Unit 5.20 Ginghamsburg: Cells or not a cell?


Despite their use of the word cell, Ginghamsburg does not utilize the aggressive evangelism techniques, equipping tracks or management structures used in cell churches already studied in our class. They call their small groups cells but Aonly as a living group, doing life together, we don=t grow and split or limit the time together, we want our groups to do life together for the long term.@[1] There is no hierarchical network of connecting Acoaches;@ at this time; the emphasis is on upfront training for Anew groups, new leaders and to just help existing active groups as needed.@ Groups are set up into geographical districts; monthly, non-mandatory trainings for group leaders are also offered. AWe do promote discipleship and accountability and service in our small group ministry approach. It is our most decisive form of discipleship here at Ginghamsburg.  Our small groups are not evangelistic or outreach in nature at all (although that happens).  But our small group formation is around peer‑to‑peer leadership instead of heavy top-down leadership.  I will say we promote and heavily push a >putting the sermon to application= approach where we create sermon based curriculum for the cell groups to use and give all our people daily devotions based on the sermon theme for the week following.@

Ginghamsburg is a very inspiring and interesting church. What I find most interesting is that their theology is more in tune with the high commitment beliefs of the cell church movement than any other church I know of at this time; when I read or listen to Slaughter, he shares a vision that is very clear, appealing and satisfying that I believe would be inspiring to any cell church member anywhere. Yet, while their work in small groups is evolving and developing as guided by the Holy Spirit, they are satisfied with a methodology of doing cell which includes very little of what other churches have found effective. On the other hand, what they do is working for them and their record of fruitfulness and faithfulness is significant within the United Methodist church.      

[1]Comments in quotes are from a 3/28/08 email from Kevin Applegate, Ginghamsburg=s small groups pastor.

NOTE (my response)



SE: Michael Slaughter, Spiritual Entrepreneurs: Six Principles for Risking Renewal (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994). Quotes from the book are in italics.
“First Love: A Christ Centered Environment for Church Renewal” by Michael Slaughter. Dayton, OH: Whaleprints at United Theological Seminary, 1990. (video; currently unavailable.)

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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