Pausing Programs and Ministries to Concentrate on Cell Ministry

By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory

Moises Valentin said to me, “Covid-19 has given us the perfect opportunity to freeze programs and ministries and then decide which ones we want to continue after the Pandemic.”

Celyce and I have been attending and working with Moises and Ingrid Valentin at Nuevo Amanecer in Los Angeles, California since January 2019. We’ve been helping them transition a program-based church to cell ministry. It’s been exciting to start with a pilot group of key leaders, journey with those leaders for nine months, and then multiply into six groups in January 2020. We now have 8 cells. 

A little history: Some of you might remember that we planted a church called Wellspring in Moreno Valley, California in 2003, turned it over to Eric Glover in 2008, and continued at Wellspring until the end of 2018. In the meantime, God was working in Moises Valentin to transition his Los Angeles based church to become a cell church, but he was waiting on God’s perfect time. Our connection with Moises at the end of 2018 was like a “Macedonian experience” (Acts 16:10-16), and God connected us together.  Wellspring sent Celyce and me to help Nuevo Amanecer make the cell church transition and continues to support us as their missionaries. 

Covid-19 has helped Moises concentrate on the cell groups, nourish them, and coach the leaders without being over-burdened with existing programs and ministries. In fact, programs and busyness often kill cell ministry. I wrote in my book Reap the Harvest,

But the majority of churches are so accustomed to the traditional, program style of ministry that you must learn to say “No.” This is especially true in the early stages—before cell church ministry is a way of life. In this early stage, you must be exceedingly careful about the addition of new programs. It’s like planting a new garden. You must give the seeds a chance to grow by rooting out the grass, which would destroy the new growth. You must water and provide sufficient sunlight. When you first plant the cell church philosophy, you protect your new philosophy from the grass of church programs and competing activities. For many churches transitioning into the cell lifestyle, it’s wise to place a moratorium on new programs for a certain time. Tell the people that you need to establish the cell philosophy as a way of life in the church (page 119).

Nuevo Amanecer is blessed to be able to concentrate on cell ministry without worrying about the competition of existing programs.

Pastor Moises is constantly sharing about God’s goodness and perfect timing in starting the cells in January because the cells have pastored the church during Covid-19.

Covid-19 has helped Nuevo Amanecer press pause and play. How about you?