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The Coaching Pastor

Jesus once sent out 72 leaders to change the world!  Right before they left, he said, (I’m paraphrasing here) “Oh by the way, it’s going to be rough, as you will be like a sheep among wolves, and I want you to go with no money, no resources. While we’re at it, I want you to take this rugged journey barefoot.  Have fun with that!” (Luke 10). Feel familiar?  You know you are called, but you are under-resourced, you can’t afford to hire the kind of help you need, you can’t compete against the quality of even one app on everyone’s smartphone, and your biblical message is a joke in mainstream media – but hey, go change the world! 

Your challenge is real, but it is not new.  There is good news and even some great news.  The good news is that you are not alone.  The great news is that Jesus is not crazy.  What He was asking of the 72, and, yes, what He has asked you to do, sounds crazy.  I think though, what he was communicating then, and even today, doesn’t rely on conventional assumptions.  You can’t compete, so don’t even try.  Instead, rely on the Holy Spirit within you. 

Whether you’re in evangelism, discipleship, or leader development, the person in front of you is not craving a wow factor from you; they are craving what God has placed inside of you.  A spirit-led pastor is a coaching pastor, always imparting wisdom and asking questions that will cause the person listening to acknowledge their longing for more.

Here are a few things I do when I coach:

Find Your Person Of Peace: In Luke 10, the 72 were challenged to find “the person of peace”, the person God has already been preparing for you to coach.  Whether in evangelism or the potential leaders in your church, they are all around you, ready to be coached.  Ironically, they most likely are not the ones you would have naturally assumed.  In short, coach those that want to be coached. 

Listen, Listen, & Don’t Overthink: When in conversation, the greatest temptation is to race ahead in your mind, tuning them out, because you think you already know what they need to hear.  Slow down and listen to the person and then silently pray and listen, “God, what is it you want me to say?”

Challenge and Follow Through: A good spiritual conversation will cause the person to walk away feeling compelled to want to grow to another level.  For some, it is to find Christ; others, to grow in Christ; others still to grow in their spiritual leadership.  Always end a conversation with the same singular question: “What do you want me to ask you next time?”  Then you know what you do when you see them next time.  Always, always, always ask them what they asked you to ask them.  If the Holy Spirit prompted something within them, the person should know that you consider it so sacred, you don’t want it to go to waste.  If you take it seriously, they will learn to take it seriously.

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