From Leader to Disciple-maker

By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory

A young man, eager to climb into the driver’s seat of his organization, went into the old man’s office and said, “Sir, as you know, I’ve been appointed by the board to succeed you as president of the bank, and I’d be very grateful for any counsel and help that you could give to me.”

The old man said, “Son, sit down. I have two words of counsel for you. Two words.” “What are they?” asked the young executive. “Right Decisions,” said the boss. The young man thought a moment and said, “Sir, that’s very helpful, but how does one go about making those right decisions?” The old man responded, “One word: Experience.” “Thank you, sir,” said the young man. “I’m sure that will be helpful. But really sir, how does one go about gaining experience?” The old man smiled and said, “Two words: Wrong Decisions.”  

People grow through stepping out, failing, and stepping out again.

Most know that famous American inventor, Thomas Edison, invented the light bulb. What a lot of people don’t know is that he tried over 2,000 experiments before he got it to work. A young reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.

Becoming a disciple of Jesus requires learning through experience. So what does this have to do with team leadership in the cell group? It means that the more we can give people a chance to minister in the cell, the more they are going to grow.

In my own cell, we have had eight people on the leadership team (we recently multiplied into two cells). All of us rotated in doing each part of the cell: icebreaker, worship, lesson, and prayer.

Many think that only the “leader” should lead the lesson time. I’ve come to believe that the lesson should be so simple that everyone on the team should take their part leading it. At our church, Nuevo Amanecer, all the groups follow three easy questions based on the text used in the pastor’s sermon:

  1. What does the passage say?
  2. What is the passage saying to me?
  3. How can I apply this passage in my life in the following week?

Before people answer each question, we read the passage and then ask everyone to take a moment of silence. 

With this method, we’ve been able to encourage many people who never thought they could lead a small group lesson to do so with confidence and boldness. This method is simple and helps everyone to focus on transformation rather than information.

Icebreaker, worship, and prayer/ministry time are also great opportunities to get people involved.

Remember the goal is to make disciples who make disciples. When members are asked to mainly listen to the leader, they will not have the chance to exercise their muscles and become the priesthood of all believers.