Joel Comiskey writes in Reap the Harvest (p. 134), "Why not forget a system of oversight and support and just concentrate on the cells? … First, you must take care of your leaders. Put another way: You must minister to your ministers if they're going to continue to minister." [See a review of Reap the Harvest also in this issue of "Small Group Dynamics."]
Often pastors and church leaders enter into cells without thinking through the critical need of building a system of care that operates from the senior pastor down to every person in a cell. The critical link to this is having multi-levels of care. That means that not only are people cared for by their cell leader, but every cell leader is in the line of care as well. This is why I believe cell coaches (or call them zone servants, zone supervisors, or whatever else — this is the middle-management level over your cell leaders and before your paid staff) is the critical link.
Cell coaches manage cell leaders. That means they oversee them and make sure they do everything within their power to help leaders succeed. This will have a lot to do with teaching them the skills to truly pastor their people and then holding them accountable to do it. It will mean helping them learn the techniques to facilitate good cell times where Christ is present. It'll mean helping their cell leaders deal with difficult situations and difficult people.
But a cell coach's fundamental job is to care for the cell leaders. This is vital for two reasons. First, because cell leaders won't have the needed fuel in their tank to minister if they aren't being ministered to. Giving of yourself for others will drain you. That is why cell leaders need to have an ongoing practice of prayer and Scripture ...