By Joel Comiskey, check out Joel’s latest book, Living in Victory , Fall 2020
I was born and raised in Long Beach, California, which is part of greater Los Angeles. My dad would occasionally take me and my brothers to the Fabulous Forum to see the Los Angeles Lakers. I’ve witnessed superstars like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. Each of these stars excelled in their own way and were a pleasure to watch. They overpowered their opponents like Marvel comic characters. But unlike those superheroes, they were helpless to win by themselves. In fact, they were mostly defeated if they tried to personally dominate an opposing five-man team.
Most literature on small group leadership focuses on the individual leader, as opposed to the team. I did the same thing in my book, How to be a Great Small Group Leader. I might have mentioned the team in passing, but it definitely wasn’t my focus. I’ve grown wiser over the years. I now believe that the leadership team is absolutely essential to small group ministry. In fact, it’s one of the primary keys to small group health and growth.
Jesus exemplified team ministry by sending his disciples in groups of two to start home groups. Scripture says, “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. . . . When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.” (Luke 10:1,5).
The early church followed Christ’s example when starting house churches. The house church planting team of Aquila and Priscilla are inseparable in Scripture and the name couple’s name is even reversed to Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:26; Rom 16:3;1 Cor 16:19;2 Tim 4:19). When Paul planted house churches throughout the Mediterranean world, he always ministered with a team (Acts 12:25; 13:1; 15:39). In fact, the norm in the early church was to have a team of leaders over the house churches. Paul, for example, told the leaders of the Ephesian church that the Holy Spirit had made them “overseers” of the flock (Acts 20:28).