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 Knowing God

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Breathing New Life

Into The Heart of the Shoals

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Who We Are and Why

Shoals New Life is a new and exciting "
cell-based ministry," breathing new life into the heart of the Shoals. Our ministry design is modeled after the 1st Century, New Testament Church (Acts 2:42-47) - God's original design for evangelism, discipleship, and pastoral care. The early Church regularly met in the temple and in homes.

Acts 5:42
Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

These early believers were
On Fire" for the Lord.

They began sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone who would listen. According to history, the New Testament Church EXPLODED from 120 believers to thousands in a very short time - blanketing the entire Roman Empire in just 60 years. Without the means of modern-day communications and transportation, the early Christians spread the gospel like a raging forest fire - impacting communities, cities, and nations. These ordinary, early believers, simply through one-on-one and small group relationships, accomplished extraordinary tasks. For the first 300 years of the early church's history there were no buildings for large gatherings of people. They met in homes, in public, in local gathering places, and mainly in small groups. All the powerful dynamics of worship, prayer, ministry, evangelism, and discipleship took place inside the context of small group relationships usually in someone's home.

Jesus told us exactly how God was going to impact people lives all over the world and throughout history. He said, "What you'll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world (Acts 1:8, Message)."

The power factor in "cell-based" ministry is
PEOPLE who are filled with the power and presence of God's Holy Spirit; connecting in personal relationships with others. Small groups, known as "cells," provide the relational, Christ-centered environment where people experience "new life in Christ." In cells people learn three (3) basic principles that cause them to grow and mature in the Lord.

First, people must discover how to "receive new life!"

Jesus declared,
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)." The Apostle Paul said, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Eph. 2:8). By the end of the 18th Century, John Wesley, a pioneer in small group evangelism, had developed 10,000 cells (called classes) that fostered 250,000 born-again believers. Wesley wasn't persuaded that someone had made a decision for Christ until that person became involved in a small group. Wesley was more interested in discipleship than in a decision. He believed that a person's faith could incubate more effectively in a warm Christian environment (small groups in homes) than in the chill of the world. At Shoals New Life we believe that people will "receive new life in Christ" quicker and with deeper understanding within the context of meaningful relationships in a small group.

Secondly, Christians must learn how to "breath new life!" on a daily basis.

Jesus proclaimed,
"Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says (John 7:38, Message)." In his letter to the Romans Paul said, With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2, Message). At Shoals New Life we believe that Christians best learn how to "breathe new life in Christ" in the context of a small group, where people are free to be themselves; a place to be ministered to and to minister.

Thirdly, Christians must also learn how to "share new life!"

John the Apostle said,
But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God's Son, purges all our sin (1 John 1:7, Message). Concerning our personal growth John also said, My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us - perfect love!
(1 John 4:11-12, Message) At Shoals New Life we teach Christians how to "share new life in Christ" with family, friends, and co-workers. We evangelize through a partnered, team approach known as "Net fishing," which catches multitudes. "Net fishing" is exciting and yields greater results than one Christian using one fishing pole.

These biblical principles help people find true meaning and purpose for their lives. We want to see people's lives, families, and homes
changed and transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. At Shoals New Life we believe that life-changing ministry is maximized through the avenues of meaningful relationships. Each week small groups of people (4 -12 members in a cell) gather together in homes to develop meaningful relationships and share the gospel with people who do not know Jesus. Each cell serves as a dynamic, "Koinonia" environment where people actually feel God's love, experience new life in Christ, and encounter the awesome power of the Holy Spirit! To maximize our cell-based ministry, people gather together in cells for nurture and pastoral care; then once a week, all cells corporately gather together for a time of celebration, to give praise and worship to God, our Creator and Heavenly Father.

Why Shoals New Life Is Called A "Cell Church"

The word
"Cell Church" became a popular church growth strategy in the 70's with Dr. David Yonggi Cho who pastors Yoido Full Gospel Church (largest church in the world - 700,000 members) in Seoul, Korea. At present Dr. Cho's church has 25,000 cells where evangelism, discipleship, and pastoral care take place on a regular basis.

The foundational principle behind "Cell Church"
is that cells (small groups)

are the "backbone" of church life.
The cell system is the organizational framework
of the living organism - the church.

Cell ministry is not another program.

It is the heart of the church!

As Lawrence Khong, pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church in Singapore says,
"There is a vast difference between a church with cells and a cell church…We don't do anything else except the cell. All the things the church must do - training, equipping, discipleship, evangelism, prayer, worship - are done through cells. Our Sunday service is just the corporate celebration." Faith Community Baptist Church has 600 cells with 10,000 active worshippers on Sunday mornings.

Simply stated, a Cell Church is a congregation of believers who have placed evangelistic-focused, small groups at the core of its ministry. People meet weekly to encourage each other, and to spread the gospel to those who don't know Jesus. The ultimate goal of each cell is to
reproduce itself as the group grows through evangelism. In cells, lost souls are evangelizing, people are pastored well, and leaders are raised up to fulfill God's purposes. To complete the process, all members of cell groups are strongly encouraged to corporately come together weekly for a inspirational time of celebration in praise and worship to God.

But why use the word "cell?" Cells, biologically, are "the smallest structural unit of an organism that is capable of independent functioning." One drop of blood, for instance, has about 300 million red cells! Just as individual cells join to form the body of a human being, cells in a church form the Body of Christ. Further, each biological cell grows and reproduces its parts until it divides into two cells. The total genetic package received in part from the parent is re-established in each daughter cell. This also occurs in healthy church cells (Joel Comiskey, Home Cell Group Explosion, p. 19). The same concept of cell makeup and reproduction is true of the cell groups in the local church. Each cell of the church must be multifaceted and complete in ministry functions. The cell group represents a basic unit of the local church's ministry with its many components. In the New Testament every component for a healthy church body was present: Bible study, prayer, evangelism, edification of the believer, and discipleship were all part of the cell group. The healthy cell group characterized the true essence of the early church that "turned the world upside down."

At Shoals New Life we believe that God is raising-up
new ministries to fulfill His purposes and plans for the New Millennium. We want to take our place among the ranks of the fastest growing, evangelistic churches in the world today - Cell Churches.

Our Purpose

Today and all around the world, God is transforming the lives of individual Christians and corporate body of believers (His Church) into
"new wineskins" able to receive "new wine" (Matt. 9:17). God is pouring out fresh revelation, sincere passion for reaching lost souls, and bold courage to serve Christ - no matter the costs. The history of God's church throughout time has always been a story of new wineskins. God is now preparing new wineskins for a new millennium. According to church growth experts, "Cell Churches" are among the largest and fastest growing churches in the world; prepared and positioned to reap the last great harvest before Christ's soon return. Shoals New Life is a "Cell Church" ready to meet God's challenge for the 21st Century. We are poised for maximum ministry and explosive evangelistic growth. We are a congregation of believers ready to partner with other churches in the Shoals in TAKING THE SHOALS FOR CHRIST!

Shoals New Life was birthed out of the hearts of seasoned Christians who share great vision and passion for reaching the lost here in the Shoals. Our main
mission is Christ's Great Commission, to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our strategy is known as "Ministry Multiplication," whereby committed Christian learn how to exalt the Lord our God (Ps. 96:1-9; Rev. 4:8-11), evangelize the Shoals for Christ (Matt. 9:37; John 4:35), establish mature disciples (Col. 2:6-7; Romans 12:1-2), equip workers for effective ministry (Eph. 4:11-13; II Tim. 2:2), and empower servant-leaders (Matt. 20:25-28; Phil. 2:1-11).

At Shoals New Life we believe, now more than ever, that we must
"be about the Father's business in the advancement of the Kingdom of God." There are approximately 100,000 unchurched people in the Shoals. Jesus said, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (Luke 10:2)." Cautioning His disciples about procrastinating in evangelism, Jesus also said, "Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest (John 4:35)." With the soon return of Christ upon the historical horizon, it's time to "pull out all the stops" in evangelizing boys, girls, men, and women here in the Shoals. Time is short and people's eternal lives are at stake!

What We Plan To Do

In order to accomplish our objectives we will plant hundreds of ministry cells, known as New Life FellowShips, all across the Shoals area of North Alabama. Strategically planted in communities, each New Life FellowShip will serve as a "light-house," where people radiate with God's love and new life in Christ. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16)." New Life FellowShips are community evangelistic outposts, discipleship training centers, and powerful intercessory prayer gatherings.

Our goal is to plant "New Life FellowShips" in communities all across the Shoals. Over the course of the next 3 years, we will have planted 100 FellowShips that are impacting the lives of thousands of people. Each fellowship will be a "Koinonia Environment" where people truly experience new life in Christ and the warmth of meaningful relationships with fellow Christians. Our main mission is the "Great Commission" to go and make disciples of Jesus Christ by evangelizing the lost, establishing mature disciples, equipping qualified workers, and empowering servant-leaders. Strengthen by the power of God's Holy Spirit, we will help breathe new life into the heart of the Shoals.


We want to truly experience the same joy and enthusiasm that the early Christians of the 1st Century New Testament Church gave testimony of.

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47

The New Testament Church was a powerful instrument in the hands of the Lord. These were ordinary Christians empowered by God with extraordinary strength and courage. They were obedient to Christ's teaching and enjoyed the blessings of God. Today, in modern times, we too can capture the true essence of the New Testament Church. Cell Churches all around the world are returning to the basics of Christianity in order to move forward in God's plans for this new millennium. Those who become part of Shoals New Life are given opportunity to step into the dynamic environment of a New Testament Church and see how true Christianity, instead of religion, can radically transform people's lives. Like the 1st Century New Testament Church, we want to raise the standard of ministry excellence to a height were God wants us - a place where His supernatural power and the reality of His presence are truly manifested. We desire to point people to Christ and watch what happens, as possibilities, dreams, and divine opportunities become realities in people's lives.

Modeling the biblical principles of a New Testament Church, we encourage all of our members to reach for their full potential in Christ by participating in four (4) major "building blocks" to ministry development and explosive growth: "
Cell" (the basic building block for edification and evangelism), "Celebration" (corporate gathering of all cells), "Cell Ministry Training" (process of Ministry Multiplication), and the "Principle of Twelve" (leadership development and explosive cell multiplication). All of this can be accomplished in approximately 4 ½ hours per week, a relatively small investment with BIG RETURNS! Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38)."

What We Believe

Our Statement of Faith:

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired, authoritative, infallible Word of God.

We believe that Jesus Christ was God manifested in the flesh. We believe in Jesus' virgin birth, His sinless life, and miracles.

We believe in Jesus Christ's atoning death on the cross and that the shedding of His blood serves as the propitiation for our sins.

We believe that on the third day following His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God and serves as our Advocate.

We believe that Jesus Christ will personally return to earth in all of His power and glory.

We believe in the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit who takes up residence in the heart of believers and provides power for a regenerated, godly life.

We believe that salvation for sinful man is obtained by faith in Jesus Christ and not by works.

We believe in the resurrection of the body, both the just and the unjust - the just unto eternal life and the unjust unto eternal punishment.

Our Core Values (Ministry Philosophy):

We believe that the soon return of Christ mandates our mission to be positioned and prepared to reap the "last great harvest of souls" through the advancement of the Kingdom of God.

We believe that our main mission is the Great Commission to make disciples of Jesus Christ by a process of "Ministry Multiplication" - evangelizing the Shoals for Christ, establishing mature disciples, equipping workers for effective ministry, and empowering servant-leaders.

We believe that a "cell-based" ministry strategy (small groups of people meeting in homes) is the closest representation of the 1st Century, New Testament Church - God's original design for evangelism, discipleship, and pastoral care.

We believe that in "cells" people build meaningful relationships - the avenues of personal development and maximized ministry.

We believe in corporate "celebration" - a time when all cells come together to give praise and worship to God, our Creator and Heavenly Father.

We believe in a "biblical approach" to management and structure, where people (not money and buildings) are considered the most valuable resource.

We believe in the true essence of the Body of Christ - everyone has a vital place of ministry through the exercise of spiritual gifts.

We believe in the "priesthood of all believers" - everyone is called to serve and minister.

We believe in the power of prayer, authority of God's Word, and the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit to transform people's lives.

We believe in the relational purpose of "city church" - that only one Christian Church exists in the Shoals; it just happens to meet in several different locations.

We believe in the corporate, ministry strategy of synergism - we can accomplish far more together than we ever thought on our own; together, we can take our city for Christ!

We believe that
God orchestrates personal relationships for divine purposes - God strategically puts people together to accomplish His plans to touch people's hearts and impact the life of an entire community.

Cell Churches Around The World

Bethany World Prayer Center - Baker, LA - Senior Pastor: Larry Stockstill
This is an old established, traditional-based church in Louisiana. After his encounter with the Lord on election night in 1992, Larry instituted major changes in his church's ministry structure. In Jan. 1993 he assembled his prayer intercessors and began Bethany's transition to a cell church. They began with 54 cells. At the end of 1993 they had a net growth of 600 families added to the church. At the end of 1996 the church exploded to 310 cells with more than 2,000 more families added to the church. From 1993-1997 they registered 5,000 conversions in the cells alone. By 1998 the church had 500 cells and 7,000 active members. By 1999 they had 800 cells and 8,000 active members.

The Christian Center of Guayaqil - Guayaquil, Ecuador - Senior Pastor: Jerry Smith
From 1992-1996, in just 4 years, CCG grew from 16 cells to 1,600 cells, averaging 396 new groups per year. 80% of the cells were planted from scratch. 20% of the cells were birthed through multiplication. Today they have 2,000 cells and 7,000 active members.

Elim Church - San Salvador, El Salvador - Senior Pastor: Mario Vega
Civil war raged through El Salvador from 1981 to 1992 claiming 75,000 lives. But through the bloodstained tears, the evangelical church grew from 2.3% of the population to over 20%. The growth at Elim Church has been so tremendous that the cell groups rent over 600 buses to carry cell members to the celebration services. The church transitioned to cells in 1986. From 1986-1991 cell attendance jumped to 57,000. Today 130,000 people participate in 6,000 cells with 35,000 in attendance at celebration on Sunday mornings.

Faith Community Baptist Church - Singapore - Senior Pastor: Lawrence Khong
Ralph Neighbor, a modern day pioneer in cell-based ministry, is the associate pastor here. This church mushroomed from 600 members in 1986 to the present 10,000 as a result of a home, cell-group explosion. It transitioned to cells in 1986. Today it has 120 pastors, 77 administrative staff who care for 600 cells and 10,000 members.

The International Charismatic Mission - Bogotá, Columbia - Senior Pastor: Cesar Castellanos. After struggling as a pastor for nine years, in 1983 Cesar Castellanos was about to give up. At that point, the Lord intervened with a vision that changed his life. The Lord told Pastor Castellanos that his converts would number more than the stars of the sky and the sand by the seashore. Within three months that followed, his church skyrocketed from 8 members to 200. In 1990, ICM had 70 cell groups, and in 1994, about 1,200. ICM exploded between 1995 and 1997. In 1996 alone, the number of cells grew from 4,000 to 10,500. By June 1998, there were 24,000 cell groups. The goal for 2000 AD is 50,000 cell groups and 500,000 people attending Sunday worship. The church, one of the fastest growing in the world, has expanded so rapidly that it now gathers in a stadium in Bogotá, Columbia. About 17,000 young people meet every Saturday night in the indoor stadium. On Sunday morning, the church has three services. 24,000 cell groups minister to this huge congregation.

Love Alive Church - Tegucigalpa, Honduras - Senior Pastor: Rene Penalba
1,000 cells and 8,000 active members.

Living Water Church - Lima, Peru - Senior Pastor: Juan Captor
1,000 cells and 9,000 active members.

Yoido Full Gospel Church - Seoul, Korea - Senior Pastor: David Cho
This is the largest church in the world. On Sundays the church buzzes with life! From dawn until dusk, tens of thousands of people serve Jesus Christ in every nook and corner of that huge church. What's the "secret strength" behind Yoido Full Gospel Church? Prayer. Some 3,000 people pray at Prayer Mountain each day (10,000 on the weekend). The leadership at this church believes that we are in spiritual battle that can be won only in the heavenlies, and they act - and pray - accordingly. No wonder the evangelical church in Korea has grown from .05% to 30% of the population in a short period of time! From a vision given to him by the Lord, David Cho transitioned his church to cells in the early 70's. Unable to find enough men in his church to help, Cho commissioned women in this church to accept strategic roles as cell leaders. Today 80% of the cell leaders are women. This church now has 25,000 cells. 155,000 worshippers on Sundays and another 100,000 in attendance at 14 satellite churches in the area.

New Hope Community Church - Portland, Oregon - Senior Pastor: Dale Galloway
Launched as a cell church in 1972, this US church has risen to 500 cells and 5,500 active members.

Baptist Church - Ivory Coast, Africa - Senior Pastor: Dion Roberts
Transitioned to cells in 1983 with 683 members, this church has grown to 8,000 cells and 120,000 in active attendance at their Sunday morning worship service.

Surprisingly, most of these explosive, evangelistic statistics occurred in the 90's. The Last Great Harvest is not some prophetic vision yet to be fulfilled. It's happening right now!

28,000 people a day are being born again in China.

20,000 people a day are being born again in Africa.

35,000 people a day are being born again in Latin America.

Christianity is the fastest-growing movement in the world with a 6.9% growth rate, compared to 2.7% for Islam, 2.2% for Hinduism and 1.7% for Buddhism.

In 1900 there were no known Christians in Korea; now 40% of the population is Christian. In 1950 China had one million believers. By 1980 there were 40 million and 75 million by 1992.

In Iran, more people have been converted to Christ in the past 10 years than in the previous 1,000 years.

Latin Americans are getting saved at a rate four times faster than the population growth. In 1900 there were only 50,000 born-again believers in the Latin countries; by 1980 there were 20 million. By the year 2000 their ranks are expected to grow to more than 100 million.

In Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf War, more than 100 churches were planted (Frank Damazio, Seasons of Revival, pp. 51-52).

Statistics show that 70% of church growth since the inauguration of the early church
in the first century has occurred in
this century.

of church growth in this century has occurred since the end of World War II.

of church growth since 1945 has occurred in the last five (5) years!

Cell Church Resources

Recommended Reading:


Joel Comiskey

Home Cell Group Explosion
Reap The Harvest
Groups of 12

Larry Stockstill

Cell Church

Ralph Neighbour

Where Do We Go From Here?

Additional Books On Changes In Church Life In The New Millennium:

Churchquake by C. Peter Wagner
The Second Coming of the Church by George Barna
Radical Renewal by Howard Synder
Dancing With Dinosaurs by William Easum
Loving Your City Into The Kingdom by Ted Haggard

Cell Church Web Sites:

Touch Ministries (Ralph Neighbors) - www.touchusa.org

High Impact Ministries -

Bethany World Prayer Center's Cell Church Network (Larry Stockstill) www.bccn.com

Dove Christian Fellowship (Larry Kreider) -

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