Effective Cell Leadership 1- The Power of Prayer
One of the most overlooked factors in church life is the power of prayer- strange but true- at least in the West where we tend to be obsessed with external appearances.
Every book on growing a church will mention that the Pastor's prayer life is a feature in most growing churches. In fact in the countries with the most rapidly growing churches, places such as Korea and China, pastors spend an average of 5 hours per day in prayer. In countries where the church is declining, the average is less than 20 minutes.
There is a relationship between growing churches and praying pastors. It is not directly measured in time spent in prayer, as if prayer time is a machine that doles out converts per minute of prayer. But the amount of time a person spends in prayer and devotional reading of Scripture is a sign of the quality of their relationship with the Holy Spirit.
If I don't love the Lord much, I will not give much of my time to investing in fellowship with Him. If I am passionately in love with my redeemer, I will spend as much time as I can relating with Him.
This is why, on the questionnaire developed by Andrew Mason, the length of time spent in daily devotions comes first. We can't lead people into a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit if we are not already walking in that place first. It is your personal relationship with God that will allow you to minister effectively and powerfully in your cell group.
If we are serious about seeing our cell group grow, we will spend quality time with God every day. How much time? That question is answered by the depth of your love. In Yonggi Cho's church in Seoul they place a minimum requirement of 3 hours per day for cell leaders. In our context maybe one to two hours per day is a reasonable aspiration.
“I don't have that much time” is the immediate response of many of us. Perhaps that is true for you. But let's be honest here, we all make time for the things we enjoy.
So how can we make time for more of the Lord?
For me resolving to get up early for an hour of prayer each day was the biggest break through possible. I find there are too many interruptions and distractions later in the day so setting apart an hour from about 6.30 am allows me to pray solidly and without distractions. I'm not a morning person and I thought this would never work, but it does for me.
Another place you can start is by looking at how much time you spend on the internet or watching TV. How much of that is really that uplifting? Can you give up some TV shows that you only watch because they are on and you don't really like them that much anyway? Record the shows and skip past the ads- that saves time.
If you drive a lot, develop the habit of praying as you go. If you do mindless repetitive work, use that time to pray and talk to the Lord.
If you don't have a set time for devotions, set aside a regular daily time now. If you, are like many christians, in the habit of a 10-20 minute devotional time, extend it out to 30 minutes then to 40. Take time to pray for yourself, your cell members, your neighbours.
As Joel Comiskey mentions in this article, the key to cell growth is prayer, prayer, prayer.