By Joel Comiskey, summer 2019
Some cell churches are like birds in flight and are wonderful to watch. Others flap their wings and don’t go anywhere, like penguins or ostriches. A bird’s weight, tail, beak, body, claws, and other parts all contribute to whether the bird can fly. Penguins simply don’t have the wing strength to lift their bodies, while an eagle is perfectly tuned to soar.
What about two winged churches? What are essential traits to actually fly? I’ve noticed at least three:
- Prayer. David Cho and Yoido Full Gospel Church initiated the modern day cell church movement. Yoido is known for their prayer more than cells. The Spirit of God through dedicated prayer has helped them soar. All of the growing cell churches around the world are first and foremost dedicated to prayer. Rob Campbell started Cypress Creek Church by first hiring a prayer pastor. No wonder the church has been flying so well for many, many years.
- Passion. The senior pastor and key leaders must be passionate about cell ministry and practicing what they preach. They need to believe that cell church is biblical and are committed to this form of ministry until Jesus comes again. It’s not enough to have a vision—the vision must have them. This knowledge will sustain the leaders and church through rough waters as the church transitions or plants a new church.
- Development. The focus on developing others is a subtle, invisible distinction and might be the most important. The cell churches that fly are led by pastors and leaders who are dedicated to developing disciples who make disciples through multiplying small groups. The key word is development. Ephesians 4 tells us that God has given gifted ministers to the church to develop others, rather than doing it themselves. Some pastors never catch this principle and don’t get off the ground. The ones who do are ruthless about development. They are passionate about equipping others and then coaching leaders. They realize the cell church is all about growing the church from the inside out—developing disciples who make other disciples. They make balanced, visionary goals for new cell groups because this means more disciples. Effective cell church pastors are team players and delegators. They refuse to do the work themselves—they know their role is to prepare ministers to minister. In other words, they develop others. How are you doing in this area of development?
On the other hand, ineffective pastors, whether cell church or otherwise, don’t delegate well. They love to do it themselves. They are more concerned about their sermon (speaking to the crowd) than training new leaders. They don’t really understand the need for coaching leaders because they are too busy with all the church details and counseling people that might come to the office unexpectantly. Nor do they make clear goals for the future because they don’t have a vision for developing others.
The good news is that God can give us new wings and help us fly. What area do you need to work on the most? Prayer? Passion? Development? God will help you and your church fly and even soar as you ask him for help.