Key Principles of Cell Churches

by Ralph Neighbour


Back in 1987, as we prepared to prepare pastors from all over the world who knew nothing about the Cell Church, a group of us met for two days to discuss the core values that would be mandatory for cell group churches. Here is what we prepared:


Every Member is a Minister


The Priesthood of all believers is pointedly taught in scripture. A priest touches a person with a need with one hand and touches the Lord with the other hand and becomes a channel for Christ to manifest His Presence to meet that need.


Further, Ephesians tells us that the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher are to be equippers of every member to minister. If leaders are equippers, every member will be prepared for ministry. This is the exact reverse of how a traditional church sees things: they see the FiveFold as the ministers and the members as offering support.


Equipping Will Be Done in Cells


Learning how to minister is not done in classrooms. It is done in the context of ministry situations. The activity of priests is done in the cell as all confess their crises and others receive the anointing to share spiritual gifts.


Thus, the cell itself is the place for equipping. When the member must minister, only then will the anointing required be manifested. Priestly ministry is not taught—it is caught.


Evangelism Will be Done through Cells


I Corinthians 14:24-25 along with verse 3 explains that if the Power and Presence of Christ is being revealed as all prophesy, the searching unbeliever will fall on his face and repent. This is “Body Life Evangelism,” where Christ Himself is the One who draws all men to Himself.


There Will be Clear Accountability


In the cell, we gather first as Triads: I John 2 explains it: the “Little Child” is mentored by the “Young Man,” who in turn is mentored by the “Father.”


Like the slogan of the U.S. Marines, each member says to another, “I’ve got your back!” The constant care and trust between the people of God allows them “to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, for God is working in them.”


Legalistic accountability is replaced by a desire to look after other’s interests with agape love.


There Will Be No Competition with Cells


The priestly life is focused on life together in community and penetrating the households of new believers. All the focus of the cell is directed toward fulfilling the task the Father assigned to His Son when He was returned to earth to occupy His next body, the ecclesia. There is no need for the precious time of the priests to be diverted to running and attending endless church programs. The Cell Church is an equipping and ministering organism, not an organization.