Central/South America

Worldwide Cell Churches

Cell Strategy at the Republic Church

Published in C&MA Cell Net, October 1999

by Joel Comiskey

The Republic Church cell church experiment has been going full-throttle since August 1997. I use the word experiment because we have not arrived. John Kotter in his excellent book Leading Change says: “Until changes sink down deeply into the culture, which for an entire company can take three to ten years, new approaches are fragile and subject to regression.” This is where we are right now. Cell church values still must sink deeper into the culture of the church.Surely, we’ve come a long way. For example, In 1997, we were a church with twenty-one weak cells. Now we are a cell church with 140 reproducing cells. Our goal is 250 cells by the end of the year. Will we make it? It’s going to be close. If each pastor on the team fulfilled his goals, we would be right at 250:

    Joel Comiskey
    GOAL: 60

    Vinicio Gonzalez
    GOAL: 22

    Javier Silva
    GOAL: 34

    Porfirio Ludeña
    GOAL: 34

    Denis Fiallos
    GOAL: 72

    Hans Vera
    GOAL: 28

The national pastor who was going to replace Pastor Richard Reichert in Network #2 suddenly informed us that he had other plans. That hurt because it left Network #2 without a pastor for several months. On the October 14, 1999, the pastoral team and board of the Republic Church officially called Vinicio Gonzalez to pastor network #2. Pray that he would have a smooth integration into the pastoral team at the Republic Church.

Just as important as the number of cells at the Republic Church is the system we’ve developed to support those cells. We are using a modified G-12 philosophy. Each staff person is responsible for those cell leaders (disciples) under his care. Since we’ve adapted the G-12 philosophy to our own context, it’s working well.

We also have a clear cell leader-training track that has one objective: train church members to become cell leaders. Richard Reichert, fellows C&MA missionary, was the driving force behind developing our training track, and he did an excellent job. All four manuals integrate the cell church philosophy with Biblical training. This material can be purchased from the Republic Church and can be distributed throughout your church.

We’re also excited about the recent commitment to prayer in the church. Every Friday the church prays for 20 hours. Each pastor takes one four-hour segment, starting at 4 a.m. in the morning and going to 12 p.m. Members can come and go as they please. We’ve succeeded in decentralizing prayer in our church and we’re excited about what God is doing.

I think that our biggest challenge is summed-up in the word concentration. Will we concentrate our cell church philosophy or will we be swept away with the myriads of exciting programs. I can’t answer this question. As a missionary, I’m only temporary. Much of my energy since 1997 has been spent on developing the cell church system at the Republic Church. Now, I feel like God is telling me to leave it in the hands of the nationals. Long-term changes in a foreign culture require the adoption and vision of the national workers, and more specifically the senior pastor. Please pray for this transition.

Both Steve Irvin and I want to welcome you to International Cell Church Conference, scheduled for Quito, Ecuador next year, May 8-11. Our desire is to host representatives from each Alliance field. We believe that God is going to use this conference to help clarify the cell church strategy among the Alliance and give us a new vision for the future. See you there!

Further reading on this topic:

Comiskey’s book Passion and Persistence explains the history of the Elim Church and the principles that have compelled this church to penetrate San Salvador for Jesus.

Reap the Harvest details the worldwide cell churches.

Groups of Twelve reveals how the International Charismatic Mission in Bogota, Colombia has evangelized Bogota for Jesus.

Cell Church Solutions describes cell churches in North America.

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