Balance Training and Discipling


By Steve Cordle

One of the core responsibilities of a cell leader is to develop another leader. When working with an apprentice/intern, it is strategic to balance training and discipling.

While we need not make an absolute distinction here, I see a difference between training and discipling. Training refers to equipping for ministry activity, while discipling refers more to personal and spiritual development.

It is important for leaders-in-training to be given instruction and feedback on how to do things like lead the cell’s prayer time or Bible discussion, follow-up with new people, or plan an outreach. Cell leaders need to be handing off parts of the ministry to their developing leaders. But doing tasks is not all there is to leading a group! If we simply train people to do ministry teasks without sufficient attention to growing their inner being, then the crash we hear one day will be the sound of the cell group falling apart.

It is vital that leaders also see themselves as helping their apprentices to grow spiritually as children of God, not just servants of Christ. This isn’t quite as clear cut as handing off part of the meeting. This involves personal work, prayer, and transparency. It might take more time and energy than training, but it is essential.

Do your leaders have a gasp on how to develop people spiritually? Are they replicating a process they experienced?

Training and discipleship go hand in hand; one is “doing”, the other is “being”. Effective group leaders will do both.

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