In the cell church today, we need to emphasize the plurality of leadership, both at the cell level as well as the staff who oversee the cells. The day of the lone-ranger leader is over. Teams of leaders should be the new norm, which is actually a reflection of the old norm of the Bible.
The New Testament emphasizes plural leadership. When writing to the church at Philippi, Paul greeted the congregation and, separately, the "overseers" (Phil. 1:1). When he wrote to Titus, he told him to appoint elders, which he also identified with the functions of "overseer" (Titus 1:5-7). Michael Green writes about early church leadership,
Leadership was always plural: the word "presbyter" from which we derive "priest" is regularly used in the plural when describing Christian ministry in the New Testament. They were a leadership team, supporting and encouraging one another, and doubtless making up for each other's deficiencies (Evangelism in the Early Church, p. 25, Kindle Edition).
Even Jesus had a team of three from within the twelve. In his excellent book, The Pocket Guide to Burnout Free Small Group Leadership , Michael Mack points out that each cell should have a leadership team, just like in Christ's cell group.
The Elim Church practices team leadership by asking each cell group to form a team of leaders, which then meets once per week. This is a planning meeting that takes place before the cell group. At the planning meeting, the team prays and analyzes the previous meeting. Then the leader asks those present to participate in the upcoming cell meeting. One is asked to call an absentee member; another prepares worship; another makes a commitment to reach out to a non-Christian; someone else agrees to bring refreshments.
Cell churches also promote leadership teams at the pastoral level. Each pastor is in charge of overseeing (i.e., coaching, supervising) a certain number of cell groups and the first item on the agenda in the pastoral meeting is the health and progress of the cell groups.
This month on the JCG blog, we will be exploring different aspects of team ministry. Experienced cell church pastors will write 20 blogs on the topic of team ministry in the cell church throughout the month of June. If you'd like to receive these blogs daily via email, please sign up HERE.
- Week 1 (June 03-09): Biblical foundations for the plurality of leaders, both within the cell as well as the church staff.
- Week 2 (June 10-16): Where the team comes from. The team should come from cell ministry. Even when looking for upper level team leadership, the pastors should have first multiplied cells. Character, training, and calling play an important part, but the best place to find leadership is from within the cell structure.
- Week 3 (June 17-23): What does the team do? Team ministry is critical for coaching cell leaders as well as guiding each individual cell. On the pastoral level, leadership teams oversee the cell leaders and make sure each leader and cell is healthy. On the cell level, the team plans for the cell meeting, evangelizes the lost, and cares for each member.
- Week 4 (June 24-30): Mending the nets as a team. Net fishermen have to mend their nets to maximize effectiveness in catching fish. Cell churches also mend nets to ensure that cell members are cared for, outreach happens, and goals are reached. Net mending takes place both at a cell and pastoral level.
How does your church practice the concept of team leadership? What do you need to do differently to start emphasizing team ministry? Please feel free to comment HERE.