Unit 5.22 Are Willow Creek, Saddleback and Ginghamsburg Cell Churches?


Unit 5: The Third Wave of Cell Innovation

Lecture: Question: Are Willow Creek, Saddleback and Ginghamsburg Cell Churches?

Over the past four weeks we=ve looked at a variety of cell churches; this week our attention turns to three well known churches in the United States: Willow Creek Community Church of suburban Chicago, Saddleback Community Church in Orange County south of Los Angeles, California and Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church of rural Dayton, Ohio. These three churches are well known for their small group ministries; if they are not cell churches, they are certainly Acellish@ enough to be a stop on our tour. Standing in the center of our reminisces, we can make some generalizations about cell churches, particularly with regard to the perspectives I=ve brought to our guided tour. And we can discuss a valuable question: in your opinion, do Willow Creek, Saddleback and Ginghamsburg qualify as cell churches?

Three concepts from the Doctor of Ministry project help me to establish a matrix of common factors related to cell churches. These are my generalizations; they may or may not be helpful to you. We can use that matrix to help us compare and contrast cell churches with each other.  The three matrix concepts are:

A. The Four Systemic Problems that prevent disciple making,[1] which are:

1. Not making disciples.

2. Institutional world view.

3. Prairie DNA.

4. Stranger evangelism.

B. The Four Priorities of the cell church,[2] which are:

#1: Jesus is Lord, leading to prayer and goals. (Matthew 28:18)

#2: Evangelism or Working in Prevenient Grace. (Matthew 28:19)

#3: Leadership Development or Working in Sanctifying Grace. (Matthew 28:20)

Equipping Tracks

Management Structures

#4: Cells are the best means to fulfill these priorities (I fulfill my purpose best in a group.)

C. The Five Stages of Spiritual Maturity,[3] which are: Newborn (aka Infants or Eddies), Child , Teen, Parent, Grandparent.

[1]See Chapter One: Systemic Problems, p. 5-35, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

[2]These are defined in Seminar One: Diagnosis, p. 10-23, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

[3]These are defined in Seminar One: Diagnosis,  p. 30-41, http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html.

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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