Anderson, Indiana

Mark Gardner's M.T.S. Thesis Abstract

Mon, 2012-04-30 11:19 -- batch_migrate

Mark Gardner's M.T.S. Thesis Abstract

The Cell Church: Moving Toward a More Enhanced Extension of the Cell Church System

Historical reflection on group systems in a broader sense has impacted Christianity in many meaningful ways. These ways were seen in the early church context, throughout church history, and into this thesis project. One cannot address concepts of the traditional church, Churches with Cells, and the Cell Church System, without acknowledgment of persons like John Wesley who developed class meetings in eighteenth-century England to address the social and religious issues of that day. These groups would promote community, meaningful group reflections, and instructional systems that were effective tools for bringing all types of people together. Thus, the basis by which we now study and reflect meaningfully on group development rests on a rich church history.

Historically, the traditional church has always been a part of the framework of a community. The ministry opportunities that these churches provide are usually program-based in their orientation, and make it challenging to develop the kind of koinonia relationship exhibited in Acts 2:42-47. It is a fact that the traditional-based church has impacted generations of people throughout history, and continues to do so today. However, recently there has been a growing perspective that the traditional-based approach fails to effectively promote meaningful community. The Cell Church system emerges by emulating the model of the early church found in Acts 2.

The contention of this thesis project is that the Cell Church system as generally described does not go far enough to create the best way for believers to develop meaningful relationship. Thus an extension of the Cell Church System by what this writer calls C.A.R.E. will enhance and strengthen the understanding of the Cell Church in a complementary way.

The acronym C.A.R.E. means Caring, Assisting, Redeeming, and Empowering. This thesis argues that emphasis on C.A.R.E. will give a clearer focus on the true meaning of community, by coming along side the Cell Church System as an enhancer which compliments the equipping, accountability, leadership, Evangelism, and the cell as a whole. C.A.R.E. should not be seen as another program, but an instrument that creates dynamic community through enhancement. C.A.R.E. offers the opportunity for a deeper level of transparency towards each other [the caring function]; it provides assistance when needed that allows one to work in partnership with the Spirit of God in reaching the non-churched [the assisting function]; it aids in leadership development [the redeeming function]; and also aids in the disciple-making process [the empowering function].

Thus, this thesis seeks to identify qualities and principles that can be duplicated in forming a viable Cell Church. Gary L. McIntosh proposes that the size of a congregation does not matter and writes that "church leaders must constantly seek to create new doors so that new people are able to enter the life of their church." Therefore, the opportunity that is gained when the Cell Church is implemented brings into focus a push toward fulfillment of the Great Commission along with Acts 1:8 which requires us to be global witnesses.