The E=mc2 of Cell Ministry

By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory, Fall 2020

Einstein revolutionized how we understand the universe. His famous mass-energy formula “E=mc2” not only changed how people view the universe–space, time, and gravity — but his formula also transformed our daily lives, including modern electronics, nuclear power, and even our GPS navigation.

Are there similar cell formulas? How about p+t+d=ecm? Prayer + theology + development equals effective cell ministry.

In July, we spent the entire month talking about prayer, the oxygen of the cell church and how essential prayer is to all effective cell ministry. Without prayer, a cell church will not get out of the starting blocks.

In August, we talked the biblical base for cell ministry, specifically the goal of making disciples who make disciples. Theology must breed our methodology. The biblical base for cell ministry must ignite our passion, rather than results, pragmatism, or models. The Bible is our bedrock foundation and the key motivation for cell church ministry is to effectively make disciples who make disciples. 

But there’s one more element: development, the practice of releasing and deploying leaders—not bottling them up under the pastor’s ministry. This has been our theme for September.

I’ve seen pastors excel in prayer and passion (the why)) but fail in development. This failure often happens subconsciously. Even the pastor doesn’t realize how deeply he or she cherishes being needed.  The pastor feels the inward need to do all the preaching, counseling, and ministry. The pastor might want to release others but lacks the motivation to do so. 

Some pastors spend all their time and energy gathering the people on Sunday to hear them, rather than releasing them.

On the other hand, some pastors are paralyzed with fear of releasing the people. They really don’t trust the Holy Spirit to minister through others.

Many inward motivations guide church leaders.

But one is critical for effective cell ministry: development (which includes releasing and deploying others). 

Those pastors who excel in development not only release people, but they make sure those who are released are properly equipped and coached until they have success in their ministry.  This takes time and relationship building. 

Effective cell church pastors primarily see themselves as coaches. They are passionate about caring for the leaders. They spend a lot of time envisioning new leaders, measuring statistically how the cells are doing, and setting concrete goals for more disciples and cells. Their church’s success, in other words, is in making disciples who make disciples. 

Today’s Protestant churches are full of hearers on Sunday. And yes, the preaching of God’s inerrant Word is essential. But we must go beyond producing hearers of God’s word. We must develop men and women to become disciples who make disciples. 

p+t+d=ecm (prayer plus theology plus development equals effective cell ministry).

How are you doing in the area of development, pastor? What do you think of this formula for success in cell ministry? In what specific area will you ask Jesus to change you?

Perhaps you can start by asking Jesus to give you a passion to develop others. Then ask him to show you the practical steps to develop and deploy the next generation of leaders.