Description of Making Disciples in the Twenty-First Century Church: How the Cell-Based Church Shapes Followers of Jesus by Joel Comiskey
We know that the goal of the Christian life is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. While this is God's ultimate plan, does he have a particular purpose for the cell-based church? I've been wrestling with this question for the past twenty-two years. This question confronts me every time I coach a pastor or pastors. In preparation for coaching, I ask myself, "What is my principal objective in helping this pastor?" "Where am I guiding this church?" "What am I trying to do?" I've come to the conclusion that the primary goal of cell ministry is to make disciples who make disciples. Christ's last command to his disciples was for them to repeat the process and to reproduce new disciples. But how were they supposed to do that? This book answers these questions.The early church followed Christ's pattern by making disciples through the house churches that periodically celebrated together in public worship. In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul tells Timothy to continue the discipleship process by passing on the pure gospel message to faithful men and women. Even though the term "disciple" is later replaced by words such as "brothers," "sisters," "Christians," and "saints," the concept remains the same. We in North America and the Western world often project our own cultural bias into Christ's great commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Most discipleship books, in fact, assume that discipleship is an individualistic endeavor--between me and God. And yes, there is an important individual aspect (e.g., personal devotions, etc.). Yet in Matthew 28, Jesus was talking to a group of disciples. He wanted them to follow his example by making disciples in a group. Jesus molded twelve disciples in a group and then sent them house to house. So how does the cell church make disciples? In this book, I show how the cell (small group) works together with the cell system to make disciples who make disciples. In the cell, a potential disciple is transformed through community, priesthood of all believers, group evangelism, and team multiplication. In the cell, potential disciples are formed through learning how to love one another, exercising their gifts, evangelizing together as a group, and then sent forth as teams to start new groups. Discipleship is a group process in the New Testament, and God is calling his church to re-emphasize this truth. The cell system ensures each leader has a coach and that training (equipping track) happens. Then the cells gather together to worship and grow through the teaching of God's Word. All three aspects are essential to form disciples. Training is needed because disciples won't learn all they need to know in the cell. Coaching ensures that each leader is cared for and receives shepherding. The celebration service brings the cells together to hear God's Word, worship, and receive fresh vision. The goal of the two-wing cell church is to make disciples who make disciples. The cell church today makes disciples by following the early church pattern of cell and celebration.