USA Cell Church Examples

This entry is part 13 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Dale Galloway used the Yoido 5×5 system to build New Hope Community Church of Portland, Oregon, to more than five thousand persons in cells by 1990.[1] Bethany World Prayer Center, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was inspired by the Elim Church 5×5 system and had a net growth of six hundred families in 1993, their first year of cell ministry. In four years they had gained a net growth of two thousand families.[2] Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago is transforming itself to a modified metachurch model of using small groups to provide community in their congregation of more than twenty thousand.[3] Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church of rural Dayton, Ohio, grew from an attendance of ninety in 1979 to a congregation in 2006 of more than four thousand in weekly attendance.[4] It is still located on a rural county road miles from any large population center and has utilized a cell driven approach since the early days under Pastor Michael Slaughter.[5] Chapter 2 will describe effective discipleship systems with specific examples from Yoido Full Gospel Church, the world’s largest cell church with over 700,000 members.

[1]Elmer Towns, An Inside Look at 10 of Today’s Most Innovative Churches: What They’re Doing, How They’re Doing It & How You Can Apply Their Ideas in Your Church (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1990), 35-41. Cf. Dale E. Galloway, 20/20 Vision: How to Create a Successful Church (Portland, OR: Scott Publishing Co., 1986). Cf. William Easum, Dancing With Dinosaurs: Ministry in a Hostile and Hurting World (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 62-66.

[2]Larry Stockstill, Cell Church, 22. Bethany is now the primary proponent of the G12 system in the United States. Cf. Bethany Cell Church Network, BCCN: The Bethany Cell Church Network, (accessed June 12, 2007).

[3]Willow Creek struggled with a variety of small group formats to effectively provide discipleship care to so many converts, finally settling on what Hybels refers to as a “modified Metachurch” model. Christine M. Anderson, “Life Together: Reclaiming the Ministry of Small Groups” in Equipping the Saints: Mobilizing Laity for Ministry, ed. Michael J. Christensen with Carl E. Savage (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000), 55. Cf. Paul Braoudakis, ed. Willow Creek Community Church Church Leaders Handbook (Barrington, IL: The Willow Creek Association, 1997), 115. For metachurch information, see Carl George, The Coming Church Revolution (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 1994), 59, 124. For the conversion to small groups, see Bill Donahue, “Releasing Community in Small Groups,” The Pastor’s Update 80, no. 7019 (Pasadena, CA: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1998). Donahue states that Willow Creek’s shift to a better system of managing small groups and a goal that all members participate was accompanied by a reallocation of 25% of their budget toward this purpose.

[4]Michael Slaughter, Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Six Principles for Risking Renewal

(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 14-15, 72-75, 122-123, 131-134. Weekly participation in 2006 averages over four thousand with seven weekend worship services. Cf. Ginghamsburg Key Staff Directory: Mike Slaughter, (accessed June 18, 2007).

[5]Ginghamsburg does their own version of cell; cf. Easum, Dancing With Dinosaurs, 66-69. For a more traditional application of cell principles in a United Methodist context, cf. Steve Cordle, Church In Many Houses: Reaching Your Community Through Cell-Based Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005).

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