Unit 4.8 The Second Wave: South American Innovations in Discipleship Systems


Unit 3: The Second Wave: South American Innovations

Lecture: Discipleship Systems

The cell church began at Yoido and then was interpreted worldwide in two variants: the pure cell church and the metachurch. Cell churches in South America adopted the cell innovation and revised it for their cultural background with great success. I believe these modifications are a new, or second wave of cell innovation.

Joel Comiskey=s book, Reap the Harvest, is my favorite description of the discipleship system in these churches, while Comiskey=s  Leadership Explosion is the best book on the use of equipping tracks for training a healthy core group. Two books by Larry Stockstill and Billy Hornsby discuss the implementation of these principles in our example church for Unit 4, Bethany World Prayer Center near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Bethany was originally inspired by the Elim Church 5×5 cell management structure and had a net growth of 600 families in 1993, their first year of cell ministry. Net growth had been flat for 1990-92, so they know that the increase is due to the transition to cell. In 1993-1996 they had gained a net growth of 2000 families (CC: 22). In 2002 their goal is to plant 500 indigenous churches in Third World countries. Bethany is now the primary proponent of the second wave G12 management structure in the United States.[1]

[1] For a comparison of the 5×5 and G12 model, see the article by Ralph W. Neighbour, Jr. AStructuring Your Church for Growth – An Examination of Three Cell Structures@ in the Workshop Materials section of this unit.

NOTE (my response)



RH: Joel Comiskey, Reap the Harvest: How A Small Group System Can Grow Your Church (Houston, TX: Touch Publications, 1999)

CC: Larry Stockstill, The Cell Church: Preparing Your Church for the Coming Harvest (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1998)

The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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