This is More Important to Discipleship Than Structures

This is More Important to Discipleship Than Structures
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Discipleship Key

Jim Berry writes in his book The Power of Habit, ”The kind of life we lead today is essentially the product of our habits—our daily routines, our daily processes.” In this month’s newsletter, I talked about Freddy Noble’s church in Manhattan, New York. I first gave a seminar there in 2005, and at that time, the church had been transitioning for a couple of years. I rejoice that today cell ministry has become a habit for him and his people. Freddy continues to lead a cell group, coaches and equips leaders, and gives clear vision and direction to the church.

Even today, Freddy has to guard against well-meaning people who blur the vision, but the good news is that it’s far easier now to stay on course than before. Why? Because cell ministry has become part of the culture. It’s a lifestyle, a habit. The members attend cells each week as part of who they are and what they do. Yes, Freddy still has to occasionally say “no” to competing programs, but most of the members are becoming disciples through cell ministry, and their example speaks loudly and clearly about the vision of the church. Paul pointed to the changed lives of his disciples when people had questions:

You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:2).

Freddy simply points to what the church is already doing when people have other agendas. He encourages everyone to start the process of becoming a disciple through cell ministry, rather than just sitting and watching others minster.

I coach another pastor who recently said to me, “Joel, my goal this year is for my people to really understand that cell ministry is all about making disciples who make disciples. Four years ago, I thought that changing the coaching structure would make the difference, but I failed to help the people grasp the deeper value of the why of cell ministry, and the importance of disciple-making.”

This pastor confessed to me that for many years he was focused on outward, structural changes but now realizes that the key is making cell ministry a life-style and habit. This pastor is looking for permanent change in his church.

Former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, once said, “Watch your actions for they become…habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” What about you? Is cell ministry a habit? Whether your leading a group, attending one or pastoring a church, ask Jesus to deepen your convictions and habits so that making disciples becomes a lifestyle.

This article originally appeared here.

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Joel Comiskey
Joel Comiskey (Ph.D. Fuller Seminary) is an internationally recognized cell church coach and consultant. He has served as a missionary with the C&MA in Quito, Ecuador and is now founding pastor of a cell-based church in Southern California. Joel has written best selling books on the worldwide cell group movement. He teaches as an adjunct professor at several theological seminaries. Joel Comiskey Group is a tax exempt, non-profit organization dedicated to helping complete the Great Commission in this century by providing resources and coaching to plant new cell churches and transition existing churches to cell-based ministry. For further reading on this topic, see Comiskey's books Making Cell Groups Work Navigation Guide and Home Cell Group Explosion.

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