Do you place a high priority on the host or hostess of the small group? Is it important that each cell group/life group have a distinct leader and a distinct host/hostess?
Carl George taught in Prepare Your Church for the Future that each cell should have a host/hostess apart from the leader of the cell (i.e., the cell should not meet in the leader’s home but in the home of the host/hostess). At one point in my cell journey I pushed this concept.
The Elim Church, the second largest church in the world, practices this strategy. Each cell has a host/hostess, who opens his/her home for the cell group. Elim places a high priority on the ministry of the cell host/hostess. The host doesnâ€™t just open his or her home but is actively involved in reaching neighbors. Nubia Lopez, for example, started her ministry at Elim as a hostess in 1997. She opened her home for a cell group and began visiting her neighbors to befriend them and ultimately reach them for Jesus. Her goal was to find a need and meet it. One of her neighbors was very resistant to the Gospel message, so Nubia volunteered to care for her neighborâ€™s children, since this was her neighborâ€™s immediate need. As Nubia cared for these children, her neighbor saw Jesus demonstrated in such a practical way that she decided to attend the cell group and even accompany Nubia to Elim Church.
Apart from evangelism, a host/hostess can bear the administrative burden of the cell leader by preparing the home and then cleaning up afterwards.
To share the load, often cell groups will rotate the job of host among cell members. That’s what my own cell has been doing lately. We rotate among three homes–one of them being my own.
How do you view the ministry of the host/hostess in the cell group? Does each cell in your church have a distinct host/hostess? Do you rotate from house to house?
It’s always important to go back to the basics, as Steve mentioned in his blog yesterday. One of the very basic aspects of cell success is spending enough time at it. Let’s face it, we reap what we sow. Paul said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). If we’ve prepared for the lesson, chances are we’ll do a better job leading and people will receive more. If we invite people to the cell, chances are someone will eventually come. If we call the members, chances are the cell will grow in community and cohesiveness. If we spend time preparing the house’s atmosphere (e.g., lighting, chairs, etc.) before the cell starts, chances are people will respond better.
Time spent, in other words, normally equals eventual fruit.
And this is the frustration I expressed on my Wednesday’s blog with one of my leaders. His passion has shifted to his entrepreneurial work load, and he has simply not been giving the time necessary to any of the cell disciplines that make for great cells and cell leadership. And isn’t this one of the great dangers we all face with volunteer leadership in our materialistic culture? In contrast, I look at another cell in our church that is booming. Why? Time spent at praying, evangelizing, fellowshipping, etc.
How can I as the coach help this leader? How can I jump-start his passionlessness? The only remedy I know is fervent, white-hot prayer, and practical suggestions–then following up on those suggestions.
Adding to Joel and Robâ€™s thoughts on broken cells :
Ultimately the results of our ministry is in the hands of the Lord. However, it is important that we do what we can so He may do what only He can.
When a group isnâ€™t going well it is important to check the basics. No amount of clever scheming will help a football team win if it canâ€™t block, tackle, and execute well. A group needs to do certain fundamentals, too.
* Is the group relationally connected?
– Try group bonding activities, serving one another, eat together!
* Are they sensing the Lordâ€™s presence in their midst during the meeting?
– testimonies, answered prayer, seasons of prayer, worship
* Have the group members been praying for and reaching out to lost people?
– Do they have a list of specific people they are praying for? Invite comments about outreach efforts that week, and plan some as a group.
* Has the group been responsive to acting on the Word of God?
– Follow-up Qâ€™s about how they lived out last weekâ€™s lesson
* Does the group serve beyond itself?
– Plan a service project to someone in needâ€¦
A coach can help a leader diagnose where the problem lies and strategize through prayer some ways to address it.
Leadership is crucial- yet sometimes the problem is that the leader has not given away enough of the ministry. Meaningfully mobilizing more members is often a way forward.
Rob’s blog yesterday talked about groups that are not working. I actually awoke at 3 a.m. this morning burdened about a cell leader who has lost passion and direction. He’s a seasoned leader at Wellspring who has been leading a group for several years and multiplied his group one time. At this time, however, he just doesn’t have the passion. Other job related desires are filling his heart and mind.
The first thing I need to do is pray. Only God can renew this brother with passion. Only Jesus can remind this brother that the eternal reward is in heaven (volunteer service in a materialistic loving culture can be very difficult, as all of you know).
The second thing I need to do is coach this brother better. I need to take a more active role in finding out how I can help him AND how I can discover/suggest ways for his cell to come alive. In my case, I need to stimulate others to coach him as well (e.g., our associate pastor).
What do you do…when a cell in your church doesn’t….work?
You have experienced this, right? Sometimes a cell just doesn’t work.
This reality can be hurtful to the leaders. It can also be a momentum buster for a church who desires health and growth.
So… this blog post is for you. Please join in the dialogue. What do you do?
by Rob Campbell