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The Lead Pastor in Cell Ministry
I often tell pastors not to consider cell ministry unless they are passionate about it and have a vision for it. I say, "It's not enough to have a vision. The vision must have you." But what does this mean? One kind of vision should lead pastors possess?
Vision for Making Disciples. Cell church pastors need to be possessed by the vision to convert pew sitters into disciples who will pastor home groups that will in turn evangelize and disciple others. This focus rescues the pastor from the role of star of the Sunday celebration (how can I make the celebration attractive enough to keep the people coming back?) to chief trainer and disciple maker (how can I prepare and release lay workers into the harvest by developing them to lead dynamic cell groups?). The focus on cell infrastructure helps align the pastorate with the New Testament truth that the job of the pastor is to prepare God's people for works of service (Eph. 4:11-12).
Vision for Developing a Team. Effective lead pastors are team players. They are not solo pastors. Cell church is really all about leadership development and the leadership team is the steering wheel of the cell church. If the leadership team is united and guiding the cell church vision, there's a good chance the rest of the church will follow.
On a practical level, this means that the first item of business in the team leadership meeting is cell ministry. Each team member will share about how his or her own cell is doing and then report on the health of the cells. After working through the cell ministry issues, the pastor will deal with celebration concerns-worship, announcements, and other ministries.The senior pastor is the "cell minister" in the cell church. He is the one who sets the direction and leads the charge. Yes, he must develop a team who are also passionate about cell ministry.
Vision for Cell Purity. The lead pastor must not allow competing programs to get in the way of making disciples through the cells. A few years ago, I did a seminar in a church and noticed the lead pastor was not willing to say "no" to competing programs. He had some passionate cell people around him, but it didn't seem like he was leading the charge. He loved the idea of cells but didn't want to concentrate.
Are programs bad? No. It's simply a matter of choosing the focus. We all know how cluttered and busy our lives are. If the pastor expects his people to choose cell ministry, this means they will need time to visit neighbors, attend a cell group, prepare the cell lesson, go to the coaching meeting, and other related activities.
Vision for the Big and Small Picture. One trait that distinguishes the best lead pastors is the ability to focus on the big picture while working on the details. Effective lead pastors know what the end results will look like. They nourish that mental blueprint until it becomes part of their present reality. They see with certainty what others dismiss as fanciful daydreams.
Yet, they don't only live in the land of dreams--and this is my point. Their dreams compel them to master the details of the cell church system. Few succeed in combining the long-term dream with the present details. I've known the dreamer-type pastors who launch lofty goals and do little else. Then there are those pastors who confuse the trees for the forest. They get lost in the details and fail to envision the big picture and encourage the church to press ahead in making disciples through cell ministry.
For the month of October, experienced cell church pastors and leaders will write twenty-five blogs on the topic of the lead pastor in cell ministry. If you'd like to receive these blogs in your email inbox each day, please register here. We'll cover:
- Week 1 (October 02-08). General principle of lead pastor catching the cell vision and then leading by example.
- Week 2 (October 09-15). Delegation of the details but not delegating the cell vision; effective lead pastors learn to say NO to many well-intention programs.
- Week 3 (October 16-22). Lead pastor as head coach. The best lead pastors develop a pastoral team and are intimately involved in coaching the coaches.
- Week 4 (October 23-October 29). Lead pastors being involved in cell ministry; people do what lead pastors do and not what they say.
- Week 5 (October 30-November 05). Wesley or Whitefield. Wesley developed leaders and the movement grew whereas Whitefield converted the multitudes but didn't have a system to disciple them. The best lead pastors are mainly involved in developing new disciple-makers.This means making sure the equipping track is functioning and new cells are developed from those equipped.
What has been your experience on this topic? Feel free to share here.
2017 JCG Event in Reseda, California
- We will have our annual JCG event in the Elim Reseda Church, on February 25, 2017. Mario Vega and Joel Comiskey will be ministering in Spanish and simultaneous English translation will be available. Sign up now for $39.00 ($59.00 at door).
2017 JCG Event in Falls Church, Virginia
- We will be holding our second JCG conference in Virgina/Washington D.C. area at the Elim Church Virginia area on September 02, 2017. You can register here.
JCG offers coaching
- Do you need help with your cell ministry? Perhaps you are making a transition to cell ministry and would like a coach to help you in the process. Or maybe you're planing a new cell church. For more information on receiving coaching, please email us or call 1-888-511-9995.
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Joel Comiskey's new book, Children in Cell Ministry, can now be purchased here.
27 videos on cell church from Joel Comiskey
- There are 27 videos on all aspects of cell church (with downloadable resources) on Ministry Grid. Check it out.
Free Ebook byJoel Comiskey and small group health assessment
- Free Ebook from Joel Comiskey (Making Disciples in the 21st Century Church). Joel's book is available at the end of the Thriving Small Groups Assessment. There is no catch to this. We are not asking for your contact information or trying to up-sell anything. At the end of the assessment, you will also discover the health of your small groups. I think you'll find both of this free resources extremely helpful.
Joel Comiskey's new book: 2000 Years of Small Groups
- Ebook: 2000 Years of Small Groups
Bill Beckham's new books
Audio books (Click here)