SHOWING APPRECIATION TO CELL LEADERS
What ministry title in scripture best approximates the ministry performed by a Cell Leader? Elder or Deacon? Perhaps one of the five titles mentioned in Ephesians: Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist? Or, what about Shepherd? Servant? Other titles to be considered could be Counselor, Comforter, Advisor, etc.
The point is this: the ministry of a Cell Leader from time to time may involve all these areas. This person may be the first one at a family in crisis, the first mentor of a future missionary, the one who intercedes into the night for those in the home group.
It involves a significant sacrifice of time to lead a cell, a restructuring of priorities to put the needs of the families of the group ahead of leisure activities. Consider also the commitment of the spouse and even the children as they release this person to serve month after month.
I shall never forget the first trip to Seoul in 1963 to visit Pastor Yonggi Cho. Among other things I discovered was that he had just taken by the busloads all the Cell Leaders of the church to a seaside resort for a multi-day “Thank You” event. This annual time with the Pastor was a great blessing to those who had served so faithfully.
When I went to Singapore to help build the Faith Community Baptist Church cell ministry, we budgeted from the start a special annual event for all Cell Leaders, taking them to a seaside resort in Malaysia. In addition, personalized gifts were presented. 24 years later, I still unzip the little leather case of nail clippers with the church logo we gave to each person. In addition, there were significant awards at this annual event for the Cell Leaders who had multiplied their groups several times and those who had brought the most new believers to Christ.
While we averaged about 2 ½ years of service before cell leaders either took time off or were promoted to be responsible for overseeing 5-6 cells (Cell Supervisors) or moved to a pastoral position (Zone Pastor), we had many who chose to remain a cell leader year after year, often seeing several generations of “daughter cells.” These were given special honor. I noted in a recent article by Pastor Mario Vega that they had just honored a woman who had led a cell since the founding of the church!
For unsalaried cell leaders, their greatest “rewards” are not going to be a special annual retreat or banquet or trophy or pin. It will be the lives they have invested their prayers and hours to mentor and inspire. This is the gold, silver and precious stones that they will be rewarded for when they meet God at they enter into His eternal home and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” But a congregation that recognizes the faithful service of its cell leaders will prosper!
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”