We know that the goal of the Christian life is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. While this is God's ultimate plan, does he have a particular purpose for the cell-based church? I've been wrestling with this question for the past twenty-two years. This question confronts me every time I coach a pastor or pastors. In preparation for coaching, I ask myself, "What is my principal objective in helping this pastor?" "Where am I guiding this church?" "What am I trying to do?" I've come to the conclusion that the primary goal of cell ministry is to make disciples who make disciples. Christ's last command to his disciples was for them to repeat the process and to reproduce new disciples. But how were they supposed to do that? This book answers these questions.The early church followed Christ's pattern by making disciples through the house churches that periodically celebrated together in public worship. In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul tells Timothy to continue the discipleship process by passing on the pure gospel message to faithful men and women. Even though the term "disciple" is later replaced by words such as "brothers," "sisters," "Christians," and "saints," the concept remains the same. We in North America and the Western world often project our own cultural bias into Christ's great commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Most discipleship books, in fact, assume that discipleship is an individualistic endeavor--between me and God. And yes, there is an important individual aspect (e.g., personal devotions, etc.). Yet in Matthew 28, Jesus was talking to a group of disciples. He wanted them to follow his example by making disciples in a group. Jesus molded twelve disciples in a group and then sent them house to house. So how does the cell church make disciples? In this book, I show how the cell (small group) works together with the cell system to make disciples who make disciples. In the cell, a potential disciple is transformed through community, priesthood of all believers, group evangelism, and team multiplication. In the cell, potential disciples are formed through learning how to love one another, exercising their gifts, evangelizing together as a group, and then sent forth as teams to start new groups. Discipleship is a group process in the New Testament, and God is calling his church to re-emphasize this truth. The cell system ensures each leader has a coach and that training (equipping track) happens. Then the cells gather together to worship and grow through the teaching of God's Word. All three aspects are essential to form disciples. Training is needed because disciples won't learn all they need to know in the cell. Coaching ensures that each leader is cared for and receives shepherding. The celebration service brings the cells together to hear God's Word, worship, and receive fresh vision. The goal of the two-wing cell church is to make disciples who make disciples. The cell church today makes disciples by following the early church pattern of cell and celebration. Recommendations: I've read all of Joel Comiskey's books, but Making Disciples in the Twenty-First Century Church is his best work yet. In this book Joel reminds us that the real call and challenge of the Church is not developing leaders or numerical growth, but "making disciples who make disciples." He also helps us understand why that is best done in a cell or small group context, and gives us great insight about how to make that happen. I'm looking forward to having all of our Pastors, Coaches, and Cell Leaders and Members read this book in the near future. Dennis Watson Lead Pastor, Celebration Church of New Orleans ____ I am so excited about Joel Comiskey's new book, Making Disciples in the Twenty-First Century Church. When I'm asked what makes a cell church thrive, I always say, "discipleship." Thank you, Joel, for unpacking discipleship; not just as an endeavor for individuals, but as the critical element for creating a church community and culture that reproduces the Kingdom of God all over the earth. I pray this book won't only be read, but lived out as we were made to make disciples. Jimmy Seibert Senior Pastor, Antioch Community Church President and Founder, Antioch Ministries International ____ I really like that Joel asked the Why question before the How question. He even takes on the What question which is just as important. The interest in discipleship is greater now than anytime in the last fifty years. I fear however that we are using the same words but are not speaking the same language. I recommend this work, I cheer Joel on, he joins many of us who are masters of the obvious. It seems so obvious that our purpose is to be disciples and make disciples. I cheer him on because he goes beyond the What and Why and does address the How. This will help any person who reads it and I pray that there will be many. Bill Hull, Author of Jesus Christ Disciple Maker, Disciple Making Pastor, Disciple Making Church, and The Complete Book of Discipleship, Adjunct Faculty at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University __ The history of the cell church movement in Brazil has many names of great man of God. Joel Comiskey certainly is one of them. We see how over the years his understanding of the New Testament Church has deepened. Again Joel surprises us with this jewel. He covers many aspects of cell church life, showing us how discipleship relates to the broader scope of it, and how to shape followers of Jesus. He takes us to the heart of the matter of the cell church as he states it: "The purpose of cell ministry is making disciples who make disciples." Excellent book. The movement in Brazil, certainly, will be blessed through this book. Enjoy it. Robert Michael Lay Cell Church Ministry in Brazil Pioneer in the cell movement in Brazil, and publisher of Joel's books __ In his tremendously helpful new book, Making Disciples in the Twenty-First Century Church, Joel Comiskey cuts directly to the core purpose of cell ministry, which
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