My good friend Daphne Kirk, the children’s cell guru in the worldwide cell church movement, recently lamented the number of leaders in the cell church who are neglecting their own children discipling others while neglecting their own children. She wrote to me in a personal email, “I still see cell leaders, supervisors, and pastors struggling with their teens and even marriages. I see children and young people suffering while their parents are engaged in ministry, and they feel abandoned.”
Daphne hit a raw nerve that can easily be hidden in the midst of ministry success. I’ve observed famous, rapidly multiplying cell churches that talked very little about family ministry and developing godly children. The leaders, in fact, seemed dangerously close to burn-out due to extremely high multiplication goals placed upon them. Perhaps we could apply Christ’s words with a different twist: “What does it profit a person if he multiplies a cell group and is a success in cell ministry but loses his children in the process?”
I fervently believe that cells are leader breeders and the best way to make disciple-makers. But a Christian father and mother should not be primarily concerned about making a disciple of someone else’s children. Parent’s first concern should be their own children.
I heard John Maxwell in 1996 at a Promise Keeper’s rally in Fresno, CA give the following definition of success:
Success is Having Those Closest to you, Love and Respect you the Most
These words are powerful because they give a true, Biblical definition of success. They remind us that success starts at home and only afterwards extends to others. If we can’t disciple our own children, for example, how can we make disciples of other people’s children.
My encouragement to you who are parents is to have devotions with your children each day. Pray for them continually. Love your spouse and have true success in your marriage, so you can provide a road map for your children to follow. Be successful at home and the rest will follow.
Make sure your children go through the equipping track. Prepare your children to be cell leaders. Cell ministry is so powerful because it grows the church from the core to the crowd–from the infrastructure to the rest of the church. Yet your children should be the first to benefit from the beauty of cell ministry.