By Joel Comiskey
Leading the cell church vision over the long haul requires a strategy to keep the vision burning. Some pastors quickly get excited about cell church but fizzle out over time. Often the reason for stagnation is the lack of a plan for developing and strengthening the cell fire. Here are a few suggestions to keep the fire alive:
Bible reading: Because cell church is based on the Bible, a pastor should grow in his passion as he reads Scripture. Do you see cell church when reading about the Trinity? Our God is a God of community, being in constant fellowship with the other members of the Trinity. Does Jethro’s advice to Moses in Exodus 18:13ff fan into flame your vision? Some scholars estimate that the nation of Israel had 150,000 cells among the 1.5 million people. How about Christ choosing a small group to live and minister with for three years? The early church continued that process through modeling both cell and celebration (Acts 2:42; 5:42; 20:20). Do all the one-another passages in the Bible excite you about cell ministry? I’m writing here in Miami at the Oikos conference. Yesterday, I was eating breakfast with Ralph Neighbour, Robert Lay, Mario Vega, Bill Beckham, and the Oikos leadership team. The director the NIV Spanish Bible talked to us about the possibility of creating a “Cell Church Bible” that would highlight the key cell church passages with commentary about those passages. What do you think?
Practicing cell life: Reread Steve Cordle’s Thursday blog about why he leads a cell group. Basically, Steve is saying that leading a cell keeps him excited about cell ministry. If you’re not leading a cell, you should be visiting cells or regularly attending one.
Coaching: Coaches help pastors stay fine-tuned with cell ministry through listening, encouragment, and strategizing. Part of the coach’s role is to resouce the pastor. For example, I ask most of the pastors I coach to read a book in preparation for our phone call. We don’t spend a lot of time on the reading, but I know this discipline will keep them fine-tuned. I also send each pastor my cell PowerPoints to stir their imagination and vision. If you don’t have a coach, find one. You also need to coach the leaders under your care through regular huddle times and one-on-one coaching. This will revive the passion of your leaders.
Online material: One of the key reasons we blog daily on JCG is to keep pastors and leaders excited about the cell vision (please spread the word about our daily blog). Have you also been studying our free online articles? Another great resources is WIZEHIVE. Ralph Neighbour and I are the co-owners of WIZEHIVE and Michael Sove is the administrator. WIZEHIVE offers a wealth of additional cell material. I would encourage you to sign up.
Networking: Cell seminars are great, and I’d encourage you to go to as many as possible. However, the networking with like-minded pastors and leaders is often the most valuable part of a seminar. In my seminars, I ask the participants to regularly break-up in groups of two and three to discuss what they’ve learned. I know that participation will help them apply what they’ve learned and add valuable insight to their lives.
If you plan on staying in the cell vision over the long-haul, you’ll need to proactively feed the cell vision continually.
What are you doing to keep the vision fresh?