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January 2015 Newsletter

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Joel Comiskey ministry in January 2015:
-January 06-April 17: Tozer seminary course on
Writing for Publication
-January 26-27, 2015: Nashville, TN. Video taping on cell church themes for LifeWay.
-January 29-30, 2015: Consulting at Celebration Church in New Orleans, LA

Major 2015 JCG Event 
--We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 28, 2015. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Place it on your calendar and  register today for special deals. . 
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Vision and Goals for 2015

Have you set goals for 2015 in cell ministry? Will you? I'm sure you want to move forward in your church. You long to see more growth, new leaders developed, and a stronger cell system. Yet, you are also very busy. You have sermons to prepare, problems to overcome, and family to prioritize. 

So what does it mean to have healthy cell goals versus unhealthy ones in 2015? Is it even possible? Allow me to suggest some key principles:

First, don't make unrealistic goals. This is a common error among pastors. Suddenly, a pastor feels the urge to make goals, so he launches an incredible goal that makes him look good for the moment but has no real chance of fulfillment. Some like to take out their calculators and piously assert, "If each member could just win one more member and each cell leader could just raise up two new leaders we could have 900 cells." Easy! Presto! In reality, it doesn't work that way. Leaders quit. Excitement wanes. Cells close. People are busy.

For years the Elim Church in El Salvador automatically set their goals based on 100% growth. Each district, zone, and sector had to double every year. The problem was that the church never expected to double. Rather, pastors and leaders were placed on a list in the order of how close they came to arriving at the goal of doubling. Those highest on the list often only reached 22% or 24% of their goal to double. Finally, Elim changed this system because it simply wasn't based on reality.

Second, mend the nets. in Matthew 4:21, Scripture says, "Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets." The King James  Version says that they were mending their nets. Fisherman don't want the fish to get away, so they make sure their nets are strong and ready to catch fish.  

It's very hard to set new goals when the nets are riddled with holes and not able to catch and keep the fish. Great cell churches mend the nets by shuffling around leadership in groups that are stagnant, making sure each leader is coached, strengthening the equipping track, and recasting the cell vision to awaken people to cell ministry.  

Third, focus on equipping and coaching. I remember one famous cell church pastor in Costa Rica give a lecture on goal setting. He said, "All you have to do is to know how many will graduate from the equipping track and then multiply cells based on the number of graduates." We in the cell church world believe that new cell leaders need to first go through the church equipping before they can lead a new cell. But I don't think it's wise to send off solo cell leaders. It's much better to graduate teams of leaders from the church-wide equipping and to start new cells with teams. And remember that new groups must be coached to ensure success. 

Fourth, think long term. I hope you are in cell ministry for a lifetime.  You believe that cell ministry is biblical and Christ's way to make disciples. For this reason, don't just multiply cells to fulfill the goal. Weak groups close quickly and while it might be exciting to meet your goals in 2015, remember that 2016 is right around the corner. Multiply healthy cells that will last long-term, glorify Jesus, make disciples,  and bear fruit over the long haul.  

During the month of January, we'll be exploring various aspects of envisioning healthy goals for 2015. We will write twenty blogs on this topic in the month of January. If you'd like to receive these blogs in your email inbox each day, please sign up HERE

  • Week 1 (January 04-10) healthy goals versus unhealthy ones. A healthy goal is based on making disciples who make disciples in cell ministry. They are also based in reality. The unhealthy type of goals are based in idealism. Healthy goals are bold and visionary but focus on the long-term results, knowing that cell ministry is a lifetime strategy. 
  • Week 2 (January  11-17);Mending the nets. At the end of each year, it's good to mend the cell nets, especially if last year's goals have been heavy and demanding. It's important not to fish with nets full of holes. This means  discovering what went wrong and what went right. Scripture tells us to "Know the state of the flocks."
  • Week 3 (January 18-24); Equipping and coaching.  It's essential to base goals for new disciples  on the equipping and the coaching. I tell pastors all the time about the need to truly focus on the equipping and coaching to ensure quality in the current groups but also to reach the cell goals. Who is taking the equipping? Where are they in the process? Are the current leaders and new ones coached? 
  • Week 4 (January 25-31); Consistency. I'm referring here to passion and persistence. This refers to working steadily throughout the year. Great pastors are able to dream of a better future but then work steadily on making that dream come true. The key is steady and consistent growth.

What kind of goals are you making for 2015. Feel free to share here.

Joel Comiskey