I wish you God’s best in 2014 and hope and pray that this would be the best year of your life. But I also want to warn you about the many distractions you will face. You will be bombarded by a myriad of good ideas and new techniques. You will be tempted to scatter your energy on many immediate needs, rather than concentrating on your long-term cell-based system.
Why redouble your focus on cell ministry? First and foremost because cell ministry is biblical. Jesus chose the small group environment to make disciples who make disciples. He sent his own disciples into homes and the early church followed Christ’s strategy by changing the world through house to house ministry. The early church also gathered those house churches into larger celebration gatherings.
The second reason to concentrate is because people can only do a few things well. If you desire people to get involved in cell ministry, you can’t expect them to be involved in a wide variety of church activities. Those in cell ministry need time to visit neighbors, attend a cell group, prepare the cell lesson, go to the coaching meeting, and other related activities. To excel in the “one thing,” your people need to focus.
Only you as the lead pastor can stand up and say no to all the well-intentioned programs that arrive at your church door. Are programs bad? No. It’s simply a matter of choosing the focus. In fact, the word “no” is a blessed word in cell church ministry.
Effective cell pastors have learned to delegate. Not all pastors are able to do this. Perhaps they don’t know how. Or maybe they don’t want to. After all, there’s a certain power in being the “go to” person. I personally know some pastors who like to take every counseling appointment that comes through the church. Members begin to expect the pastor to do all the work of the ministry.
The goal of the pastor whose church is based on cells is to equip the members to carry on the work of the church. When the sheep have a problem, effective cell pastors ask if they have first talked with their cell leader. They refuse to pass over the cell leaders in the process of caring for the sheep.
Moses didn’t have to do everything, but he did need to make sure everyone received the proper care. He did need to oversee the ultimate delegation of responsibility. Jethro’s advice to Moses freed Moses up from having to stand and listen to the entire nation all day and night. It also helped the people under his care to go away satisfied (Exodus 18:17-27).