The Blessedness of Saying NO

By Joel Comiskey, Reap the Harvest (2022 version)

One of my favorite coaching questions is, “If You’re Saying Yes to This, What Are You Saying No To?” Michael Stanier says, “A Yes is nothing without the No that gives it boundaries and form” (The Coaching Habit, pp.  165-166).

Effective cell ministry means concentrating on our Yeses and then saying no to those things that get in the way of concentration. In his famous book From Good to Great, Jim Collins says, “The good-to-great companies did not focus principally on what to do to become great; they focused equally on what not to do and what to stop doing ” (page 11).

Great cell church leaders know what to do and what not to do.

In the last several months, we’ve talked about making disciples through evangelism and cell multiplication. Multiplying disciples means that leaders and members will have enough time to reach out, go through the equipping, and so forth. Making disciples demands time and concentration.

Some Christian leaders say yes to everything and later end up becoming ineffective. They fulfill the words of George Barna,

In speaking with pastors of declining churches, a common thread was their desire to do something for everybody. They had fallen into the strategic black hole of creating a ministry that looked great on paper, but had not ability to perform up to standards. Despite their worthy intentions, they tried to be so helpful to everyone that they wound up being helpful to no one (User-Friendly Churches, p. 51.)

When pastors and leaders say yes to everything, two problems occur: 

  1. The people don’t know what’s essential and become confused.
  2. Because lay people are encouraged to get involved in the new shiny programs, they don’t have time to make disciples through cell ministry.

Saying NO is a blessed word in the cell church. In what areas do you need to say no so your leaders and members can concentrate on the main things? Saying yes to the right things is essential. For August, let’s explore this theme of concentration. Experienced pastors and leaders will write twenty blogs on this topic. Click here to receive these blogs in your daily email. We’ll cover:

  • September 03-9: Concentration. What does it mean to place cell ministry at the church’s base?
  • September 10-16: What are key areas to say yes to in the cell church? 
  • September 17-23: How can we help our people say no to say yes to the most important things? (the good is often the enemy of the best). 
  • September 24 to September 30: What does practicing integration in the cell church mean? Not everyone has to be involved in other ministries. Yet, many cell churches require that a person is in a cell to have a ministry (e.g., ushers, etc.). Where are you in the process of integration?