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I’ve been reading a book that is revolutionizing the way I think about ministry. The book is Coaching 101: Discover the Power of Coaching by Robert E. Logan and Sherilyn Carlton (St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 2003). The basis of this book is success—as they define it: To be successful, “find out what God wants you to do, and do it” (page 23). This is such a simple concept, and yet it is very profound and all-encompassing. (Note: many of the ideas I express in this article come from Logan and Carlton. However, I haven’t taken the time to clearly delineate their ideas from mine or to always provide specific citations.)
Coaching is how one can help someone to find out what God wants them to do, and then do it. At the core of coaching is asking questions. People learn better, retain better and follow through better if they come up with an idea themselves. The goal of coaching is, therefore, not to give advice, but to ask questions that guide people to discovering the answers for themselves. And this book shows how to do that.
This book is exactly what I’ve been needing in my ministry. I’ve got people in my churches who are willing to get involved in ministry, but they need direction. I’ve been struggling trying to figure out the specifics of getting people involved (including finding out their spiritual gifts) and training them. Coaching takes a load off of my shoulders, because I can concentrate instead on helping people listen for God’s call and put His assignment for them into practice.
The challenge in implementing coaching for me is that it will require a whole now paradigm for thinking. I’m used to thinking up solutions and giving advice. Instead, I need to ask questions and, in most cases, not offer advice. Also, the ideas behind coaching somehow need to impact my preaching, so I can lead people to their own conclusions, instead of telling them. But I don’t yet have a clue how to do that. For now, I’ll just try to learn to coach on a one-on-one basis. So, I need people to coach. Any volunteers?