by Mario Vega
One of our branch churches grew to more than 300 cells. The lead pastor decided to conduct a thorough evaluation. He found a lot of distortions and inconsistencies with the model.
Given the circumstances, he decided to implement a correction plan that lasted for nearly a year. During that time the leaders were trained once again and the supervision structure was changed. This particular pastor estimates that when he restarts, he will begin with 100 cells, rather than 300 (only one third of what he had before).
The reason why a model may pick up a number of deformities resides in the lack of supervision on a permanent basis. Moreover, it is a mistake to think that the model has been healed with these corrections and new training. At first all things will be in order. But if no detailed supervision is applied, the same defects will be repeated.
This actual experience shows the important value of supervision. Nothing can take its place. Therefore, not only supervision must be held in high priority, but it must be strengthened and perfected. The first supervisor is the lead pastor himself. His dedication to the cell work is critical for the health of the system. The greater involvement of the lead pastor, the greater the certainty that things will continue in the right direction.
Translation in Spanish
La supervisiÃ³n continua.
El pastor de una de nuestras iglesias filiales, despuÃ©s de haber alcanzado mÃ¡s de 300 cÃ©lulas, decidiÃ³ realizar una evaluaciÃ³n a fondo. EncontrÃ³ una gran cantidad de deformaciones e incongruencias con el modelo.
Ante esa situaciÃ³n, decidiÃ³ implementar un plan de correcciÃ³n que se extendiÃ³ por casi un aÃ±o. Durante ese tiempo los lderes fueron entrenados nuevamente y se modificÃ³ la estructura de supervisiÃ³n. El pastor calcula que al echar a andar de nuevo el trabajo comenzarÃ¡ con aproximadamente 100 cÃ©lulas. Es decir, un tercio de lo que antes tena.
La razÃ³n por la que un modelo puede llegar a adquirir tantas deformaciones reside en la falta de una supervisiÃ³n permanente. Es mÃ¡s, el pensar que con estas correcciones y nueva capacitaciÃ³n, el modelo se ha sanado es un error. Al principio todas las cosas se encontrarÃ¡n en orden. Pero, si no se aplica una supervisiÃ³n detallada los mismos vicios volverÃ¡n a repetirse.
Esta experiencia real nos muestra el importante valor que posee la supervisiÃ³n. Nada puede tomar su lugar. Por ello, no solamente se debe sostener la supervisiÃ³n sino que se la debe reforzar y perfeccionar. El primer supervisor es el Pastor mismo. Su dedicaciÃ³n al trabajo celular serÃ¡ determinante para que las cosas marchen correctamente. A mayor involucramiento del Pastor mayor seguridad que las cosas marcharÃ¡n por buen camino.
4 thoughts on “The Need for Supervision”
This was a fantastic article. I think that too many times we just let things go because we believe God will just take care of everything. God will take care of everything as long as we are diligent, obedient, prayerful, and relying on Him for everything. If we do not do all of those aforementioned things, we are just supervising a club; not a small group of Christians.
I was also very impressed by this article. I was reminded AND CONVICTED about the importance of SUPERVISION!
Supervision is a skill of management rather than leadership.
There can be an imbalance that overemphasizes spiritual entrepreneurial leadership. When management is not cared for, a leader leads the army into battle without proper training, adequate ammunition or gasoline, believing that reliance on enthusiasm – or courage – or God – will make up for an empty gas tank.
In my reading of accounts of large, growing churches, behind the famous innovative charismatic strong leader is someone unknown providing the basic, fundamental, unglamorous work of managing the system to get the details right day after day after day.
Management: clear and focused written outcomes, clear and focused detailed written step by step methods, clear and focused supervision to achieve all the details properly, correctly and on time. Weekly written reports. Quality control is a function of management.
If you want a biblical term for management, you can use stewardship.
It’s my considered opinion that the tendency to continually innovate and change a system rather than just implement it and run it is the major difference between third world cell churches and the American church.
We have a desire to gain an advantage through creative change to a system structure rather than through disciplined, hard work with many individuals to fulfill specific criteria for spiritual growth and service. (I know this because I see this tendency in myself constantly.)
Some like to point to a cultural difference with Korea which seems to indicate that Americans can’t follow a detailed system. With 1/3 of the population as Myers-Briggs SJ and the majority of church people SJ, you cannot say that many people do not crave consistent, established routines which they can repeat endlessly. If you give most people a good recipe they will follow it religiously and rigorously; they don’t want to experiment with everything. It’s more likely that our methods of innovating change are inadequate, and the primary symptom of that is too much innovation.
Just my opinion. Thank you, Brother Mario, for sharing this; it’s a topic most North Americans do not want to hear.
…and Joel–your books on cell leading and explosion are fantastic. They are a blessing, and extremely helpful to me. Thank you.