Helping the Leader Overcome Discouragement

Cell Coaching

by Joel Comiskey

Spring 2013

by Joel Comiskey

Satan loves to discourage leaders. “You’re not successful,” he says. “You are not worthy to lead your cell group.” “You have too many of your own problems to care for others.” “Cell leadership is for gifted people and you’re not one of them.” On and on he goes, flinging darks of discouragement at the cell leadership team, coaches, and pastor. Satan might say, “No one respects your leadership,” and, “You can’t lead tomorrow’s lesson. You don’t know the Bible well enough.” Satan knows that if he can discourage the leader, he can discourage the entire cell group. One cell coach in Australia told me, “Most new cell leaders start on a fairly high level of motivation. Over a period of time, the level drops and if left unchecked, the leader soon gets ‘discouraged’ and then ‘disillusioned’ and then ‘despair or dejection’ sets in, and finally comes the ‘resignation.’”

Many leaders will not openly share when they are discouraged. The coach must probe. Does the tone of voice reflect despair? Is the leader ready to give up? The coach must talk to members of the leader’s cell group.

The best thing the coach can do for a discouraged leader is to listen and encourage. The New American Standard version translates 1 Thessalonians 5:12, “…appreciate those who diligently labor among you…” The Greek word literally means “to perceive” or “to know” those who labor. Recognition means acknowledging the diligent labors of your cell leaders, giving credit where credit is due. The purpose of recognition is to honor and affirm the leaders’ ministries. It’s akin to a “payment” for well-rendered service.

As a coach, here are some thing you can do:

  • Raise your prayer support for the leader
  • Take the leader out for coffee
  • Send the leader a card in the mail
  • Talk to other leaders under you who might be able to encourage the leader
  • Think of ways to recognize the leader (e.g., for past accomplishments)
  • Highlight accomplishments (Compliment them in front of the group; Catch people doing something right and tell them

A cell group coach should be the head cheerleader for his or her cell group leaders. Cell leaders who are supported and encouraged will serve above and beyond the call of duty. Those who wonder if they are appreciated or even noticed will eventually run out of steam.

There is always something to encourage. Are the cell leaders improving? Celebrate any progress, even if it seems small. Winning is important, but winning results from doing one’s best. Success should be rewarded.

What are you doing to encourage your leaders?


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