I actually picked up a copy of the book several months ago hoping to gain some new insights into the cell group philosophy. I wanted to be able to intelligently compare and contrast its guiding principles with those of the other small group systems and strategies.
What did I find? What I found in part one of Biblical Foundations is a very helpful look at the Old Testament basis for community. If you’ve read Gilbert Bilezikian’s Community 101, this will provide a kind of refresher with plenty of new insights.
Part two provides a very thoughtfully researched and carefully written look at the early church and its organization and structure, practices, and leadership development. My copy is full of highlighted sections, bookmarks, and notes. This quote is representative of many, many, that caught my eye:
“Most leaders elevate the large group as primary and the small group as optional. The New Testament writers were thinking about church much differently than we do today.”
Part three is a look at “cell church ecclesiology today.” As much as I appreciated Comiskey’s work to provide a truly biblical basis for the cell-based church, I think I appreciated his frankness in part three even more. Acknowledging the vast differences between the ancient culture of the early church and life in 21st century America and the Western world, he advocates strongly for a kind of deep ownership of the theology of community (as opposed to simply doing it because it works or makes your church successful).
I really appreciated the thoroughly gathered and assembled research with a wealth of quotes and references from a wide variety of other voices. Interwoven and packed with so many biblical references, Biblical Foundations turned out to be much more than a look into the cell group philosophy. In this book I’ve found so much to ponder and lots to reinforce the biblical underpinnings for small group ministry.
Whether you know much about Joel Comiskey and cell-based church movement or you’re new to the whole idea, I can highly recommend Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Church. I know you’ll be challenged like I was. I also know you’ll come away with some important insights into grouplife and perhaps a new understanding of the theological underpinnings that ought to be informing our work.