Organic Cell Church System

Church Leadership

by Joel Comiskey


When I hear the word “system,” I often think of something cold and mechanical, like an institution or organization full of rules, regulations, and bureaucracy. And the cell church should never be run like a machine or business. Rather, it’s organic and full of life; It’s the body of Christ, the church of the living God. Dependence on the Spirit of God through the gifts of the Spirit must shape the direction of every cell church today, just like in the early church.

Actually, the dictionary defines the word “system” simply as a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole. In this sense, the cell church is a system because it doesn’t work well unless key elements are flowing together and contributing to the goal of making disciples who make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). So what are these key aspects? I’m referring to:

I’ve left out prayer and missions, but these two elements are the essence of the church in general, like the air the church of Jesus Christ breathes. Yet, the core of the organic cell church system is cell, celebration, equipping, and coaching. When these elements are working properly, the local church becomes effective at making disciples who make other disciples.

Cell church is not primarily about the cell or bringing those cells together to celebrate. Nor is it mainly about coachingleaders or a particular type of equipping material to prepare new leaders. Rather, it emphasizes all of the above elements into one system. When the organic cell system is functioning properly, the cells are supported, the leaders are coached, and new people are being developed through the equipping. The celebration service helps the cells grow and function.

When I coach pastors, I often will go through their organic cell system, like a check-list. My case study of each church is organized around the key elements of effective cell systems: cell, celebration, coaching, and equipping. I also make sure the church is breathing properly by emphasizing prayer and missions. Here are some key questions for you to consider:

  1. How are your cells? Are they holistic? Do they follow a clear definition?
  2. How is the celebration? Is it a gathering of the cells? Can the cell church system be seen in the announcements, the offices, the vision casting?
  3. How is the coaching of the leaders? Are supervisors being raised up and nourished? Is coaching taking place?
  4. How is the equipping? Does the church have a clearly defined discipleship equipping?
  5. How is the prayer and mission emphasis? I don’t think a church can even get to first base unless it’s breathing the pure air of prayer and missions.