Envisioning New Groups

By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory

Spring 2021

Should each leader set a goal for a new cell group? In my earlier days of cell research and ministry, I would have said, “Yes, all cells need to set multiplication goals.” It didn’t matter if the cell had any idea whether it could multiply, but I felt it was best for the cell to set a goal for multiplication. Part of the reason was my original research that showed that cell groups that actually had goals for multiplication multiplied faster than those who did not have one.

But does this fact mean that the cell leader from the first day of the cell should say, “We’re going to multiply on such and such a date.” Talking about multiplication before the cell has formed a sense of community can do more harm than good. First, it can hinder community. The people immediately feel they will be saying good-bye very soon and won’t take the time to establish close relationships. Some might not even commit to the group for fear of a quick departure. Second, it places fear in some people that they will be “leaders” before they have had a natural chance to develop in the cell and work through the discipleship equipping component of the discipleship process.

I think it’s much better for the leadership team to work behind the scenes. As leaders grow through participating, they will grasp the purpose of stepping out and being part of a discipleship team. We also know that discipleship equipping is a crucial component in the discipleship process, so it’s best for the team leader to invite all members to take the discipleship equipping—rather than immediately telling them they will be part of a future multiplication team! In other words, they’ll understand team leadership better when they are going through the discipleship equipping and have had more time to participate in the cell.

I asked one cell church pastor how he had become so successful in cell multiplication. He said to me, “My people are born again in the cell and learn to speak the language of cell multiplication. Like a baby learning a new language, they understand that they are called to be disciples and form new cell groups. They know their purpose is to reach out and infiltrate new neighborhoods for Jesus.” When a church reaches the point of seeing new spiritual births in the cell group and then maturing these new people through the natural process of cell discipleship, the cell becomes a powerful tool in the hand of God to reach out to a hurt and dying world.