Saturday, December 30, 2006

Coaching: A Discovery Process

Coaching focuses on promoting discovery. A good coach will not tell you what to do, but instead will ask you the right questions to help you discover what you need to do. As Christians we have the added benefit of the Holy Spirit indwelling us to guide us into truth. A skilled coach will help you find untapped potential within yourself. A good coach thinks about you and your needs. He focuses entirely on you.

Jane Creswell (a coaching expert) says "The best image for coaching is a vehicle. The word coach derives from an old British word meaning 'horse-drawn carriage.'" She encourages us to think of the coaching process as a journey, "one in which you are caught up in the process as you move toward a specific, targeted destination." The goal of the coach is to help you find direction and enjoy the ride, while maximizing all the resources at your disposal. The skilled coach helps you be the best you can be.

I said it before, every church planter needs a coach. In fact, I believe that every pastor needs a coach. Do you have one? If not, get one!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Are You Sure You Want to Plant a Church?

Several months back a friend of mine said that half of the church planters he works with in his state quit within 18-24 months of starting their new church. I can only imagine a hundred reasons for this phenomena; one of which is a lack of clarity about one's own calling to church planting - the kind of clarity required to sustain you through the hard times.

People plant churches for a lot of different reasons - some very good, and some probably not so good. The truth is that church planting is HARD WORK and on top of that there will always be spiritual resistance from the evil one. Just before Christmas I was talking with a local church planter who spoke about losing over half of his core team before the church was a year old. (This is not uncommon - again for many reasons.) When the going gets tough, the faint of heart quickly begin to re-assess the risks and commitments required to plant a new church!

Almost every church planter I know experiences some measure of this kind of questioning, including myself. One of the key scriptures that has helped me is found in Psalm 73. Here's what God says to us:

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (73:22-26)

Meditate on these words and let them encourage your heart!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior into this world. I am aware that many of my friends are suffering grief or pain as we enter this holiday weekend. Our family has the incredible blessing of getting to be together. We pray for our dear friends and we trust that God will bring peace, comfort, and grace in this time. I am deeply grateful for a wonderful year of coaching many men and women. I am grateful for our NCI staff and many new church plants that we had the privilege of serving. I am grateful for my family and our material and physical blessings. I am most grateful for the opportunity to know many of you who read this and to serve together in God's Kingdom work. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

You Need a Coach

Every church planter needs a coach. However, not just anyone is an effective coach. Granted, some people are good coaches intuitively, and they may not even know that about themselves. However, my experience has been that most pastors are not really very good coaches - although they could be with intentionality. But if it is not a person's passion to coach and help others through coaching, then they are not going to be a very good coach!

When my children were small I use to coach their sports teams - one coach with a dozen kids. However, when they grew older their teams required more coaches than just myself. In fact, when an athlete competes on an olympic level, there may be 4 or 5 coaches for one athlete. Professional golfers all have a coach to help them continue to improve their game. If you want to be the best you can be, you need a coach! If you want to be a good steward of the talents and opportunities God has given you, you need an intentional coach!

One of the things our staff team is intentional about is becoming increasingly highly effective coaches. Do you have a coach? You need one - we can help you! Is God calling you to be a coach? We can help you. I have a couple of coaches myself, do you?