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Mistakes in Cell Ministry

By Joel Comiskey

Spring 2015

by Joel Comiskey

We’ve all made mistakes in cell ministry. In fact, it’s through mistakes that we learn the right way. David Cho, the founder of the largest church in the history of Christianity, once said that you have to fail at least three times in cell ministry to get it right.

Making mistakes is part of life. We rarely get things right the first or second time. Often we don’t get them right the third and fourth time either. In fact, we grow and mature through the trials and errors we make. The key is to learn from mistakes and not to allow discouragement to take control. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”

John Maxwell has a book called Failing Forward, which I think is an appropriate title for those doing cell ministry. In his book he reminds us that failure is the back door to success, and God will use mistakes to teach us and perfect us. What mistakes have you made in cell ministry? Did you learn from those mistakes?

The cell church equipping, for example, is rarely perfected the first time. Apastor and leadership team has to make numerous auto-corrections to perfect the church-wide equipping. The same is true for any part of cell ministry such as coaching, vision casting, keeping statistics, setting goals, evangelizing, anddisciple-making.

Whenever I think of giving up, I’m encouraged by those who overcame failure through persistence:

  • When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over two thousand experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a two thousand-step process.”
  • Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He did not become prime minister of England until he was sixty-two and then only after a lifetime of defeats and setbacks. His greatest contributions came when he was a “senior citizen.”
  • Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
  • After years of progressive hearing loss, by age forty-six German composer Ludwig van Beethoven had become completely deaf. Nevertheless, he wrote his greatest music-including five symphonies during his later years.
  • Rafer Johnson, the decathlon champion, was born with a club foot.
  • Babe Ruth struck out one thousand three hundred thirty times, but he also hit seven hundred fourteen home runs.

Don’t worry about failed outcomes. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. Most good things come through testing and making mid-course corrections. If you wait to try until everything is perfect, you most likely will never get there. “But wait a minute,” you might say. “I want everything to be perfect before I try.” Sorry it doesn’t work that way. We learn from our mistakes.