Pitfalls of Cell Reporting

JOELby Joel Comiskey

JCG blogging this month highlighted the importance of keeping accurate cell statistics. Church leaders need to know what’s happening in the cell groups and accurate cell reporting helps them to better “know the state of the flock.” Yet even if a church keeps accurate statistics, certain pitfalls can still occur. Here are two of them:

1. Depending too much on the numbers and not enough on human interaction. Statistics can’t tell everything. They can reveal how many met, prayer requests, salvations, who is being trained, etc. However, they don’t uncover whether the leader is battling with sin, discouragement, or is going to be moving out of town next month. They don’t diagnose the health of the group and whether it’s ready for multiplication.

To know these things, human, supervisory interaction is required. Cell coaching makes or breaks cell ministry. Statistics can help in the coaching process, but they can’t replace it. A leadership team (whether lay-staff or a fulltime pastoral staff) should interact and personally talk about leader “Joe Smith” or “Mary Temple” and make decisions about whether their groups are healthy or unhealthy. It’s possible for a cell church to produce weak, enimic cell groups that die over time based on pure statistics. We all know that uexpected obstacles and setbacks take place in cell ministry. Wise coaches expect these things to occur and rely heavily on the Spirit of God to guide the training and multiplication process–rather than on statistical reports alone.

2. Lack of understanding about the WHY of reporting. Some cell churches don’t adequately communicate to their leaders the reason for cell reporting. Those turning in the weekly reports feel it’s a waste of time and only begrudingly do it, if at all.

During the cell leadership training part of the equipping process, tell the future leader why cell reporting is necessary and expected each week. Talking about the reporting process during the cell leader’s training can break down mental obstacles and help make turning in the report a habit.

Leaders are more motivated to turn in their reports if you can show them how the reports are being used. As Steve Cordle said in a blog this month, If you never mention or refer to the statistics the leader provides, they will assume it makes no difference whether they report or not.

Perhaps you can think of additional pitfalls. Please share them.

Joel

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