Sunday, November 29, 2009

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, author of Christ-Centered Coaching, 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? What do you think? Let me know.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Throw Out Your Assumptions

For those of you who know me you know that I am big on planning. Part of this is my gifting and part of this is my OCD. My favorite TV show line comes from the old show "The A Team." Every episode the leader of the team ends the show by saying "I love it when a plan comes together." (You have to see the show to get it.)

I am very insistent that the church planters I coach create a project plan for their new church, even if it is a simple church. I love all the passages in Proverbs that affirm planning! I think they were placed in scripture just for church planters.

However, I am very aware while we prayerfully make our plans, the Lord directs our steps. I am aware that church planting is not a work of human effort, but a work of the Spirit.

With that said, I always encourage church planting leaders to re-evaluate their plan every 30 days. Is it still realistic? Does it seem to be in step with how the Spirit is moving? What progress are you making toward your milestones? What new things are you discovering?

One colleague told me that in a startup, you have to throw out all your assumptions every 3 weeks, while at the same time staying focused and moving forward.

This doesn't mean that your entire plan changes every 3-4 weeks, but it does mean that this venture is a journey into the unknown, and we must always be sensitive to what the Spirit of God is saying and doing. This is another value a good coach brings to the church planter - he is an advocate who can help you discern, evaluate, and make mid-course corrections as needed.

Always make good plans. But always monitor and evaluate your plan as you move forward! What are your thoughts?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tell Your Story

Every church planter needs to write and communicate his/her story!

People are drawn to passion and they are moved by stories. Every church planter has a story and they should be communicating that story with passion. To get focused and clear on it, you MUST write it down!What is your story?

Your story should answer the questions:
• Why are you planting a church instead of doing something else?
• Why are you planting in the location that you’re planting?
• What has led you to this place?
• What do you hope for/dream of?

Your story should define your calling. It should express your passion. It should articulate your dream. You must understand that stories touch the hearts of people. When you touch the heart, people will join with you to make this new church a reality.

To succeed as a church planter, your new church must have at its foundation a story that drives and directs it day by day. And that story begins with God’s story and your story! A compelling story will answer the “Why?” questions and cause others to want to become a part of that story.

Have you written your story? You should be able to do this in one page. Have you communicated your story? You should be writing letters, articles, blogs, etc. every week. Have you engaged others with your story? You should have 10 face to face appointments every week sharing your story with someone new!

You are not ready to plant a church until you have written and begun articulating your story!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Know Your Local Calling

Every missional church is keenly attuned to their local situation. I believe that a missional church is engaged both locally and globally as agents of the Kingdom of God. Think about your local setting and ask yourself these questions:
  • What are the unique needs around you? In your neighborhood? In your city?
  • How do you see these needs revealed socially, economically, environmentally, relationally, politically, and religiously?
  • Where do you see the Kingdom of God most relfected? Least reflected?
  • What special opportunities or events are found immediately around you?
  • What prominent issues stand out in the eyes of the public and/or media?
  • What needs and opportunities do the industries specific to your area create?
  • What are the most significant changes in your community over the last decade, and what needs does this create?
  • What is the creation story of our particular community, and what insights can this give us?
  • Does the history of our community reveal any spiritual strongholds?
  • How would you describe "lostness" in your community?
  • What one positive change in your community would have the most dramatic effect in people's lives and/or the community as a whole?

1 Chronicles 12:32 tells us that the men of Issachar "understood the times and knew what Israel should do." Do you deeply understand your community at this time, and do you know what God is calling you to do?