By Joel Comiskey
In the cell church today, we need to emphasize the plurality of leadership, both at the cell level as well as the staff who oversee the cells. The day of the lone-ranger leader is over. Teams of leaders should be the new norm, which is actually a reflection of the old norm of the Bible.
The New Testament emphasizes plural leadership. When writing to the church at Philippi, Paul greeted the congregation and, separately, the “overseers” (Phil. 1:1). When he wrote to Titus, he told him to appoint elders, which he also identified with the functions of “overseer” (Titus 1:5-7). Michael Green writes about early church leadership,
Leadership was always plural: the word “presbyter” from which we derive “priest” is regularly used in the plural when describing Christian ministry in the New Testament. They were a leadership team, supporting and encouraging one another, and doubtless making up for each other’s deficiencies (Evangelism in the Early Church, p. 25, Kindle Edition).
Even Jesus had a team of three from within the twelve. In his excellent book, The Pocket Guide to Burnout Free Small Group Leadership , Michael Mack points out that each cell should have a leadership team, just like in Christ’s cell group.
The Elim Church practices team leadership by asking each cell group to form a team of leaders, which then meets once per week. This is a planning meeting that takes place before the cell group. At the planning meeting, the team prays and analyzes the previous meeting. Then the leader asks those present to participate in the upcoming cell meeting. One is asked to call an absentee member; another prepares worship; another makes a commitment to reach out to a non-Christian; someone else agrees to bring refreshments.
Cell churches also promote leadership teams at the pastoral level. Each pastor is in charge of overseeing (i.e., coaching, supervising) a certain number of cell groups and the first item on the agenda in the pastoral meeting is the health and progress of the cell groups.