By Joel Comiskey
Just like the skeleton holds together the human body, a coaching structure gives substance to the supervision of the cell groups. Even though the coaching structure is not as important as the content of coaching, it does have it’s place.
Most cell churches use the Jethro Model coaching structure (some call this the 5×5 coaching system). It comes from the advice Jethro gave to Moses in Exodus 18:21, “But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” The leader of a group of ten is the cell leader. The leader of a group of fifties is the supervisor over five or more cells. The leader of the group of the 100s is the zone pastor who supervises ten or more cells. The one supervizing the thousands is the district superintendent who presides over the zone pastors and their cell groups. David Cho started using this coaching structure back in the mid-1960s and continues to use it today. Many cell churches, like Elim, also use the Jethro coaching structure.
The G12 coaching model was initiated at the International Charismatic Mission in Bogota, Colombia in the 90s and is an adaptation to the Jethro Model. Instead of one coach supervizing five cells, a G12 coach will care for twelve cell leaders. Some call this the Jesus model, but it’s simply another way to coach those leading cell groups.I like some of the principles in the G12 system, but I also think that asking one coach to supervize twelve cell leaders is way too many. Coaches are normally lay people who have families, jobs, and many other responsibilities. A G12 leader can often neglect the actual job of coaching in the midst of the busyness.
I wrote a book entitled From Twelve to Three, in which I promote a lay coach supervizing three cell leaders while leading his or her own cell group. In that book, I promote the idea of full-time pastors coaching approximately twelve cell leaders, but that number can vary.
I counsel churches to focus on the content of coaching and to grow naturally into the coaching structure as the need arises, rather than adopting an entire coaching structure because another “successful” church is using it.