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Four Building Blocks of Cell-based Ministry

Shoals New Life has adopted four (4) major building block crucial to effective ministry and explosive, evangelistic growth. These functional areas of ministry development, which are based upon biblical principles, have proved to be very successful all around the world in positioning and preparing cell churches for reaping the last great harvest of souls. If we are to do our part in taking the Shoals for Christ and the advancement of the Kingdom of God, then we must commitment to the following disciplines. This will place us in the small percentage (15%) of churches in America that are experiencing phenomenal growth and powerful, evangelistic success! THE FOUR BUILDING BLOCKS are:

Cell

Basic Building Block
Small Groups - Edification & Evangelism

Celebration

Corporate Gathering of All Cells
Praise & Worship - The Word

Cell Ministry Training

Ministry Multiplication
Every Cell Member Is A Potential Cell Leader
Evangelism, Establishing, and Equipping

Principle
of Twelve

Groups of Twelve (G-12 Cell Structure)
Empowering Servant-Leaders
Explosive Cell Multiplication Process

Principle of Twelve

Cell Ministry Training

Celebration

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell

Cell




Cell

A cell is simply a small gathering of people (usually no less than 4 and no more than 12)
where
God and His Purposes are the focus of attention.

God

His Purposes

Cells are not just small groups of Christians gathering for relative purposes (fellowship, Bible studies, recreation, etc.) that solely benefit personal needs and desires. Cells have a strategic purpose that fit into God's plans for the advancement of His Kingdom. Cells may have incorporated into their activities the attributes of traditional, small groups; however, they always stay focused in their mission - edification and evangelism.


Edification and evangelism are the two-fold, primary attributes of cell life. This may be illustrated by the way we breathe oxygen into our lungs, giving us air that sustains our life. We
inhale and exhale. In cell life we inhale or receive the life of Christ. We then exhale or breathe Christ's gift of abundant life into people around us. Jesus said, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of (John 10:10, The Message)." Cell life is a constant process of breathing new life in Christ.


Edification is a biblical principle used to describe relationships where people are "built-up" not "torn-down;" where people "breathe life" and not "death" into each other.

Edification is derived from the Greek word, oikodomeo, which means "build." This word is found in Jesus' teachings (Matt. 16:18) and is frequently used to describe the construction of a building (Matt. 23:29; 26:61). Sometimes the word is used as a noun to describe a building itself (Matt. 24:1).

The biblical, building materials associated with oikodomeo are rocks and "living stones."


Christ told Peter, "you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18)."

Christ is often referred to as the "cornerstone." (Eph. 2:20)

Christians are also described as building material.
"you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 2:5)."


This process of edification or building up is best summarized by Paul who said,

"you are…God's building (I Cor. 3:9)."

God is the One "who can build you up (Acts 20:32)."

"In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:21)."

Oikodomeo describes the main purpose or work of the "living stones," which God is using to build-up His church.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thes. 5:11).

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and
builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephes. 4:16).

Ralph Neighbour says,

It is obvious that Jesus intended to be the builder of the church, but just as obvious that the "living stones" were to be empowered by Him to share in the building up, or edifying, of all nearby stones. Consider the lifestyle of such a church: a tight relationship exists between every "living stone" and each contiguous (touching) stone. United by the cement of love, the stones know the life of Christ flowing His grace-gifts into them, empowering them to continually build up one another." (Where Do We Go From Here, p. 40)

Edification or the "breathing of life" into other members of the body of Christ is the responsibility of every single Christian. As a body of believers, edification makes us strong as individuals and as a corporate entity.

Edification is most effective in cells where people build-up each other in the true context of meaningful relationship. Outside of meaningful relationships and in a larger context, edification tends to lose its full strength and is often relegated to impersonal hype and religious rhetoric. It is for this reason that edification reaches its maximum potential in the warm, loving environment of a small group of people called a cell.

Each cell serves as a "basic Christian community" or "living stones" fashioned together as a foundation for the building of a true church.

The other primary mission of cell is evangelism.

Without evangelism, small groups of people can become self-centered "fellowships" instead of other-centered "instruments" in the Lord's hands. It is for this reason that many churches implode instead of explode; in other words, they stagnate and eventually decline instead of adding new members through evangelism. Churches that fail to emphasize evangelism in words and in deeds build-up for themselves personal kingdoms or organizations "having a form of godliness, but denying its power (II Tim. 3:5)." The Apostle Paul cautions us to, "have nothing to do with them."

Jesus was quite clear in His commandment that we must go out into this lost and dying world and make disciples.

Since cells meet outside the four walls of a church building, religious stigma and faulty interpretations of religion, for the most part, are far removed. This provides a more inviting atmosphere for people seeking true examples of Christ's love and concern for people's needs. Cell-based ministry is most successful in attracting non-Christians to a warm and comfortable, home environment where people are received in Christ's love. Once relationships are established and people come the Lord, then attending celebration services in the church house becomes a natural step in the life of a new believer.

In EDIFICATION
we build relationship with God
and
each other.

In EVANGELISM
we build relationship with those
who do not know Jesus.


Edification and evangelism go hand-in-hand in the life of cells. It's like building a strong tower next to the seashore and placing a beacon of light on top to help ships in the night find their way. This lighthouse saves the lives of many travelers. Without it, they would dash themselves against rocks.


"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5:14-16, The Message)

Just as we build relationships in edification, we do it also in evangelism. In evangelism be build "relational" bridges into the lives of non-Christians. Why? So that we may one day introduce them to Christ. This is best illustrated by what God did in restoring His relationship with mankind. The redemptive work of Jesus' death on the cross
"bridged the gap"
and broke the power of sin.

An obvious question might be, "Why do I need to reach out? What if I really don't want to?"

If we stop reaching out in edification and evangelism, we begin to stop the flow of God's blessings and purposes in our life as individuals and also as a corporate body of believers. Through the prophet Haggai, the Lord spoke to the people of Israel concerning their failure to earnestly pursue His purposes. He said,
"You plant much but harvest little. You have scarcely enough to eat or drink and not enough clothes to keep you warm. Your income disappears, as though you were putting it into pockets filled with holes (Haggai 1:6, The Living Bible)!"

We must be extremely aware that
we can null and void the biblical laws of "sowing and reaping" (Luke 6:38). True giving is not storing up abundance for us first - then giving as it suits our desires. Consider the parable of the farmer who stored a great abundance in his barns (Luke 12:16-21) and was left depleted in his relationship with God.

Cell is the "place"
where Christians experience a deeper understanding
of the power behind their new life in Christ.




Celebration


Celebration is the second building block to successful, cell-based ministry.

Celebration is the place where all people, who are in cells, corporately gather together once a week for praise and worship to God, our Heavenly Father and Creator. It is here we celebrate God's wonderful blessings in our life. We give Him honor, praise, and thanksgiving. In celebration we come together to learn from God's Word, and how it applies to our individual life and the corporate life of our church.


We Celebrate God's Redemptive Work In Jesus Christ.

We Celebrate His Divine Presence In Our Lives.

We Worship and Honor Him.

We Sing His Praises.

We Give Thanks For His Many Blessings In Our Lives.

We Read and Learn From His Written Word.

We Pray As A Corporate Body of Believers.

In celebration our main focus is on God and His Word. It is not an optimal time to minister to the individual needs of every single Christian present. This is done best in cells.

Traditional churches that try to fit into their weekly worship services the elements of cell and celebration oftentimes find themselves overwhelmed by people's needs and expectations in personal ministry. Many times altar workers are ill-equipped to handle specific needs that cannot be addressed in a short "ministry time" before the congregation is dismissed. Oftentimes people sitting in large congregations are nervous, shy and hesitant about publicly moving to the front of the church sanctuary for prayer. Many leave the church building confused and disillusioned because of their inability to relationally connect with someone concerning their serious prayer needs.

Prayer, ministry, and pastoral care are best accomplished for
every single member of a church body in cells, where people love and trust each other.

In
CELL

we focus in on

People's Need
for Christ and His loving care.

In CELEBRATION
we focus in on

God's Need
for the Praises and Genuine Thankfulness from His children.

Cell-based ministry is incomplete
without the two dynamics of
"
cell" and "celebration,"
which go
hand-in-hand
in an explosive, ministry partnership!


Cell

Celebration

In Cell we Reach INSIDE
our hearts to discover
a
"transformed life."
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

In Celebration we Reach UP
to God
in celebrative praise, worship,
and intercessory prayer.

R
E
A
C
H

U
P

In Cell we Reach IN
and build meaningful relationships
with fellow believers.

John 13:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

In Cell we Reach OUT
to the lost, the downtrodden,
and the hurting.

Matthew 9:37-38
Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field."

In Cell we Reach DOWN
in Servant-leadership.

Matthew 23:11-12 (the Message)
"Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.


A cell church is a celebrating church. Cell Church researcher Joel Comiskey says,

The cell provides intimacy and accountability. The celebration extols the greatness of God as all of His people worship together.

The cell includes personal, individual shepherding. The celebration highlights higher-level leadership.

The cell emphasizes the application of the Word of God. The celebration service includes the teaching of God's Word and often the sacraments. Each leader attempts to bring all cell members to the celebration to hear the Word preached and to participate in the sacraments.

Successful cell churches all around the world take great care in making sure that cell and celebration are properly knitted together to form a very dynamic living organism - the body of Christ.

Cell Ministry Training


Cell Ministry Training is the
third building block to successful, cell-based ministry.


One of the principle factors in making cell churches among the largest and fastest growing churches in the world is "ministry training" that empowers servant-leaders.

Cell church leaders take God seriously at His promises. Just before His Ascension, Jesus told His disciples,

Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:4-8).

The power of the Holy Spirit transforms people lives - oftentimes radically!

Holy Spirit power can flow through our lives like a mighty raging river. Jesus said, He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). It may be a little difficult to understand and accept, but the reality is there - just waiting to be manifested. The same Holy Spirit power that raised Jesus from the dead is resident inside of every born-again believer. Paul said, And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you (Romans 8:11).


The powerful
"life" that Jesus and Paul are referring to is supernatural, abundant life filled with
"joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Pet. 1:8)."

Ephes. 3:20 (Message)
God can do anything, you know-far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.


The manifestation of God's Spirit is realized more in the lives of people in cell-based ministry than in traditional church settings. Statistics (recent Gallup poll) prove that more people are actively involved in ministry than in most traditional church settings.

Gallup Poll Statistics

Traditional American Churches

Cell Churches

Only 10% of all the people
do 90% of all the work.

85% of all the people
actively participate
in ministry work.

Why such a dramatic increase in cell church?


The reason for such an increase in participation is the ministry philosophy behind cell church. Based upon the Word of God, cell-based ministry philosophy declares,

Every single Christian is "called" to minister (I Pet. 2:4-9), live the life of a minister (Eph. 4:1-3), and minister to ministers (Eph. 4:11-16). Traditional mindsets of a division between professional clergy and non-professional laity are not part of cell-based ministry; furthermore, they are simply not biblical.
Every single Christian is filled with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of His power is up to the will of the Spirit and the obedience of the believer (I Cor. 12:7-11).
Every single Christian has a "spiritual gift(s)," that can position a person into God's perfect will and unique contribution into the body of Christ (Rom. 12:2-8). Every Christian has a special place in ministry.
Every single Christian has the potential to be a cell leader and part of the "ministry multiplication process" that defines successful cell-based ministry.

In cell ministry training we simply help Christians discover (often for the first time) their full potential as Christ's ambassadors to a lost and dying world.

They learn how to release the power of the Holy Spirit in their personal lives.
They
learn how to use their spiritual gift(s). They learn how to effectively reach out and touch the lives of people with God's love, grace, and mercy.

I
See

I
Do

I Understand



In cell ministry training we help Christians learn not only how to "talk the talk" but "walk the walk" as well. We give every Christian the opportunity to truly become disciples, just like those in the early New Testament Church.

Jesus said,

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father
(John 14:12).



In cell ministry training we can take a new convert and transform him or her into a cell leader in 6-10 months. This initial training is not designed to
completely train a person in all areas of ministry leadership; however, this training will provide a cell leader with the necessary skills to successfully nurture cell members under his or her care. The cell leader will also be able to help facilitate "Net Evangelism." After that and depending upon a person's hunger for God, the possibilities for further development are limitless!

In most traditional church settings only the gifted and most talented people rise to the occasion in ministry and leadership.

In cell-based ministry EVERYONE, regardless of age, gender, education, etc., is given opportunity to rise to the occasion and fully participate in cell ministry leadership. Every Christian should be given a simple and practical means to "be all they can be for Christ!"



At Shoals New Life we believe
that every believer will find true meaning and purpose for his or her life
by learning how to accept and flow in the "Five-Fold Purpose of the Church."

Five-Fold Purpose of the Church

1.

Exalt the Lord our God
(Ps. 96:1-9; Rev. 4:8-11)

2.

Evangelize the Lost for Christ
(Matt. 9:37; John 4:35)

3.

Establish Mature Disciples
(Col. 2:6-7; Rom. 12:1-2)

4.

Equip Workers for Effective Ministry (Eph. 4:11-13; II Tim. 2:2)

5.

Empower Servant-Leaders
(Matt. 20:25-28; Phil. 2:1-11)

These steps that believers take in learning how to fulfill the purposes of the church are called the
"Process of Ministry Multiplication."




In the Process of Ministry Multiplication,
Christ's Great Commission
to
"go and make disciples" (Matt. 28:19-20)
is truly realized in today's society.

The Principle of Twelve

The Principle of Twelve is the fourth building block to successful, cell-based ministry.

To understand this biblical principle that is impacting cell churches all around the world, we must first explore the simple and dynamic development of cells.

Stages in Cell-based Ministry
and Development

 


The First Stage - A Cell is Birthed.

This is the beginning with one cell leader who is nurturing a small group (at least 3 and usually no more than 12) cell members. These members may include: Disciples in development, Mature Christians, and Non-Christians (known as "Seekers"). This "environment" is conducive exclusively for the evangelism of lost souls and the edification of Christians. After its birth, the cell (now called the "parent cell") will grow and mature for approximately 6 months before it enters into the next stage - Cell Multiplication.


 

The Second Stage - A Cell Begins The Multiplication Process.

This "environment" still remains conducive for evangelism and edification. The cell leader continues in his or her role as a nurturer.
ALL CELL MEMBERS are encouraged to invite non-Christians and attend all aspects of Cell Ministry Training. The big difference is the added presence of cell members who are now trained as Cell Leaders. These people are ready or have already launched out in the birthing of new cells. The "parent cell" usually begins planting or the birthing of new "daughter cells" during the next 7-12 months. As time progresses, more and more cells will be birthed from the "parent cell". Now we have the potential and the reality for maximized ministry and explosive evangelistic growth!

 

The Third Stage - A Leadership Cell Evolves.

The "parent" cell leader continues an on-going relationship with "daughter" cell leaders, who are given opportunity to come back to the "parent cell" each week. The environment in the "parent cell" is conducive only for evangelism, discipleship, and the equipping of workers. It is not exclusively conducive for the further development of cell leaders who need to move on and not stagnate in their growth as servant-leaders. The "Principle of Twelve" (known around the world as Groups of 12) is based upon Jesus' leadership principles for the mentoring of His 12 disciples. It is primarily a regular time and place where cell leaders gather together for fellowship, advanced training, and the development of strategic plans for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. This model for leadership development fine tunes cell church systems by holding ALL cell leaders accountable to other ministry leaders while being responsible for emerging new cell leaders. This is "true" discipleship!

 


At this level we move into a realm of the Spirit that many Christians have never ventured before. A place where satan fights tooth and nail to keep Christians from ever going. This is a place where Christians become
"more than conquerors" (Rom. 8:37) in Christ. Here we are faced with Christ's awesome challenge,

"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."
Matthew 10:34

And with that challenge comes an awesome reality,

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33


In the
Principle of Twelve we extract from the fruit of Jesus' first cell group (His 12 disciples) the essence of true discipleship.

What an awesome opportunity for 12 ordinary, worldly, sinful men saved by grace.
They were personally mentored by the Son of the living God, the Almighty Creator of the heavens and earth. Is that not "cool" or what?

Now if we can just stretch our imagination and look at what Jesus did in the context of cell church, we would see Jesus - the first cell leader with His first 12 cell members. This small cell group started something that has continued for 2,000 years and touched the lives of millions of people all over the world and throughout history. Jesus used these ordinary men (people no different than us today) to start something that has literally "turned the world upside down!"


Despite years of major persecution and organized efforts to snuff out the gospel of Jesus Christ, Christians keep marching on, and on, and on. Nothing, absolutely nothing has stopped the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

In the Principle of Twelve, we are given divine opportunity to take part in Jesus' original design for leadership development. We also learn how to advance the Kingdom of God to such a degree that is unstoppable and very explosive!

At Shoals New Life we want to take part in God's continued efforts to advance His Kingdom, especially here in the Shoals. We believe that God will use
cell-based ministry as a mighty tool for reaching souls for Christ.


Want to Truly Know Christ and Experience the Power of His Gospel?

The four building blocks
to successful cell-based ministry:

Cell
Celebration
Cell Leadership Training

The Principle of 12

offer people the divine opportunity to truly know Christ and burn with the same passion that the Apostle Paul had when he spoke these words from inside a Roman prison,

Philip. 3:8-21 (the Message)

Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant-dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ-God's righteousness.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back. So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision-you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it. Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I've warned you of them many times; sadly, I'm having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ's Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites. But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.

At Shoals New Life
we want to be known as believers that are
"On Fire" for the Lord.
How about you?

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