Cell Group Reporting. Helpful or controlling?

You know, there's two pastoral perspectives with small group reporting and keeping statistics. One is really healthy and exciting and the other is genuinely unhealthy. Sadly, many pastors default on the unhealthy perspective because their entire view of their cell-based church model is unhealthy and it follows suit.

In a healthy cell-based church, the pastoral staff is carefully monitoring what's going on in the groups so they can support them in their efforts. The groups (not just the leaders of those groups, but the members as well) have dreamed about what they could do with God to expose his kingdom to people who don't know it exists ... and they've set personal goals for growth in many areas of life and ministry. These goals and plans are reported to the pastoral staff regularly because they receive support if they let the pastors know what they're doing and what they need from the pastors to succeed.

Contrast this with the church that launches groups with a pastor at the helm who sets goals for group multiplication (and calls it vision casting) then requires regular reports to insure what he has told them to do is actually happening.

"You don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect" is certainly true, but can become very negative, making everyone in the small groups feel as if they are a cog in a pastor's giant clockworks. It would be far better to say, "You get only what God is doing through your people, not what you tell them to do."

I now see why so many church leaders from outside the cell movement characterize it as one of control, even though I do not think it's controlling at all! It's just the way the voices of the cell movement have written and spoken about the model. Reporting, hierarchy, discipleship, and other vital areas of support are usually interpreted by newbies and outsiders as ways to control people.

Far too many pastors become frustrated with sickle cell groups of people who do not want to do anything with and for God and drive them to perform so he can pastor the church he's dreamed of pastoring his whole life. It's obviously not about supporting people in their ministry, or even showing them how to do ministry so they see the benefits and adopt a new life of servanthood. It's all about his ego.

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