Discipleship: Developing a new culture of life-on-life spiritual development is the key to cell group success!

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As we train in and visit cell churches all over the world, we clearly see why the growing churches are flourishing … and why so many Western churches struggle and fail with cells. For the churches that struggle to get cells going strong, the typical implementation looks this way:

  • Lead pastor reads books or goes to a conference and decides cell groups are the model that will best fulfill the vision God's given him for his church.
  • His vision for member to member ministry and relational evangelism with the use of cell groups is shared with church leadership and staff for “buy in.”
  • His vision is then shared with individuals and couples who appear to be potential cell leaders.
  • The lead pastor leads a leadership cell or trains potential leaders for a season in some implementations (others omit this step altogether to their early demise).
  • A church-wide rollout is planned for the spring or the fall and groups are launched with these leaders, comprised of interested/unconnected church members.
  • New groups are challenged to “Love God, love one another, and love the lost to Christ.”
  • A few group leaders are effective at raising up others to lead (not typical, but it does happen).
  • A few group members are effective at reaching unchurched people for Christ (also not typical).
  • Most groups stagnate because the members never caught the vision spiritual growth, relational evangelism and the excitement of starting a new group of their own.
  • Other groups close because no group members desired to lead a new group.
  • One year later, new believers from the groups may be found to be faithful in attendance to their group meetings (and possibly the church’s corporate gatherings) but most have not become self-feeding Christians who are maturing in the faith and headed toward a leadership role.
  • After 2-3 years of very hard work, the pastor and the church’s leadership give up on cell groups and try something else.

Does this (in part or wholly) describe your previous experience with cell groups? If so, continue here