Unit 7.18 Question: Was Early Methodism a Cell Church?


Unit 7:  Methodist Historical DNA and Modern Cell Churches: Is There A Match?

Lecture: Question: Was Early Methodism a Cell Church?

Over the past weeks we=ve looked at a variety of cell churches; this week our attention turns to historic Methodism in England. All of the cell churches we have looked at credit Wesley=s organization of small groups as their inspiration if not the model they copy. In their enthusiasm, sometimes some inaccurate historical claims are made, projecting modern cell church methods back onto Wesley=s movement. We are now equipped – as best as we are able, not being historians but merely tourists – to consider the question of this lecture: was early Methodism a cell church?

Standing in the center of our reminisces, we can make some generalizations about cell churches, particularly with regard to the perspectives I=ve brought to our guided tour. And we can discuss a valuable question: in your opinion, does early Methodism qualify as a cell church? Three concepts from the Doctor of Ministry project help me to establish a matrix of common factors related to cell churches. These are my generalizations; they may or may not be helpful to you. We can use that matrix to help us compare and contrast cell churches with each other.  The three matrix concepts are:

A. The Four Systemic Problems that prevent disciple making,[1] which are:

1. Not making disciples.

2. Institutional world view.

3. Prairie DNA.

4. Stranger evangelism.

B. The Four Priorities of the cell church,[2] which are:

#1: Jesus is Lord, leading to prayer and goals. (Matthew 28:18)

#2: Evangelism or Working in Prevenient Grace. (Matthew 28:19)

#3: Leadership Development or Working in Sanctifying Grace. (Matthew 28:20)

Equipping Tracks

Management Structures

#4: Cells are the best means to fulfill these priorities (I fulfill my purpose best in a group.)

C. The Five Stages of Spiritual Maturity,[3] which are: Newborn (aka Infants or Eddies), Child , Teen, Parent, Grandparent.

[1]See Chapter One: Systemic Problems, p. 5-35, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

[2]These are defined in Seminar One: Diagnosis, p. 10-23, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

[3]These are defined in Seminar One: Diagnosis,  p. 30-41, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

NOTE (my response)



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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