Cell Leadership Development
By Joel Comiskey
The cell model is not a small-group strategy; it is a disciple-making strategy. The focus is not to start home groups but to equip an expanding number of caring leaders. If you succeed at this, your church will flourish. Churches do not reap the harvest because they have small groups. They reap the harvest because they have harvest workers.
For most cell churches, this person starts in a cell group, becomes co-leader, leader, multiplication leader, supervisor, network leader, and then some are asked to become pastors of entire regions. Leadership training is attached to each level to thoroughly equip potential leaders. Careful coaching is also part of the development process.
Elim is a great example of developing leaders from within. Elim is passionate about developing an army of disciples who make other disciples. Jaime Cea, for example, knew Jesus at a young age, but when his work associate invited him to attend a cell group, he accepted. His earlier view of church was pastor, program and buildings, so when he first started attending an Elim cell in 1993, it was a big surprise. It wasn’t long, however, before he was caught in the net. “I loved the intimacy and fellowship,” he said. It only took one month before Jaime knew he belonged. Here he found what he was seeking.
“In the church I attended before coming to Elim, there was no way to become a leader,” Jaime told me. At Elim everyone was expected to mature in Christ, take the training, and continue the evangelization process of reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ. “It was difficult to convince my wife to come,” he said. But Jesus worked in her heart and soon the entire family was attending an Elim cell.
Jaime took the Elim training and learned how to become a leader. In the seminar he learned how a cell functions and how to lead a group. The weekly celebration teaching and Sunday preaching also helped Jaime develop as a leader. “I love Elim’s teaching about my security in Christ. In my previous experience, I was taught that I could lose my salvation.” By the end of 1993, Jaime was already leading a cell group. Jaime began to invite friends, who gladly responded. Within two months, Jaime had multiplied his cell group. Then the cell multiplied again, until he had multiplied it six times. The Elim leadership then approached Jaime, asking him to become a supervisor.
Like Jaime, some stop at the supervision level. Others become pastors and church planters. As Gwynn Lewis writes, “The growth of the cell movement is based on raising up leaders from within.”