Avoiding Cell Church Legalism

by | Apr 11, 2007 | Cell Church Ministry | 0 comments

I appreciated the response to my most recent post on cell church legalism. If you’re like me, you have strong convictions about the nature of Christ’s church and what it should look like. You want the present day church to have a far more New Testament flavor. You’d like to see the restoration of New Testament house to house ministry while uniting the cells to hear the apostle’s teaching.

The danger is when our longings turn into legalistic requirements. There’s a fine, invisible line that runs between God-honoring convictions and legalistic laws. I personally witnessed this first-hand in the G12 movement. What started as an exciting fine-tuning of cell ministry turned into a preocupation with the number 12 and an attitude of controlling others (I am generalizing here because various G12 churches have escaped this legalism  completely)

Yet, none of us are immune to this problem–myself included. Take my definition of a cell: groups of 3-15 that meet weekly outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and discipleship with the goal of multiplicaiton. Yes, I observed this definition among the worldwide cell churches and yes, I have a deep conviction that we must maintain cell quality because it’s the very foundation of the cell movement.

But I’m very much aware that this is just a working definiition. There are exceptions to the “weekly” part of the definition and the “outside the church building” aspect. While the exceptions should not become the rule, I dare not hold this defnition over myself or others as a legalistic law. My point of using such a definition is simply to uphold cell qualiy, but I also realize that I can’t find a chapter and verse in the Bible for such a definition!! Let’s hold to strong convictions while praying continually to promote principles and life. Let’s pray earnestly that God would keep us from falling into the abyss of legalism.





Joel Comiskey, Ph.D., founder of JCG Resources