Church in Many Houses Read Through Ch. 10

Chapter 10: First Steps

Summary: How you transition to a cell model will impact how the cells will multiply (or not).

“When lay people ask me how they can get cell ministry started in their church, I am compelled to tell them that without the involvement and support of the senior pastor they will not be able to sustain a meaningful cell ministry.” (Location: 1,759)

Note:See later note.

“When the cell-based Cypress Creek Church in Wimberley, Texas built their beautiful new worship facility, they intentionally included no offices for pastoral staff. They want their pastors to be out reaching and discipling people, not holed up in offices working on church programs.” (Location: 1,797)

Note:This is a novel concept. I wonder what their thoughts are now? Would it make sense to cut the offices and not the building all together? I wonder, what they use the building for during the week?

“As senior pastor, you do not need official Board action or a congregational vote in order to begin cell ministry; just start a cell! Start small; don’t try to launch a dozen groups at once. If you do, you probably will not be able to train and coach leaders adequately, and the cells will not stay healthy. Build the ministry on the firm foundation of well-equipped leaders who have experienced healthy cell ministry. Launch slowly and think long term. Start one cell, equip a new leader, then multiply that cell into two groups. Coach the new leader and repeat the process for each group. The power of multiplication will expand your ministry in a sustainable way.” (Location: 1,801)

Note:While the concept of starting one group and then multiplying is a good idea, would this be underhanded if you started something without talking about it with the other leaders? What if a lay person wanted to do this? Why couldn’t they? Earlier in the chapter the author said that an individual really couldn’t do anything if the pastor wasn’t on board. But it seems as though cells are natural inside a church anyway, right? So then it would be natural for someone to invite others into their home in order to talk through and apply the sermon or teaching from that week. That is biblical right? So a lay person is not necessarily a lame duck, even though they might not see massive top-down change.

“Emphasize and model outreach right from the beginning; do not allow it to be a closed group under the guise of training future leaders. People will reproduce what they experience.” (Location: 1,822)

Note:That last sentence is a tough one. Perhaps that is why we don’t see churches reproducing very quickly in most US contexts.

“As they lead the group, pastors need to realize that they are setting the precedent for what future group leaders will be and do. Therefore, lead as you expect future leaders to lead. For example, during group discussions, cell members may be inclined to ask the pastor for the “right” answers to any biblical or theological questions. Resist the temptation to provide those answers. As a pastor, if you teach or become the resident theological expert, you will find it hard to develop another leader because the group members will think, “I can’t lead a group like Pastor does, I don’t have the theological education”.” (Location: 1,824)

Note:This is a dangerous place to be, group members afraid to answer a question or lead a group in case they get it wrong.

“Publicly share stories of the life change which is happening in the groups.” (Location: 1,846)

Note:There is a great under appreciation for testimonies of growth and change. The difficulty is finding the best medium for it.