Coaching for Multiplication
More than 50 people joined the “multiplication conversation” at our most recent MULTIPLY Conference. Twenty-five IBC churches were represented at the conference held just outside of Athens, Greece, on 28 March following the Ministry Leadership Conference. The purpose of the conference is to invite every IBC church into the conversation about multiplying English-language international churches around the world. The conference is a venue for discussing the many facets of international church planting, generating ideas, and discovering opportunities to inform and motivate our church multiplication efforts.
The subject of conversation for this conference was “coaching for multiplication.”
According to Steve Addison, “Coaching is the relational process of cooperating with the Holy Spirit that unlocks a person’s God-given potential so that they become more like Christ and make their unique contribution to the kingdom.” Coaching is a critical system for church multiplication as well as a valuable resource with applicability across our churches and ministries.
Coaching a church planter (or anyone for that matter) is all about being an equipper (Ephesians 4:12-13), not a solutions-giver. Coaches want to equip planters to hear from the Holy Spirit, think through options, and move forward in obedience. Coaching facilitates this process in a practical way. Coaching helps planters discern vision, determine next steps, and find solutions. As they do, they are better equipped for future ministry success. Coaching skills are essential to multiply disciples, leaders, churches, and ministry impact.
Here are just a few of the many benefits of coaching church planters (adapted from the article “The Five Benefits of Coaching in Ministry: How to Become an Excellent Coach” by Keith E. Webb, author and leader in Christian coaching):
Benefit #1: Coaching Focuses on Learning instead of Teaching.
Coaching is a form of adult learning. Adults typically learn better through dialogue and self-discovery than by someone teaching them. Consider the words of Winston Churchill when he said, “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.” Coaching focuses on other people’s learning rather than us teaching them.
Benefit #2: Coaching Draws Out What the Holy Spirit Put In.
Coaching is effective because it brings out a person’s best – what God has put in them. Coaching is based on the theological understanding that every believer already has an advisor – the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained the Holy Spirit’s role in a believer’s life in John 14:26: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Benefit #3: Coaching Uses Questions instead of Advice.
Questions promote dialogue. Good questions cause people to dig deep in their souls to find answers. Advice is kept to a minimum so that the other person can discover Holy Spirit-inspired ideas, solutions, or next steps. Advice giving can short-circuit that “discovery” process. Proverbs 20:5 says, “Though good advice lies deep within a person’s heart, the wise will draw it out.”
Benefit #4: Coaching Maximizes People’s Potential.
God has uniquely created each person to become someone special and to do something special. This is “calling.” Calling is not just for church planters. Every believer has calling in at least three areas of his or her life: calling to character or personal holiness (Eph. 1:4), calling to relationship with God (Eph. 1:5), and calling to ministry – a unique contribution to God’s Kingdom (Eph. 2:10). Coaching provides a supportive environment to help a person discover what God has for him or her.
Benefit #5: Coaching Doesn’t Take a Lot of Time and Works Great over the Long Distance.
Ministry is always done in the context of relationships. Most people love to get together with other people and talk. Coaching helps us become more focused and effective, while still being relational. Most coaches meet with people more often as a result (Hebrews 10:24-25) of their coaching relationships. Coaching is very effective over the phone or Skype which makes it very practical when coaching internationally.
Coaching is an especially effective cross-cultural tool. A coach remains a learner, asking powerful questions and listening actively. Coaching minimizes culturally inappropriate solutions by allowing people to develop their own solutions, in their own cultural ways. When you ask questions, people naturally answer out of their cultural context.
By the end of the MULTIPLY conference, participants walked away excited about the potential of coaching relationships in their respective contexts and ministries. We each learned a bit about the why and how of coaching well. We all had an opportunity to receive and provide a little coaching. We left the conference ready to begin our journey of becoming coaches who will help people develop their God-given potential so that they grow personally and make a valuable contribution to the Kingdom of God.
Darryl Evetts, Director of Church Multiplication