First, I think it’s critical that we all learn to recognize and acknowledge our own bias. Alan Kay rightly pointed out that perspective (point of view) is worth 80 IQ points. In any evaluation of a system (cell vs. everything else) it is very important to look at the issue from more than one point of view.
Second, it is also very important to acknowledge that there are no problem-free solutions to anything. Every solution (small group system or method) comes with a set of problems. Wise leaders simply learn to choose the set of problems they’d rather have.
Disclaimer: I am an enthusiastic advocate of group life strategies that make it possible for the largest number of unconnected people to connect in community where they can experience life-change.
Observations about Randall’s article:
- Cell church and cell group advocates often pit their methodology against all comers as authentic vs. inauthentic (or biblical vs. man-made concoction). I prefer to describe it as idealistic vs. pragmatic.
- Whether 8 of the 10 largest churches are cell churches or not, I have no idea. There are clearly worldview elements at play in the developed countries of the west that explain the absence of cell church success here.
- In my experience, most growing churches, even the “big box come and see churches,” are growing on the basis on friends bringing friends.
- It is true that “theology breeds methodology.” As a result, the fastest growing churches tend to be those that are preoccupied with reaching people for Christ (as opposed to being preoccupied with keeping the ones they already have). It is the difference between a crowd-to-core strategy and a core-to-crowd strategy. In the contest between making it easy for those on the edge to take a next step in vs. building up the core with the expectation that they’ll reach out…it is no contest.
- Many of the fastest growing churches in the western world are making small group participation a priority. The best example of this is Saddleback where the current group participation is about 130% of their weekend adult attendance. The reason? Group life is prioritized as essential in the life of a believer.
Remember, I’m acknowledging my bias for what I refer to as a wild-west approach to group life and the fact that it’s not problem free. I’d just much rather have these problems than any other set.
There have been some great comments on this post (both for and against). Be sure and read them and then take a look at my follow-up post: Lowering the Leader Bar.
Want do you think? Want to argue? Have a question? You can click here to jump into the conversation.