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A cell meeting follows a set structure and format that can be described as "the seven moments"

1 - Song and Praise
(approximately 15 minutes)

Every meeting starts with spontaneous prayer and must be under the guidance of the leader. Prayer and words of praise are better expressed through song, perhaps accompanied by a musical instrument.  If the members are not accustomed to singing in a small group, recorded songs familiar to the entire group may be used; or a psalm may be read. The leader may appoint a person to sing. Opening songs lead more easily to prayers of praise. Joy and enthusiasm are more important than fine voices

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(approximately 15 minutes)

At this part of the meeting, members share on how God is guiding and directing them in the daily occurrences of their lives.  This sharing produces great insights for the sharer, so take heed of what members are saying.  It is during sharing that personal difficulties usually surface.  It is precisely in such moments, through members’ encouraging responses, that the action of God in their life is revealed to the sharer. This section of the meeting thus offers great gifts.  

For this reason, the theme of sharing must focus on two questions :

  • What has God been doing in my life in the last few days?

  • How have I brought God to others during the week?

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2 - Sharing
(approximately 15-20 minutes)

The teaching is the means by which the Priest stimulates the spiritual growth of cell members and thus powerfully brings him into the meeting.

Teaching material may be in audio, video or printed format and is sent a few days before the meeting to the Leaders who forward it to their cell members. The teaching may include a summary and a few key questions for members to ponder and discuss at the meeting.  More details can be found on our dedicated Teachings page.


The leader should study the teaching material before the meeting, the better to guide the discussion, bearing in mind that members are at different points on their spiritual journeys.

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3 - Instruction
(approximately 10 minutes)

After the teaching is presented, the leader opens a discussion of the topic.  The leader controls the discussion so that it doesn’t go off-track, members’ doubts are cleared, key questions are answered, and everyone gets a fair chance to express their thoughts. The aim is to promote a deeper understanding of the topic and how it applies to personal life. Purely intellectual discussion is sterile and to be avoided.  If a related topic comes up, it falls to the leader to decide how to deal with it outside of the meeting.  

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4 - Discussion
(approximately 5 minutes)

The leader quickly runs through any news to be communicated to cell members – highlighting parish events or forthcoming spiritual events in nearby locations.  This is also a time to share news updates on parishioners in difficulty (particularly those in members’ oikos).  

The time given over to these notices may also help to alleviate any tension that may have been generated in the group discussion.

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5 - Cell Business
(approximately 15 minutes)

The leader may lead this section of the meeting, or may nominate a member to gather intercessions from other cell members.  Intentions may be personal or those received from the parish community, for parish projects, programmes or whatever is topical at community level, national level or world-wide. The leader encourages those who are shy or reticent to contribute with their prayers.


This is also the time when members pray for their oikos.

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6 - Prayers for Intercession
(roughly 15 minutes)

To initiate this phase, it would be useful to offer a general invocation for all present.

It might be appropriate that the leader should lead this prayer for healing, when necessary, while inviting everyone to pray with intense love for whoever is in need, whether it be interior or physical.

All those who need a special prayer for healing must be asked to request it with confidence. This is actually a very special phase of support for those who are, in the cell, going through stressful experience. They should return home fortified with the certainty that they are loved by God and their brothers. “. . . pray for one another to be cured . . .” (Jm 5:16)

(approximately 15 minutes)

It may be appropriate that the leader leads this section by offering a general invocation for the healing of all present. The leader then invites members to request prayer for their own specific healing according to their needs.  All those who need a special prayer must be encouraged to request it with confidence.  This is a very special time of support in the meeting, especially for members going through stressful experiences.  Members should leave the meeting fortified by the certainty that they are loved by God and their fellow cell members.  

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7 - Healing Prayer
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