By Joel Comiskey
Both the Jethro Model of coaching (5×5) and the G12 structure have strengths and weaknesses (check them out). It’s also interesting that the largest cell churches in the world use both structures and have seen God do amazing things. Jon Hamilton blogged about how Central Assembly has adapted my own G12.3 coaching structure (check out the basic concept behind it) and seen God work mightily.
It’s good to have a structure and to even envision the expansion of cells into that structure. However, the coaching cell structure is more like the scaffolding that helps in the building process. You would never hear a construction worker remark, “Wow, look at my beautiful scaffolding.” In the same way, it’s strange to hear a cell church glorying in its incredible scaffolding. Yet, this is exactly what has happened in certain cell churches. They want you to think that their scaffolding is so marvelous that it will give you instant results. Don’t believe it.
In Ecuador, constuction workers often used trees or branches for scaffolding. In other places around the world, the scaffolding is quite sophistifcated. The one common trait about scaffolding, however, is that it is supposed to serve the building process and not the other way around.
As cells evangelize and multiplication takes place, more scaffolding is needed and its helpful to have a creative way to expand your coaching network that creates ownership (Jon Hamilton’s blog). If you’re planting a church and starting with a single cell, the lead pastor will coach all new groups until coaches are needed. So yes, it’s great to have an idea of what type of coaching structure you will grow into. Always remember, however, that the content of coaching is far more important than the coaching structure. Be willing to adjust your coaching structure to meet the needs of your own congregation, rather than trying to fit leaders and cells into your coaching structure.