Central Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea (Assemblies of God), has a membership estimated at 350,000. Growing at a rate of 10,000 members per month, it is predicted that the membership will top 500,000 within a few years. The pastor, Paul Y. Cho, is committed to the use of small cell groups, to which he attributes the church’s phenomenal growth. In this excerpt adapted from his book More than Numbers (Word, 1984; used by permission), Dr. Cho describes how the cell system works.

We tried the cell system in our church and it didn’t work. What went wrong?” an American pastor asked me recently. As I analyzed his experimentation with the system I found essential in building my church, I discovered several problems.

Although the pastor had read my book Successful Home Cell Groups, he himself had not participated in the cell system. This is a fatal mistake. You must take a continual and active role in its implementation and motivation.

Second, he did not wait long enough for the truth to become an integral part of his church’s consciousness. You cannot expect something new to take hold immediately. You must first unteach people the wrong concepts before they accept a new way of doing things. Most churches traditionally have viewed the work of the ministry as the role of the pastor, who was hired to preach, visit the sick and elderly, marry and bury, and to build up the membership. It takes months and years of teaching to change these ingrained false concepts.

Third, many churches establish home cell groups by simply laying out a map of the community, and then saying to the leaders, “Have a meeting in your home.” But too often the home meeting becomes simply another church service. Since most of the people are already members of your church, ...

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