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Helping the Leader Overcome Small Group Dynamic Problems
by Joel Comiskey
by Joel Comiskey
Sometimes we “think” the leader is trained and ready to lead the group, but then everything unravels in the “heat of the battle.” While cell church training is essential, unless it’s followed up with coaching, difficulties and bad-habits can dominate the group. Here’s an example: I visited one cell group in which the co-leader was leading the lesson time. He handed out the lesson to each member and then said, “I want everyone to choose two questions and answer them.” This strategy might have worked if the co-leader was prepared to guide each question, but in reality, he had not studied the lesson and was hoping that each member could make sense of the material. The meeting turned into a free-for-all of opinions, questions, and even doubt. This particular leader had gone through the training, but he needed mid-course corrections. He needed a coach. He listened to our counsel, made changes, and was ready the next time.
Other common cell problems include a cell member who controls the meeting, a cell leader who does all of the talking, or lack of evangelism. These are normal problems that a coach will see as he or she rotates among the cells or hears about through one-on-one meetings and group huddles.
Most of these common problems can be dealt with in the process of leadership training. Yet, follow-up and coaching is essential to solidify the teaching. I deal with a lot of these common problems in my book, “How to be a Great Cell Group Leader,” and my book, “Lead.” As the coach sees the need, perhaps he or she will assign homework to the leader. As the coach meets with the leader on a regular basis, these common problems will be resolved.
Other problems have nothing to do with the cell leader. Rather, the cell members are causing the difficulties. Cell leaders need a coach to share these needs with and pray for with the person. Many cell leaders falsely believe that such sharing is breaking a confidence, so they take all the pressure of the problem on their shoulders and try to minister to their hurting cell members by themselves. I know of one cell member who shared with his cell leader about his struggles with a homosexual relationship. The cell leader failed to share with his coach this huge need and tried to pray for this person by himself. It was such a burden to the leader that it sapped his energy and he had little to give to the rest of the group. Cell members may need counseling, special prayer ministry from an experienced prayer team, or a recovery program.
Cell leaders don’t have to do everything for their members. Coaches must help cell leaders process the needs of their members and then find God’s solutions to meet those needs. What are you as coaching doing to observe what’s happening in the cell groups? How are you helping the cell leaders?