Unit 3.2 Two basic trends developed: Ralph Neighbour and Carl George.


Two basic trends developed.  Ralph Neighbour’s brilliant adaptation of Yoido’s discipleship system focused on the contrast between the  “pure cell church” and the traditional church, leading to what I call the second wave of innovation in South American churches which is the topic of Unit 4. Carl George’s innovation, the “metachurch model,” focused on similarities between Yoido and the traditional church, leading to what I call the third  wave of innovation in “cellish” American megachurches which is the topic of Unit 5.

The problem with new innovations is that they attract innovators who likewise modify the original innovator’s adaptation of the innovation. And these new, “improved” innovations lead to more innovators and more modifications and concessions to tradition. The cycle repeats as ideas are handed onward from innovator to innovator until whatever it was that worked at Yoido has been removed or neutered. Result: the “new idea” fails to achieve its goals in the Western setting. Systems take advantage of this weakness of innovators as a means of resisting change, often resulting in church conflicts and the painful rejection of the innovation.

After reviewing Beckham, Neighbour and George’s early contribution to these trends, we’ll take a brief look at insights from the diffusion of innovations on this process. The inability of innovators to follow instructions without “mending” them underlies many of the negative experiences of attempting to bring innovation to traditional settings, according to diffusion of innovations theory. The second half of the great commission in Matthew 28:20a is essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission: “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” The essential quality of this Great Commission teaching is that new disciples become able follow instructions.  To simply obey Christ is still a challenge for many and still a challenge for me. The inability to follow directions and to teach new disciples to follow directions underlies many significant problems in the church today. It is the major challenge to developing a healthy discipleship system.

David Kueker

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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