Team Coaching

By Joel Comiskey, Groups that Thrive and From Twelve to Three, Fall 2020

I often recommend Jim Egli and Dwight Marble’s book, Small Groups, Big Impact. The authors conducted their research among three thousand small group leaders in twenty countries and concluded that coaching was the key factor.

We know coaching is critical and last week, I talked about coaching as a pastoral team.  The pastoral team has the unique opportunity to “team coach” those under them.

But how does team ministry work when coaching the leaders?

In a larger church, like Elim, many teams exist to coach the cell leaders. I’ve had the joy of attending some of those coaching meetings and they are definitely “team events.” I have mostly attended zone pastor meetings and supervisory meetings. These meetings highlight ministry time, strategic planning, and quality control (analyzing the statistics). In my book Passion and Persistence, I describe in detail the coaching structure at Elim.

But what about in smaller cell churches? Let’s say a church has between 5 to 15 cell groups? What team coaching look like in these scenarios?

In my own church, Nuevo Amanecer, for example, we meet with all of the cell leaders once per month. I recommend this frequency, if it is possible, although some churches will meet with the leaders more frequently and some less frequently. Because of Covid-19, we meet on zoom, although previously we held these leadership coaching meetings in the church.  

I recommend that the pastoral team rotates in ministering to the leaders during this coaching time.  Perhaps the lead pastor will give a 15-minute teaching/exhortation. Another team member leads a 15-minute praise time among the members, another team member leads a 15-minute prayer time, and another team member introduces the meeting and concludes. The team could rotate on these ministry spots each month.

But what about individual coaching of cell leaders in a team situation? How does team ministry work out in those situations? At Nuevo Amanecer, we are asking the leaders who multiply cells to coach the new leaders under their care, if possible. For example, Celyce and I recently multiplied our cell group. We had been with our cell since January and now have started a new group with another couple.

Celyce and I will coach the team of leaders we left behind. We will invite the two leader couples left behind in the “mother” cell  to meet with us via zoom once per month.  We will ask them personal questions, find out about any problems they are facing, and especially minister to them. We already know the statistics of the cell groups, since each group turns in a weekly cell report.

Team ministry is the New Testament norm. Jesus had his team and so did Paul the apostle. 

Let’s make sure team ministry is part of all we do in cell ministry, including coaching cell leaders.