David Cho once said, â€œThe [senior] pastor must be the key person involved. Without the pastor, the system will not hold together. It is a system, and a system must have a control point. The controlling factor in home cell groups is the pastor.â€ I don’t completely agree with Cho’s statement because I believe that just as important as the senior pastor is the leadership team. I’ve given seminars and coached churches that don’t even have one lead pastor–yet were very successful in cell ministry. The difference was that the leadership team was fully committed and involved.
I’m writing this blog from Jacksonville, Florida. I just finished a seminar with Fellowship Church in Gainesville, Florida, led by Jeff and Jane Powell. Wow, Jeff has a fire for cell ministry! Jeff was initially on staff with Celebration Church, a cell church led by Dennis Watson in New Orleans. Two years ago Jeff took the lead role at Fellowship Church, which has added 150 people since Jeff arrived. Yet, it is a programmed based church (started in 1988). I believe that Fellowship Church will eventually become a cell church because of Jeff’s passion for cell ministry.
Some seminars are good. This one was great. Why? The preparation. Jeff’s fire for cell ministry stirred him to gather seven area churches as well as his own for the seminar. Approximately 200 people attended.
Jeff was hoping to use this seminar to launch his first six cell groups simultaneously. I counseled Jeff NOT to start his first six cells until after starting a pilot group, which would include his staff members. Why? I wanted to make sure Jeff and team got it right the first time. I told Jeff that the best way for new leaders and staff to catch the cell vision is to SEE it first hand from the senior pastor. The bottom line is that cell ministry is better caught than taught.
Jeff also needed to make sure the coaching structure was established from the top, and that’s why I told him to include the staff in the first pilot group. I wanted to make sure that Jeff focused on coaching his staff who in turn would coach the new cell leaders, rather than becoming the main coach of the new cell groups.
Jeff wholeheartedly agreed with this counsel and even called all the key cell leaders and staff together for a planning meeting on the last day of the conference. Most seemed relieved and grateful to first witness a cell led by pastor Jeff.
What do you think? Do you have any additional counsel for Jeff or for someone in a similar circumstance?