Unit 4.3 The cells themselves function as a discipleship system


Functioning within an institutional church, the cell movement has two distinct parts. First, the cells themselves function as a discipleship system where individuals are allowed to learn how to exercise their gifts without being stifled by the institutional needs of the large group.  There is no opportunity in the large group for everyone to demonstrate their spiritual gifts while the rest sit in passive receptiveness.Large group ministries allow only a small portion of church members to function as leaders and develop their spiritual gifts. Jealousy over the ability to use one=s gift leads to the narcissism and entitlement which  Paul corrects in 1 Corinthians 12. The larger the large group, the less room there is for individuals to be leaders and the greater the pressure upon individuals to disrespect their gifts and Aserve Christ@ by just being part of an enthusiastic audience. The loss of personal significance in ministry is a primary cause of small churches not growing.

The cells are linked by a network of active leaders; the network is the healthy core group which functions both as the managing structure of the discipleship system for the supervision and support of cell leaders and the equipping track by which they are trained. As the number of leaders increases, support systems to manage, train and support leaders become crucial. Innovations in the cell movement are largely related to new methods of organizing the healthy core group that consists of the network of leaders. Yoido advocates a A5x5″ system where every five leaders have a supervisor whose task is to support their ministry by personal, mentoring involvement. With a span of control of only five, lots of personal attention is possible. When there is a problem or a large number of new converts are brought into the cells, the management team has lots of time and resources to deal with all of the needs. In the 5×5 system, supervisors are very involved in the ministry of cell leaders. In Korea this means participating in ministry visits with cell leaders to pray with lost neighbors or cell members.

The primary innovations of the Second Wave are equipping tracks and the management structure known as the G12 model. The pure cell church focuses on Amentor‑driven discipleship@ with a close, interactive relationship with a leader as supervisor, trainer and mentor. This allows the pure cell church to do everything within the cell and celebration.  This method of training would be similar to home schooling your children; the difficulties become obvious when viewed through that lens. The pure cell church has classes and retreats, but the emphasis is on learning within the cell through personal mentoring; Yoido has always had both but the complexities of size result in a greater reliance on interpersonal mentoring. Leaders in a 5×5 model have lots of time to be involved in personal mentoring.

Second Wave churches establish equipping tracks in order to transfer a share of the task of training into events, retreats and classes outside the cell. The pure cell approach is similar to home schooling; the second wave equipping track approach establishes a public school approach with a graduated progression of learning experiences. Equipping tracks allow the cell to be more relational, like a family, and remove the expectation that the cell leader have high levels of expertise in all spiritual matter and/or gifts of teaching. This supports and facilitates a key belief of the second wave: that every person, no matter who, can eventually lead a cell; this is made possible by the support of God and the leadership network.

In the G12 model, the span of control is widened from five to twelve cell leaders per supervisor.When fully realized, this allows a very flat hierarchy of leadership in a very large church.  There would be, for example, only 4 layers of hierarchy in a church of 20,736 and one more for a church of 248,832 members. This allows far fewer leaders to be involved in supervision and many more leaders involved in seeking the lost through cells. On paper the concept is brilliant, and many churches are shifting to the G12 from the 5×5 model; the 5×5 is more structured, so the G12 is also more pleasing to innovators. There are problems in implementation, however, and good minds are working to resolve them.  The world=s most successful model, however, remains the 5×5 as exemplified by Yoido.

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.

This entry was posted in z_Major League Disciple Making. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.