The Comiskey Family  


JOEL COMISKEYJoel Thomas Comiskey was born to Tom and Phyllis Comiskey on May 6, 1956 in Long Beach, California. His early childhood days were spent in Long Beach, California, where both of his parents were teachers at Long Beach City College. He attended elementary school through high school in Long Beach.

He was transformed by Jesus Christ in 1973 at the age of seventeen after searching in many directions for the meaning of life. In 1978, he felt a definite call to be a missionary. In 1986, he met his wife Celyce Hahn of  Mariposa, California, and they were married in February 1988. In 1990 they left for missionary service in Ecuador, South America. In 2001 they returned for ministry in the U.S. and now live in Moreno Valley, CA with their three daughters: Sarah, Nicole, and Chelsea.  


Coach/Church Planter/Seminary professor      2001-Present
  • President and founder of Joel Comiskey Group, a resource ministry for the worldwide cell church movement.
  • Coach of various pastors/churches who are making the cell church transition or planting cell-based churches.
  • Adjunct Professor at Tozer Theological Seminary and B.H. Carroll Theological Institute.
  • Founder of a cell church plant in Moreno Valley, California (now turned over to another lead pastor).  
Seminar Speaker     1994 – Present
  • Conducts small group seminars throughout the world (United States, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Indonesia, and Russia).
Missionary        1990 – 2001
  • Missionary in Ecuador with the Christian and Missionary Alliance (church planter, pastor, teacher).
  • Established small group ministry in mother church called El Batán; 450 new members added to El Batán church.
  • Planted daughter church from El Batán in 1994 that grew from 150 to 1000 in 6 years (10 cells to 250 cells)
  • Joined pastoral team of the La Luz Church as consultant in the year 2000. Church grew from 120 to 200+ on Sunday morning and 10-50+ cells
  • Graduate-level seminary teacher in Colombia, Ecuador, and Perú
Pastor   1984 – 1989
  • Pioneered an inner city church plant in Long Beach, California. Hope Alliance Church continues to have a powerful impact on downtown Long Beach.
  • Ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1986.
Associate Pastor     1982 – 1983
  • Associate Pastor of Long Beach Alliance Church.
Teacher    1986 – 1989
  • 1987 – 1989: Substitute teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District in a variety of jr. high and high school subjects.
  • 1986 – 1987: Substitute teacher for Long Beach Unified School District in a variety of jr. high and high school subjects.
Driver  1975 – 1978
  • 1976 – 1978: Passenger bus driver for Safeway Lines.
  • 1975 – 1976: Van driver for Mail Delivery Service.


Ph.D, Intercultural Studies 1995 – 1997  
Fuller Theological Seminary  Pasadena, CA
  • Donald McGavran Church Growth Award- In recognition of outstanding service as a missionary and contribution to the Church Growth Movement through diligent research and analysis of the contemporary cell church phenomenon.
M.Div., Intercultural Studies (equivalence) 1989 – 1990 
Columbia International University Columbia, SA
  • 3.9 GPA

M.A., Intercultural Studies

1989 – 1990
Fuller School of World Mission Pasadena, CA
  • 3.8 GPA
M.A., Professional Studies 1983 – 1984
Alliance Theological Seminary Nyack, NY
  • 3.7 GPA. Special focus on inner-city ministry under Dr. Craig Elliston.
Additional Liberal Arts Studies 1982 – 1983
Long Beach City College Long Beach, CA
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Concentrated liberal arts education in such fields as Biology, Sociology, and Literature.
  • Four Silver medals for LBCC Speech Team at the U.S. Speech Tournament, San Antonio, Texas, 1982.
B.A., Theology 1978 – 1982
Prairie Bible Institute Three Hills, Alberta Canada
  • 3.9 GPA
  • Elected to the student body leadership team each year.
  • Received highest marks for extra curricular Christian service.
  • Short-term mission trip to Africa in 1982.  
  • Home Cell Group Explosion: How Your Small Group Can Grow and Multiply (Touch Publications, 1998), 177 pp.  Over 100,000 copies sold worldwide.
  • Reap the Harvest: How a Small Group System Can Grow Your Church (Touch Publication, 1999), 236 pp.
  • Groups of Twelve: A New Way to Mobilize Leaders and Multiply Groups in Your Church (Touch Publications, 1999), 182 pp.
  • Home Cell Group Explosion Study Guide (Touch Publications, 1999), 35 pp.
  • Leadership Explosion: Multiplying Cell Group Leaders to Reap the Harvest  (Touch Publications, 2000), 202 pp.
  • How to Lead a Great Cell Group Meeting: So People Want to Come Back (Touch Publications, 2001), 140 pp.
  • An Appointment with the King: Ideas for Jump-Starting Your Devotional Life (Chosen Publications, 2002), 175 pp.
  • From Twelve to Three: How to Apply G12 Principles in Your Church (Touch Publications, 2002), 178 pp.
  • How to be a Great Cell Group Coach (Touch Publications, 2003), 139 pp.
  • Making Cell Groups Work Navigation Guide (Touch Publications, 2003), 600 pp. Joel Comiskey has an entire book within this 600 page work. There are also four additional authors.
  • Passion and Persistence: How the Elim Church's Cell Groups Penetrated an Entire City for Jesus (Touch Publications, 2004), 160 pp.
  • La Explosión de la Iglesia Celular: Cómo Estructurar la Iglesia en Células Eficaces (Editorial CLIE, 2004), 158 PP. This book is only available in Spanish.
  • Cell Church Solutions: Transforming the Church in North America (CCS Publishing, 2005), 176 pp. New Edition with new title: The Church that Multiplies: Growing a Healthy Cell Church in North America (CCS Publishing, 2007), 181 pp.
  • The Spirit Filled Small Group: Leading Your Group to Experience the Spiritual Gifts (Chosen Books, 2005, CCS Publishing, 2009), 191 pp.
  • Live: Experience Christ’s Life (CCS Publishing, 2007), 85 pp.
  • Encounter: Receive Christ’s Freedom (CCS Publishing, 2007), 90 pp.
  • Grow: Deepen Your Relationship with Christ (CCS Publishing, 2007), 87 pp.
  • Share: Make Christ Real to Others (CCS Publishing, 2007), 90 pp.
  • Lead: Guide a Small Group to Experience Christ (CCS Publishing, 2007), 91 pp.
  • Coach: Empower Others to Effectively Lead a Small Group (CCS Publishing, 2008), 91pp.
  • Discover: Use Your Gifts and Help Others Find Theirs (CCS Publishing, 2008), 96 pp.
  • Planting Churches that Reproduce: Starting a Network of Simple Churches (CCS Publishing,2008), 195 pp.
  • The Relational Disciple: How God Uses Community to Shape Followers of Jesus (CCS Publishing,2009), 159 pp.
  • You Can Coach: How to Help Leaders Build Healthy Churches through Coaching (CCS Publishing, 2010), 154 pp. [three authors]
  • Myths and Truths of the Cell Church: Key Principles that Make or Break Cell Ministry (CCS Publishing, 2011), 204 pp.
  • Biblical Foundations for the Cell-Based Church: New Testament Insights for the 21st Century Church (CCS Publishing, 2012), 210 pp.
  • Making Disciples in the Twenty-first Century Church: How the Cell-Based church Shapes Followers of Jesus (CCS Publishing, 2013), 187 pp.
  • 2000 Years of Small Groups: A History of Cell Ministry in the Church (CCS Publishing, 2014), 295 pp.
  • Children in Cell Ministry: Discipling the Future Generation Now (CCS Publishing, 2015), 210 pp.
  • Youth in Cell Ministry: Preparing for the Next Generation Now (CCS Publishing, 2016), 187 pp
  • Numerous articles in a variety of magazines (e.g., Strategies for Today’s Leaders, Outreach Magazine, Journal of American Society for Church Growth, Alliance Life, and other magazines).


  • FATELA (Masters Level) – Christian and Missionary Alliance's Masters level mobile seminary for Colombia, Ecuador, and Perú.
  • C&MA Seminary, Quito – Taught a variety of courses including Leadership, Church Growth, Missiology, and Small Group Ministry.
  • Republic Church  - Taught many Bible-related courses, including The Devotional Life, Systematic Theology, and many other subjects


  • Cell Group Ministry – Area of expertise and current focus of writing.
  • Church planting with cell based component--Course on church planting at Columbia International University.
  • Research Design and Research Methods – Developed a Masters Level course on research design. Ph.D. research was based on a questionnaire administered to 700 small group leaders in eight countries.
  • Leadership – Developed a manual on this topic called Pastoral Leadership. Has read widely on leadership topics
  • Writing – Has a passion to write prolifically and desires to teach others how to write for publication.
  • Missiology – Focus of post-graduate studies.
  • Spirituality –Area of special interest, specifically the devotional life and Christian spirituality. Produced a manual on the devotional life called The Devotional Time.


  • Spanish, English (native)


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