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Prioritizing Team Ministry

by Joel Comiskey

Summer 2010

A few decades ago, God used the Christian and Missionary Alliance to start a movement in Perú called Encounter with God.The focus ofEncounter with God was evangelistic campaigns and intense discipleship. It spread throughout Latin America, and when I arrived in Ecuador in 1990, I became part of an Encounter pastoral team at the El Batán Church in Quito, Ecuador. One key principle of the Encounter movement was team ministry. Yes, each Encounter church had a lead pastor, but the leadership team led the church alongside the lead pastor.

I was part of the El Batán team that planted a daughter church in 1994 called the Republic Church. When the Republic Church made the transition to cell ministry in 1997, we already knew the importance of team ministry. We held many team meetings together to plot our transition. We decided that each of us as pastors and missionaries on the Republic Church team would lead a cell and oversee a network of cells. We then met together as a team on a weekly basis to discuss the cell networks under our care. During those team meetings, the lead pastor, Porfirio Ludeña, asked each team leader how our cell networks were doing, multiplication goals, prayer needs, etc. We worked as a team to build the cell infraestructure.

The lead pastor will be much more effective if he develops a team to share the load, build-up each other, and oversee cell ministry. And of course, team ministry is a biblical concept. Jesus formed his team of twelve, Jesus sent his disciples out in teams, Paul developed a missionary team, and the early church based their leadership structure on a plurality of elders.

Team ministry is also a part of growing cell churches around the world. Those on the leadership team have first been proven in cell ministry. They’ve multiplied cells, shown godly Christian character, received training, and are asked be part of the leadership team (read more about the team ministry process).

Perhaps you are the lead pastor and also work a secular job. Your church isn’t large enough to hire another team pastor. My counsel is to form your team with fruitful volunteer cell leaders.

I encourage lead pastors to meet as frequently as possible with the core leadership team (weekly is best but every other week also works). As far as the order of the leadership team meeting, I recommend the following:

  1. The lead pastor speaks into the lives of his core leaders. He shares what God is showing him through the Scripture and then asks the core team to respond. It’s also great to pray for one another and minister to each other’s needs.
  2. Review the progress of the cells. I think it’s best if each core leader has statistics that show:
    • A list of each cell with the attendance in the cell from the previous week and any other pertinent information
    • Those who are in the training track and what stage they are in the training track
    • The cell goal for the end of the year.

I encourage each core leader to go around and talk about the network under his or her care, highlighting cells that are struggling, those ready to multiply, spiritual victories of cell leaders, and urgent needs. The beauty of this approach is that the leadership team is able to pastor the entire church through the cell structure.

After discussing the cell groups, the team can then move to the large wing of the church, such as celebration service (s), various ministries, and calendar items. In my experience, a normal leadership team lasts about two hours.