The following story may help illustrate the system; each circle is illustrated by a letter of the alphabet.
Carl opens a cell and welcomes Dan, who becomes a Christian. Dan continues to participate in the open cell and grow in faith. Carl encourages Dan and all other converts to open and lead their own cells.
When Dan opens his own cell, he stops going to Carl=s cell and joins a special group lead by Carl for his Adisciples@ called a Group of Twelve or G12 group. Eric is converted in Dan=s cell, and when Eric opens a cell, he becomes Dan=s disciple and Dan begins his own G12 group with Eric as the first member. Dan=s next disciple, Ed, opens his own cell group and joins Dan and Eric in the G12 group.
Dan=s leadership of his cell is supported by many kinds of Celebration gatherings, classes, retreats and other training opportunities which train him and to which he can bring his cell members, but his primary supervision comes through his participation in Carl=s G12 group. This relationship of trust between Carl and Dan, which began with his conversion, will never end; it is a relationship like father and son. Dan will always have Carl in his life and Carl will always be there for him.
Dan still meets with all his old cell friends each week in Carl’s G12, and all his friends from his original open cell in his G12. Dan’s convivial South American culture relishes this frequent interaction with his closest friends.
Carl also participates each week in the G12 cell of Brian, the man who led him to Christ and whose disciple he became when he opened his own cell group. Brian likewise participates in the G12 of his spiritual father, Alfred. When Carl has twelve disciples, he will dedicate his energies to helping Dan and other members of his G12 to fill up their own network of twelve disciples. Brian is like a grandfather to Dan, and Alfred is like the wise patriarch of their extended family or tribe. Alfred, Brian, Carl and Dan represent four generations, like four widening circles, of a G12 structure; when Eric opens a cell, that will be a fifth generation.
Paul describes a four generation structure of disciples in 2 Timothy 2:2: what you (Timothy=Carl) have heard from me (Paul=Brian) before many witnesses entrust to faithful men (Dan) who will be able to teach others (Eric) also. (Alfred, of course, is Jesus.)
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.