Dangers of Gift Use in the Cell Church

Cell Basics

By Joel Comiskey

Summer 2011

After I excitedly shared about the use of the gifts of the Spirit during a conference a few years ago, the senior pastor concluded the session by cautioning those present about the dangers of “wildfire” in the cell group and the need to do everything in order and according to Scripture.

The pastor had a great point and since that time, I’ve tried to talk about the need for pastoral leadership to oversee gift use in cell groups and to teach leaders what to watch out for. Paul exhorts the Corinthians about order when using the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 14:26-39), and pastors should rightfully be concerned about weird predictions rather than edifying prophesy. Or perhaps someone tries to exericise the gift of discernment of spirits but instead provokes fear by labeling people a certain way. What is the remedy to wildfire? Training and coaching.

In the cell church, all future leaders go through careful training and preparation. Part of that leadership preparation should be equipping the leaders on gift use in the cell and how to avoid error.

Coaching and supervision is the ongoing part of making sure gift use is biblically accurate. Each cell leader should have a coach (supervisor) who gives guidance in the practice of the gifts of the Spirit.

While caution about “wildfire” is a good thing, we need to be equally concerned about “no fire” or spiritual gift drought. I personally see this as a far greater danger, especially in the western world. I do realize that mistakes can be made when using the gifts of the Spirit, but so many cells never reach the point of even attempting to exerice spiritual gifts. The cell is not an exciting place where the Spirit is moving. Rather it’s a lifeless meeting. The fact is that we learn through doing, making mistakes, trying again, and continuing the process. We need to encourage a grace atmosphere of experimentation, so that people will be willing to step out–rather than never experimenting and finding their spiritual gifts.