Theological Motivations for Cell Church Ministry

Church Leadership

By Joel Comiskey

Winter 2009

I often like to go through books with the pastors I coach. I’m currently coaching Big Bear Christian Center (BBCC), and we go through one cell church book every three weeks. We review one of the books when we meet at my house every sixth week and the other one via SKYPE in the middle of the six week period. Last week we were reviewing the Apostolic Cell Church by Laurence Khong. I highly recommend this book because it’s chalked full of cell ministry insight. My only criticism of the book is that it should have been three books–one on cell church, one on spiritual gifts, and another on leadership.

Jeff Tunnell, the lead pastor at BBCC is wisely mentoring a younger leader (Rob Hasting) to take his place as lead pastor. As we talked on SKPE, I reminded Rob to watch his motivation. I warned him about the disease called “Yonggi Cho envy,” that fatal attraction to numerical success for the wrong motivation [please check outMario Vega’s excellent blog on this topic]. We wrestled with the context of Laurence Khong’s church in Singapore which has 10,000 people as opposed to the 150 people at Big Christian Center.

I warned Rob that sometimes people leave cell churches to attend churches that only emphasize Sunday morning attendance because there are far less requirements. I reminded Rob that the chief motivation for doing cell church is theological. We do cell church because we believe we can make better disciples who make other disciples. We practice cell church because we want to live out the priesthood of all believers and fulfill the one-anothers of Scripture. Because Rob is fairly new to cell church ministry, I wanted him to make sure he understood the values and biblical principles for doing cell church ministry.

Often pastors who begin cell church practice without believing in cell church values fade away over time when confronted with obstacles. Cell church ministry has deep theological foundations that need to guide our practices.

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p.s.: I’m working on a new book about theological foundations for cell ministry which will appear in 2011.