by Joel Comiskey
A few decades ago, God used the Christian and Missionary Alliance to start a movement in PerÃº called Encounter with God.The focus of Encounter with God was evangelistic campaigns and intense discipleship. It spread throughout Latin America, and when I arrived in Ecuador in 1990, I became part of an Encounter pastoral team at the El BatÃ¡n Church in Quito, Ecuador. One key principle of the Encounter movement was team ministry. Yes, each Encounter church had a lead pastor, but the leadership team led the church alongside the lead pastor.
I was part of the El BatÃ¡n team that planted a daughter church in 1994 called the Republic Church. When the Republic Church made the transition to cell ministry in 1997, we already knew the importance of team ministry. We held many team meetings together to plot our transition. We decided that each of us as pastors and missionaries on the Republic Church team would lead a cell and oversee a network of cells. We then met together as a team on a weekly basis to discuss the cell networks under our care. During those team meetings, the lead pastor, Porfirio LudeÃ±a, asked each team leader how our cell networks were doing, multiplication goals, prayer needs, etc. We worked as a team to build the cell infraestructure.
The lead pastor will be much more effective if he develops a team to share the load, build-up each other, and oversee cell ministry. And of course, team ministry is a biblical concept. Jesus formed his team of twelve, Jesus sent his disciples out in teams, Paul developed a missionary team, and the early church based their leadership structure on a plurality of elders.
Team ministry is also a part of growing cell churches around the world. Those on the leadership team have first been proven in cell ministry. They’ve multiplied cells, shown godly Christian character, received training, and are asked be part of the leadership team (read more about the team ministry process).
Perhaps you are the lead pastor and also work a secular job. Your church isn’t large enough to hire another team pastor. My counsel is to form your team with fruitful volunteer cell leaders. It’s best to meet with them on a weekly basis to envision and oversee cell ministry. If this doesn’t work out, meet every other week or once per month. As you build your team, you’ll discover new potential and fruitfulness in cell ministry.