Supervisors and Supervision


By Mario Vega

The evangelization work in cells is a method that follows its own guidelines and values. It has its own mechanisms to measure effectiveness. As in any process, cell work should be constantly evaluated.

The evaluation is performed by people who have demonstrated ability in the work and have the grace to encourage others. Many churches call these people “coaches.” At Elim church we call them “supervisors.”

In Spanish there is no other word that has exactly the same meaning as the word “coach.” When we use the word “supervisor,” we are thinking of the functions of a coach. The supervisor ensures the work is done as planned and is empowered with authority to correct any deficiency.

Apparently, this is the same idea that Pastor Cho uses. In Cho’s model, the equivalent of “supervisor” or “coach” is called “Senior Leader.” That is a leader who has reached a higher level and, consequently, can look after and exercise authority over the cell leaders.

“’Coach” is best understood as a person who accompanies and encourages other leaders to do the cell work. Although this may only appear to be a matter of semantics, it is interesting because it exposes the different conceptions of the supervising function in different cell churches.

What is term or concept you use in your church?



La supervisión y los supervisores.

El trabajo de evangelización en células es un método que sigue sus propios lineamientos y valores. Establece sus mecanismos de operación y de efectividad. Como todo proceso, el trabajo celular también puede y debe ser evaluado constantemente.

La evaluación se realiza por medio de personas que han demostrado capacidad para el trabajo y que, además, poseen gracia para animar a otras personas. Muchas iglesias llaman a éstas personas ‘coach’. En el caso de iglesia Elim les llamamos ‘supervisores’.

En español no existe una palabra que tenga exactamente el mismo significado que ‘coach’. Por su parte, ‘supervisor’, se entiende como una persona que vela porque el trabajo sea hecho tal como se ha planeado al mismo tiempo que está dotada de autoridad para corregir lo deficiente.

Aparentemente, esta misma idea es la que utiliza el Pastor Cho. Ya que el equivalente a ‘supervisor’ o ‘coach’, es llamado en su modelo ‘Senior Leader’. Es decir un lder que ha alcanzado un nivel superior y que, consecuentemente, puede velar y ejercer autoridad sobre los lderes de células.

‘Coach’ se entiende más bien como una persona que acompaña y anima a otros lderes a hacer la labor. Aunque esto parece ser solamente un asunto de semántica, es interesante porque expone las diversas concepciones de la función de supervisión en las distintas iglesias celulares.

¿Cuál es su concepto en su iglesia?

1 thought on “Supervisors and Supervision

  • In my theory, I would like to call them “fathers” and “grandfathers” or “mothers” and “grandmothers.”

    To me this term emphasizes the unity is one of love, but also provides the authority to be directive when necessary. The term also includes the conceptualization that all boys are to grow up to be fathers and eventually grandfathers. The task of the father is to help the children to grow up to be good fathers and mothers themselves.

    The term is one utilized in scripture by Paul and in 1 John (fathers, young men (apprentices) and children). Or brother and sister.

    To me the term coach just doesn’t make the grade; a coach is someone you see once a week at the game (not 24/7), is only involved in your life for the athletic season (not lifelong), and is only knowledgeable about one thing – the sport (not all of life). The end result can fit into the worst sort of Western spirituality – a relationship that lasts only for the duration of the weekly cell meeting. There is no real intimacy or transparency or mutuality – do you know or help your coach with your coach’s problems? And there is no implication that EVERY player should grow up to become a coach. The best coach may be far better than the worst father, but even a moderately good father is so much more beneficial to a young person lifelong than even the very best of athletic coaches.

    We have a tendency in the west to prefer “shallow” relationships with fewer obligations – coach seems to require less personal commitment and less work than “father” or even “brother” – but we reap what we sow.

    Supervisor has all the problems of a coach plus the temptation to micro manage or overcontrol, creating dependency rather than equip for independency. Still, I believe the term “supervisor” is better than “coach” for exactly the reasons that Pastor Mario names. The names we give jobs have power.

    While it is not improper to tranlate the Koran terms Cho uses as “leader” other translations are also proper. In Karen Hurston’s wonderful book on Yoido, she indicates that the literal translation of the word we translate as cell leader, ku-yok jang, literally means “leader in one’s small geographical territory or area.” The focus is on a geographical micro-mission field, not on leading a small group. Yoido uses the scriptural terms “deacon” and senior deacon or senior deaconness, and elder ( for various levels of lay leaders.

    There’s nothing wrong with the word “leader” – but the western understanding of “leader” or “coach” or “supervisor” (it seems to me) is impoverished compared to the richness and depth of the biblical terms. I find myself avoiding these terms (“leader” or “coach”) because they are so easily misunderstood and so easily are perceived to require so much less than what is needed for the health of the body of Christ.

    I know this is a controversial subject, so I would want to say that I share this only as my opinion for reflection and not meant as a criticism of the opinion of anyone else. I hope my words reflect James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.”

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