By Joel Comiskey
Most of you reading this blog know that spiritual preparation is more important than lesson preparation. However, we dare not forget that lesson preparation is also very important! I’ve been in a number of groups where I quickly realized that the leader had barely looked at the lesson before arriving. I can tell by the way the leader thinks out loud about what questions to cover or has a difficult time remembering the biblical content. It’s also evident by the fact that the leader is more concerned about figuring out how to lead the lesson, rather than truly focusing on listening and encouraging the responses of those present.
As you prepare the lesson and the meeting in general, the members will thank you for it and will leave the meeting with a desire to come back the next week. Here are some preparation tips:
1. Plan in advance
The most important thing you can do is start the preparation while the pastor is preaching. Most cell churches provide the lesson to the cell leader, and it’s always best if the leader has the lesson while the pastor is preaching. If the lesson arrives a couple days afterwards, don’t wait until it arrives to start planning. While the pastor is preaching, be thinking about how you would apply the sermon to your cell group. Invent your own questions and write them down while the pastor is preaching. Then when you do receive the lesson, you can compare your own questions to the ones in the official lesson.
2. Make it your own
One common error is to read the official lesson questions verbatim and not adapt them to the needs of your group. Effective leaders pick and choose the questions; they cut and paste until the lesson is their own. Only you know the needs of the group. Only you, leader, know what questions will transform your people. Take the liberty to adapt the questions, change them, add new ones, and exclude ones that don’t work.
3. Don’t feel like you need to cover all the questions
Rookie cell leaders feel they have to go over all the questions, even if it means extending the lesson beyond the normal time frame. Don’t do this. Feel free to spend more time on just one or two questions if the people are entering into meaningful dialogue. Stop on time, even if you haven’t covered all of the questions.
4. Focus on edification, rather than information
As you prepare for the lesson, remember the motto: aim at transformation rather than information. Your goal is to “edify” the people, which literally means to “reconstruct” their lives. Biblical Information ministers to the head but biblical transformation reconstructs the mind and heart. Your goal is to make sure people go away changed and ready to live the Christian life, rather than just knowing more about it. Transformation is the reason cell groups are so necessary–especially in our day and age when information is readily available on internet, radio, and TV.
How do you prepare for the cell lesson? What can you share with others on this blog about your own personal preparation?