GET A STRATEGY
PRAYER AND PLANNING ARE THE KEYS TO GROWTH
BY RANDALL G. NEIGHBOUR
As I travel around the country, the successful cell groups I visit live out a solid plan of action for growth. Cell members tell me that each one of them is a vital part of God’s team because decisions are made as a group. The cell group regularly discusses its goals. Accountability is high. They see friends, family and co-workers come to Christ, and leaders are raised up from within the group. Everyone is on board, and the air is charged with cell life excitement.
We recently set aside two days for strategic planning at TOUCH Outreach Ministries, and I realized a cell group could do the same thing to achieve new results in cell life. Your group probably could benefit from a strategic planning and prayer session. Use the following information to form a weekend event, or tear apart the pieces and set aside planning time during your upcoming meetings.
• Ask an “outsider” – your pastor, coach or supervisor – to facilitate the session(s). He or she knows the vision of the church, and is vitally interested in your group.
• If you can pull it off, take the cell away for a weekend to a retreat center or another remote location. If your cell is intergenerational and the children stay in your meetings the whole time, invite those 11 years and older to join you. Ask family, friends or other cells to care for younger children.
• Ask someone in your cell to plan the meals for the weekend. Keep meals (and cleanup) simple and short so no one misses the planning sessions due to “kitchen duty.”
• Borrow a paper flip chart and an easel so your facilitator can writ down all your great plans and post the sheets around the room for easy viewing. Take lots of colored markers and some way to hang the pages on the wall.
The Big Event
Eat dinner together Friday evening, and then take some time to fellowship. Involve everyone in charades or another group game. Have some fun! End the evening with a time of prayer.
Start Saturday with an early morning breakfast, and have everyone clean up. See how quickly you can finish.
Post your church’s vision and mission statements on a wall. Everything you do in this time must fit within these statements. Now you’re ready to begin.
1. Pray. Open yourselves up to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and cast off any ideas that are not from God. Christians often take on Kingdom tasks that belong to someone else. Seek only God’s vision for your cell.
2. State and list your assumptions. Have your facilitator write each of these questions at the top of a separate clean sheet of paper:
• What do we want to achieve this weekend?
• What do we want to preserve in our cell?
• What do we want to avoid as we plan for the future?
This creates ground rules for the session.
3. Answer the following as a group, and use the flip chart to record your answers:
• What have been our successes? (recent past)
• What have been our failures? (recent past)
• What are our strengths? (present)
• What are our weaknesses? (present)
• What are our opportunities? (future)
• What are our threats? (future)
This helps your group see the big picture and sets the stage for change.
4. Type the questions in this section and make a simple handout. Give each person a copy, and ask him or her to rate each question on a scale of 0 to 5 (0 is weak and 5 is strong). The facilitator jots down each number on the flip chart, and then figures the average for each question.
• I pray daily for my fellow cell members, the lost and my spiritual leadership.
• I spend time with lost people every week in an effort to show them Jesus through my lifestyle and actions.
• I have led someone to Christ in the last six months, and I’m showing that person how to do the same thing.
• I spend time with other cell members each week, either doing something fun or eating together.
• I am working through my church’s equipping track for personal growth.
• I invest time in an accountability relationship with another cell member, and we now meet regularly.
• I have leadership potential, and I’m willing to pastor others when my group is ready to multiply and needs a new cell leader.
This identifies the common strengths and weaknesses of the group. Based on averages, determine the group’s strongest and weakest areas. Discuss your findings and ask this question: “What must change to help our cell reach the lost and multiply its leadership base?”
5. Open up the time for confession, and surrender to God’s call for His people.
6. Create a plan for the future. Pass out copies of monthly calendars for the next six months. Brainstorm and build a list of possible actions that would move the group forward. The listed items might fix identified problems, add missing components, or improve what already is working. Once the list is complete, decide as a group which ideas are the most important and “doable” by the group. These then become your goals. (Try to set dates for when each goal should be achieved, and assign specific responsibilities.)
7. Decide as a group how many new believers your cell needs to reach before multiplication. How many invitations to the meeting must be achieved to reach this goal? On average, a group extends s’ invitations for each visitor who shows up. How many invitations must each member extend every week to reach your goal?
The Bottom Line
Strategic planning melds your group as a team and creates shared vision. The group emerges with a clear purpose and an “outward” focus. Add a follow-up meeting to discuss how the plan is working and whether it needs tweaking.
Your strategic plan is your battle plan. We are at war, and Satan has fought hard to establish a reign of terror on earth. But we have the power of Jesus Christ – and Basic Christian Community – to overthrow his kingdom. Winning the spiritual war, and bringing the world to Christ, requires a solid plan, teamwork and measurable results. We must be strategic and determined to set the captives free.
Strategic Resources recently helped TOUCH initiate a strategic plan of action for our future. If your church or organization lacks a strategic plan, request information from this Christian organization. Contact Ron Ford at (760) 634-6976 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY TOUCH OUTREACH MINISTRIES, 2000, “CELLEBRATING” CELLCHURCH MAGAZINE, PAGES 149-152.
THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY