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Spoudé: the key to effective cell leadership

By Joel Comiskey

Winter 2006

As I give cell seminars around the world, one particular session has emerged as a clear favorite—the session on diligence.

In that lecture, I highlight the numerous occasions that the Greek word spoudé (diligence) is used in the Bible (e.g., 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Peter 3:12-14, Hebrews 4: 10,11, etc.).

Why is this session on spoudé so well-received? Because it encourages leaders to focus not on those areas beyond their control (e.g., talent, giftedness, education, or personality) but to focus instead on hard work, which anyone can do. Proverbs 14:23: “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Seminar participants are reminded that persistence and diligence will eventually bring results. Spoudé!

As we all know, ministry is often disappointing. Strategies backfire. People say they’ll come to the cell and celebration and don’t. Just last week my family and I went down the street to invite our neighbor to a meal and to our special celebration service. Roland, originally from Texas, looked tired. “I’ve been on the freeway for four hours today. I’m certainly not going to spend time at church on Sunday. Sunday is my time.” We dejectedly remembered how many Rolands live in Moreno Valley. But Paul’s advice also came to mind, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9) Spoudé.

Ministry in western secular culture is hard. The church is not growing and ministry is tough. Remember spoudé. My survey of 700 cell leaders uncovered two key reasons for leadership effectiveness: prayer and diligence.

Keep on praying, inviting, making contact, and sowing. Although God is sovereign in heaven and earth, he expects us to sow, plant, and do it again. He will give the increase in unexpected ways according to His marvelous power.

Some of the pastors I’m coaching are in the planting stage of their cell church journey. Others have begun to see breakthroughs—like Lighthouse Christian Center in Big Bear, CA. In 2004 Lighthouse Christian Centerplanned to multiply their 17 cells to 25. They ended the year with 19 cells, missing their goal by 6. But the staff refused to digress into the “cells just don’t work in Big Bear” mode. Instead, they analyzed, fine-tuned, and pressed ahead.

Thomas Edison once remarked, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

What about you? Will you keep on pressing on or will you give up? Remember spoudé.