by Joel Comiskey
Summer cells are often smaller because people are on vacation or might decide to take a “vacation” away from the cell group.This can be discouraging both for cell leaders and church pastors. Why continue leading if only a few are going to show up? Allow me to share three principles to help you along the journey:
First, do not “despise the day of small things” (Zechariah 4:10). Even though only a few people show up for your Tuesday evening Life group during the summer–instead of the nomral ten people, expect God to move in a special way among those who are present. As I’ve led cell groups over the years, I’ve discovered that people are more prone to open up their lives and share more deeply when the groups are smaller.
Second, when you take your hard earned vacation, leader, don’t just close the group down but ask someone else from the group to take your spot. They won’t lead exactly like you, nor will they have the expertise or experience that you have, but that’s okay. The best cell leaders are facilitators, not teachers. They make it easy for others to share and apply God’s Word in a very simple way. You might even ask various ones in your group to help out: one could lead the ice-breaker, another the prayer time, another the lesson, and someone else could bring refreshments.
Third, Press on and don’t give up. Remember what Paul said, “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9: 25). If you are leading a cell, part of a cell team, or a cell member, remember that God has called you to be faithful. Your reward is in heaven! You are serving King Jesus and you will soon stand before his throne. Scripture says in Romans 14:10-12: For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ ”
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.
I spoke in Pastor Aluizio’s huge cell church in central Brazil a few years ago. Pastor Aluizio explained to me how they often talk about heavenly rewards when motivating cell leaders. I had an “aha moment” when listening to Aluizio. I realized afresh that cell ministry is volunteer ministry and that the rewards are eternal, not temporal.
The same applies for summer cells. God is watching and we will give an account to him only.