Thursday, March 12, 2015

Powerpoints of the John 3:16 Diagram

Missionary David North hascreated powerpoints of the John 3:16 Diagram.

Download it here and open in Powerpoint.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I felt the Cell Church world needed a way to ground every cell member in all 52 books of the Bible, so we invested a $20,000 grant and 2 years of work by 4 people to get this course up and running.
It is on line FREE OF CHARGE!

Just go to

Every segment is only 5 minutes a day, so in 52 weeks 5 minutes a day you have the equivalent of a Bible College Survey course!
Check marks appear to show you where you left off.
Let me know if you like it and recommend it to others.

Friday, March 7, 2014

One, Two, Three – GO!

Wikipedia defines Numerology “any belief in the purported divine, mystical . . . relationship between a number and some coinciding events.”
Adam needed Eve, so the number “two” became connected with having a “suitable helper” (Hebrew ezer). And together, the two were able to produce “baby” – and now we have the significance of three.
God divided Israel into 12 tribes and the Israelites were divided into groups of 10 for Passover celebrations. There are 144,000 in Revelation 7:4 and in Revelation 7:9 “a great multitude that no one can count.”
We have a tendency in the cell world to be enamored by the number 12 or 2. Some have deified them as the perfect number causing growth. One Brazilian pastor even replaced the Cross on the front of the sanctuary with the High Priest’s breastplate containing 12 stones, the “sacred” number.
Can we agree that any number, in the proper setting, is the “right” number, but to give prominence to any number may be to breed one more passing fad?
ONE, -- When Paul prayed for direction in Acts 16:9, he was alone. There are times when One is the intimate way to meet God.
TWO, --When Jesus sent the disciples and the seventy to penetrate the lost, He sent them in Twos.
THREE, --He defined His Presence as becoming a part of Two or Three “gathered in His name.”
TWELVE --His prototype for His new body was the calling of the Twelve, but He chose Three of them to be closest to Himself.
120 --He entered 120 at Pentecost and they quickly multiplied to 3,000 who went in small groups from house to house.

Let’s sublimate our passion for numbers with proper settings!

The setting sets the number. Mentoring often takes place one on one: that involves Two.
But there is greater power in groups of Three because community now exists. People first experience intimate community in a triad.
Community begins with Three and ends with Twelve. Why? Because of this formula: N x N –N = CL (Number of people, times number of people, minus number of people, equals communication lines). After 132 “CL’s” you enter into public gatherings mode where intimacy is impossible.
I writhe in agony when some pastor brags to me about his groups who he has allowed to grow to 25 or 45. Through ignorance, he has destroyed the value of his home cells!
The proper setting for intimacy with God is “One” person in the closet.
The proper setting for working with unbelievers is to send “Twos” into households, to live among the family and find the “Man of Peace.”
The proper setting for mentoring, as Jesus said, is in “Two or Three” with Him making the Fourth person.
The proper setting for a Cell is a gathering of three to twelve.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013



What ministry title in scripture best approximates the ministry performed by a Cell Leader? Elder or Deacon? Perhaps one of the five titles mentioned in Ephesians: Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist? Or, what about Shepherd? Servant? Other titles to be considered could be Counselor, Comforter, Advisor, etc.

The point is this: the ministry of a Cell Leader from time to time may involve all these areas. This person may be the first one at a family in crisis, the first mentor of a future missionary, the one who intercedes into the night for those in the home group.

It involves a significant sacrifice of time to lead a cell, a restructuring of priorities to put the needs of the families of the group ahead of leisure activities. Consider also the commitment of the spouse and even the children as they release this person to serve month after month.

I shall never forget the first trip to Seoul in 1963 to visit Pastor Yonggi Cho. Among other things I discovered was that he had just taken by the busloads all the Cell Leaders of the church to a seaside resort for a multi-day “Thank You” event. This annual time with the Pastor was a great blessing to those who had served so faithfully.

When I went to Singapore to help build the Faith Community Baptist Church cell ministry, we budgeted from the start a special annual event for all Cell Leaders, taking them to a seaside resort in Malaysia. In addition, personalized gifts were presented. 24 years later, I still unzip the little leather case of nail clippers with the church logo we gave to each person. In addition, there were significant awards at this annual event for the Cell Leaders who had multiplied their groups several times and those who had brought the most new believers to Christ.

While we averaged about 2 ½ years of service before cell leaders either took time off or were promoted to be responsible for overseeing 5-6 cells (Cell Supervisors) or moved to a pastoral position (Zone Pastor), we had many who chose to remain a cell leader year after year, often seeing several generations of “daughter cells.” These were given special honor. I noted in a recent article by Pastor Mario Vega that they had just honored a woman who had led a cell since the founding of the church!

For unsalaried cell leaders, their greatest “rewards” are not going to be a special annual retreat or banquet or trophy or pin. It will be the lives they have invested their prayers and hours to mentor and inspire. This is the gold, silver and precious stones that they will be rewarded for when they meet God at they enter into His eternal home and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” But a congregation that recognizes the faithful service of its cell leaders will prosper!

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

About My Mentor, Avery Willis

My contacts with Avery Willis as I recall them can be divided into three stages.

Stage 1:

 About 1974 I was living in Singapore to develop the house church movement there. At that time Avery was president of the Baptist seminary in Semerang Indonesia. He invited me to come over and spend a couple of weeks with him. He had a few missionaries he assembled to train to write programmed learning materials. He had done great research and had compiled A little booklet that I think I still have but cannot locate after much searching. This was a  booklet that walked through all the stages of how a person learns, including the cognitive, affective,  and psychomotor domains. He also taught me the basic facts so I could write programmed learning material.  It has remained one of the most profound learning experiences of my lifetime and has influenced all my writing of training materials through the years.  I remember the many hours we sat on the veranda overlooking the river below and sharing our common vision of the changes that had to take place in the body of Christ. He was a godly, wise mentor and became a close friend.

Stage 2:

Avery and I reconnected through Dr. Roy Edgemon  when we were both writing and working with the church training department at the Baptist Sunday school board.  It was at this time I wrote the survival kit for new Christians, following his coaching and collaborating with A man who recommended who did the program learning segments of the book. He wisely counseled me about the problems I was making for myself by being overly outspoken about denominational politics. At this time I was writing A sequel to the Survival Kit and he gave me A suggestion that I took for the name, Life Basic Training.  I carefully followed his suggestions about how to create each division of that training manual.

At that same time, Avery was commissioned to prepare a discipleship series, MasterLife, for the Sunday School board and he retained me to write portions of it.  It was a great joy to help him as he pieced together what I gave him along with other writers as he put it altogether. It became the most valuable discipling tool the denomination has ever had.

Stage 3:

I learned that Avery had contracted cancer and had come to Houston to work with the hospital here. I quickly phoned him and began to visit him on a regular basis in his apartment near the hospital. These hours with him were very precious because at this stage he had discovered a cell group style of church that he felt was a final answer to the problems in Baptist circles. Once again, as in previous contacts, I had my notebook in my hand to jot down his many thoughts that shaped my further thinking.

So when I think of Avery, I remember him as a missionary on the field seeking to mentor those around him and shaping vital parts of my own future by what he deposited in my mind and heart. Then I recall the doors open for me, both in my mind and in the contacts he opened at the Sunday school board  related to becoming one of his writers.  Then I lovingly remember his courage as he slipped downhill in the recurring visits to Houston for treatment. His passion never waned in its intensity all the way to his home going.

I consider him among the five most important influences that have touched my life.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The “Make or Break” in Ministry

1.  Internal motivation. If you “own the vision” it will not carry you when things get tough. The vision MUST OWN YOU!
2.  Believe that God is bigger than man.  No matter your circumstances or situation, have a clear picture of God as bigger than your struggles.  God-focused, and not man-focused.
3.  Be up-to-date with the stage of life you are in and the testings that are coming.  Be able to make adjustments with the new pressures and responsibilities.
4.  Pull your family into the vision.  Everyone needs the vision!
5.  Be open to change until the day you die.  This is a vital part of your lifestyle – be teachable, open to correction and rebuke.
6.  How you handle rejection determines how you will make it over the long haul.
7.  Comparison has to go!  Be a learner from everyone.
8.  Be willing to give up individuality and/or creative pride.
9.  Sharpen the saw – always be learning and staying ahead of the issues.
10.  Never get out of the local church, even through the various ups and downs.
11.  Never lose your first love.  Boredom is an indication of having lost your first love.  Stay hungry.
12.  Have an appreciation for even the mundane of life.  Find God in the mundane.  “Practice the presence of  God.” 
13.  Learn to overcome depression.  When you are unable to find God in the midst of the pressure, burnout happens.  Realize:
           a.  It will come!!
           b.  You are not a victim of the devil/flesh
           c.  You are not immobilized
           d.  Self-awareness is important.  Knowing what “pushed
                buttons” got you there
           e.  You are not pressured by God – people cause pressure.  
                You are not on a performance track.
14.  You have to find and know how you connect with God.  Realize that everyone is different and “connects” in different ways.  Some ways are:  hearing or reading something inspirational, being alone, reading apologetics or something that stirs intellectually, planning and working things out before the Lord, etc.
15.  Never, never, never, never quit!!!!!!!!  The right value system gives you the right perseverance.
16.  The five percent bad issues in you won’t resolve on their own, but will ruin/spoil the other 95 percent that is good.  The question is not, “What’s been done to me?”  but, “What’s God doing in me?”
17.  What you judge you will serve or end up doing the same thing yourself.
18.  Your response to trials determines how you make it over the long haul.  Learn to be an overcomer.  (See number 6 above)
19.  Nobody owes you anything!  Don’t blame others for your problems and situations.  Don’t expect apologies…B e sure that everyone is “debt-free” in your eyes…especially those you are helping…Don’t expect your team to give back to you…Explaining and having the others understand is OK, but it is not ok to demand that they understand and/or agree.
20.  Be concerned with internal wholeness and not external perfection.
21.  Get feedback on what you feel God is saying.  Don’t walk independently.
22.  Learn to handle failure and learn from it.

23.  Ability to encourage yourself in the Lord.  Team, family and enemy pressures come, but you must develop the ability to seek God and encourage yourself in Him.
-- From a message by Jimmy Seibert

Monday, October 21, 2013

Children's Cells

The greatest pitfall facing the Cell Church movement is our failure to form cells for children between the ages of 5 and 13. Our tendency is to develop home cells for young people and adults, relegating the children during cell meetings to baby sitters or viewing television.

George Barna states: "What you believe at age 13 is pretty much what you’re going to die believing." Research compiled by his Barna Group shows that children between the ages of 5 and 13 have a 32 percent probability of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. That likelihood drops to 4 percent for teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18, and ticks back up to 6 percent for adults older than 18.
I am an example. 79 years ago as a five-year old child, I accepted Jesus as my Lord sitting on my father’s lap. It has amazed me to meet Christian workers who think we do not need to focus on harvesting children.

A remnant when a traditional church transitions to a cell church is the retaining of children’s programs (Awana, for example). Programs are organizations, not an organism. An authentic ecclesia replaces programs with body life. It becomes the family of God, cherishing each child as a vital part of the community.

Children who become part of a cell with other children develop a bond that lasts for a lifetime. In our TOUCH FAMILY, formed in 2000, we blended children with parents in our home cells. When we gather for worship, these children treat each other as brothers and sisters. They have had years of sharing, praying, learning about their Bibles together and most of all they only know “church” in its cell/congregation format.

A cell church that does not blend its children into its home groups, ignoring them or causing them to be left out of the adult group, will produce unattached young adults who will not have cell life as a core value.

A memory I cherish from the 1990’s when Lorna Jenkins led our children’s cells attached to Faith Community Baptist Church is a cell group where a man in a wheel chair came for prayer. The adults prayed fervently for him, without any observable healing. The adults drifted into the kitchen for refreshments, leaving the man and an 8 year old girl behind. The child stared at the man and finally said, “Well, why don’t you get up and walk?” The Spirit of God fell on him at that moment and he rose up and walked into the kitchen. Astonished, the adults asked, “What happened?” “It was the little girl! She told me to walk.” When the adults queried the girl, she simply said, “Well, you all prayed for him. So I just told him to walk because he was healed.”

Childlike faith must be stimulated by mingling with all the aunties and uncles that compose a home group. Let’s include them, not isolate them!