why you are committed to cell ministry (e.g., the biblical foundation) and then following those biblical principles long-term. It means allowing time-tested principles common to worldwide cell churches to inform what you are doing, while asking the Holy Spirit to apply those principles to your particular context.
And the process will not be easy. You’ll have to count the cost each day. Jim Collins in the book Good to Great says, “In building greatness, there is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment. Rather, the process resembles relentlessly pushing a giant, heavy flywheel in one direction, turn upon turn, building momentum until a point of breakthrough and beyond” (p. 34). Yes, you will reach that breakthrough point if you don’t give up.
My book Passion and Persistence is about the Elim Church, one of the largest churches in the world. The “secret” of Elim is passion that comes from the Holy Spirit and persistent hard work until there’s a breakthrough. Their example matches my own research which discovered that fruitful cell leaders possessed two characteristics: prayer and hard work.
All this seems embarrassingly simple, but it’s true. The reality is that growth comes through diligent prayer, working hard, and then not giving up. The secret is that there is no secret!