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Team Ministry: Mending the Nets
By Joel Comiskey
As a teenager, I would go to Enseñada, Mexico once or twice a year with my family. We would camp right on Estero Beach and sleep in my parent’s tent trailer. My brother Jay and I would walk down the beach to a rock jetty and fish most of the day. I loved the solace of sitting on the rocks, throwing out my line, and bringing in my catch. I remember catching two fish at a time becuase I put two hooks on the line. Great memories.
Mark’s gospel talks about fishing as well. Mark says, “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. (Mark 4:18-20)
Jesus called fisherman to be his disciples and told them he would make them fishers of men. The disciples were fishermen by trade. Fishing was their job. I played around with fishing in my youth, but these men fished as a profession–to put food on the table. I fished individually with a pole to catch one or two fish at a time. The disciples of Jesus fished with a net.
The fishing net was the tool of the disciple’s trade. A net full of holes could cost them dearly. I’m sure the disciples took great care and precautions to mend their nets when holes appeared. Did they mend the nets together? Most likely. They fished together and probably mended their nets together.
I’ll never forget one message that pastor Werner Kniessel gave at a cell church conference in his church in Zurich, Switerzland in 2002. He said that every year, his pastoral team came together to mend the cell nets. The pastoral team would examine which cells were unhealthy, which cells were not being supervized, which cells needed to multiply, etc. After mending the nets, they would project new goals for the year. They found that “mending the nets” each year was critical for the ongoing health of their church. And they did it as a team.
Most cell churches and cell groups will need to mend their nets more than once per year. In fact, teams should examine their nets every week–at a cell, coach, and pastoral level. Here’s are the questions for you: What kinds of holes are appearing in your cell net system? What do you need to mend today? Are you doing it as a team?