By Joel Comiskey
We’ve all heard horror stories of certain churches that decided that their model was better than the rest. They end up separating from other cell churches, asking people to follow their model exclusively, and dividing the body of Christ in the process.
This type of mentality not only grieves the heart of God but it also damages the cell church philosophy. Even today, this mentality exists, and I see it playing out in certain successful cell churches. But how do we avoid this trap? How to do we maintain balance in the cell church today?
Mario Vega has a great teaching on the three foundations for cell ministry, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Here they are:
First foundation: biblical precedence. The Bible is the primary foundation for cell ministry. We do cell ministry because we believe it’s biblical. I outline those foundations in my book The Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Churchand Making Disciples in the Twenty-first Century Church. What is your primary motivation for doing cell ministry? Are you motivated because of the biblical base or is there another reason?
Second foundation: cell principles common in all cell churches. There are various principles that all cell churches follow such as: the priority of prayer, lead pastor and leadership team completely committed to the cell vision, making the cells the base of the church, and a holistic definition of a cell.
We must avoid following the teachings of churches who say, “I have the new thing, the new secret anointing” (e.g., think G12). Or “We have the one truth that sets us apart from all cell churches.” We must avoid following them when they say, “All you have to do is follow what we do exactly and you will have the same anointing, growth, and results.”
Third foundation: becoming an example or model in your own local church. God wants each church to use its creativity and become all God wants it to be in that particular context and geographical location. My prayer for cell churches is that they’ll grow, plant new churches, and become centers of equipping for others.
Yet, if God does bless you church with growth and fruit, it’s essential that you and the church point people back to the biblical foundations and common cell principles used in all cell churches.
It’s wonderful to participate in the family of cell churches around the world who are generously sharing their material, resources, and binding together to promote God’s kingdom. Sadly, there are still examples of exclusivity and kingdom building in the church world that is doing damage to the body of Christ.