Digging deeper: Making True Disciples

By Joel Comiskey, Groups that Thrive, Fall 2022

John 6:60, 66-67 says,

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” . . From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God

I have the privilege of speaking yearly with Mario Vega in Virginia. TheDay with Joel and Mario continues to bear fruit and minister to many people. This year (just two weeks ago) 900+ people came to the one-day event. 

Mario gave an honest assessment of Elim San Salvador after Covid. Although they are back to about 70% of pre-Covid attendance, they have lost 100s of cell groups in the process–and dozens due to Covid related deaths of leaders, supervisors, and pastors.

As Elim assessed the situation (and Elim continues to have accurate weekly statistics of all their cell groups), they determined that the falling away was the lack of discipleship. They realized those who left lacked the commitment to follow Jesus and become authentic disciples. 

Mario dove deep into what constitutes discipleship in the New Testament, and Elim is now re-emphasizing basic discipleship through cell group ministry. 

Last month, on the JCG blogs, we wrote about post-Covid cell groups and the need to return to community. We discussed the priority of face-to-face groups and explored why God might have allowed Covid-19.

For October, let’s talk about how to help members count the cost and become disciples of Jesus through cell-based ministry. Experienced pastors and leaders will write 25 blogs on this important topic. Click here if you’d like to receive the daily blog in your email.

  • October 02-08: As Mario spoke at the Day with Joel and Mario, he dug deep into Christ’s teaching to his disciples. This week, we’ll look at how Jesus made disciples through house-to-house ministry, facilitating questions, teaching values “on the road,” and so forth. Churches cannot make disciples in crowds and programs. Jesus spoke to the masses but urged them to count the cost.
  • October 09-15: Members, leaders, and the church will not go deeper apart from revival. Rob Campbell touched on this point last month when he talked about prayer. We must remember that the cell structure won’t change hearts apart from revival. Jesus taught his disciples to pray and keep pressing ahead in prayer. Let’s talk about the place of prayer.
  • October 16-22: Making disciples through the cell. We’ve talked about this a lot but let’s ask God to help us to dig deeper. Let’s challenge people to be active participants in the cell. 
  • October 23-29: We’ll discuss making disciples through the cell system. I’ve been challenged lately by the need for the equipping track and coaching to strengthen future disciples.
  • October 30 to November 05: Producing Covid-resistant members in the future. New challenges await all of us. The early church faced persecution, and we’ll also face similar challenges.