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Churches need Coaches

I carry a metaphor in my head that an apostle any christian worker who builds up a new church is a lot like the coach of a sports team. Don't misunderstand. Church Life and Sports is the weak part of the metaphor. Coaching and developing gifted persons to move together as a collection of individuals - that's the key point.

Yesterday, College Football Coach Brian Kelly just got announced as the new boss of Touchdown Jesus, Inc. He's also the NCAA FBS Coach of the year. At his Notre Dame introduction, he said this:
"It’s not just about getting bigger, stronger, faster," he said. "It’s getting your players to trust, to be accountable on a daily basis, it’s about developing them as young men. … To get people to do things that they would not normally do on their own."
Amen. Good Coach. I'd say he provides a strong contrast to most preachers. Here's what I mean.

How many church leaders develop the talent, and how many just focus on doing their job but complain because others don't do much themselves? Right. Biblically speaking, the worker's main duty is to get the whole church to do their 'jobs' as well. So I say, if some pew sitters like to think that their monthly tithing checks give them the right to be served all year long - then, christian workers, just stop cashing those particular checks! Keep taking money from everyone else, if they keep giving it. But don't accept money from those who expect their gifts to prevent you from doing your job. Please, remember. You don't work for them. And they don't give to you. Right? (Right?)

You've got the idea. Now let's make this practical. HOW does one Coach? The same way one parents. Exhaustively. Tirelessly. Constantly. Incrementally.

A Kindergarten teacher once told me the average child requires 1,000 hours of exposure to print materials before they can read their first word. Father Flanagan learned at Boys Town that teens raised in poverty had never been taught how to make eye contact, introduce themselves, or follow simple instructions. It doesn't get much more basic than that. Good parents, well-off ones at least, consistently demand and tirelessly reinforce the behaviors they know are in their children's best interests. Poor parents, without resources or know-how, muddle through and the kids simply learn what they learn, which ain't much.

We all need to be taught, if we're going to learn. We all need to be trained, to develop and master new skills. In a church, that's as true as in any place else. The little things need to be coached. So church leaders, if your people have done little more than attend and listen for most of their lives, you might need to get started with multiple repetitions of very simple tasks. Then expand as you can. If you're gentle, positive, slow and deliberate, they might not resist overly much. If they do, they're certainly free not to come. They might not like what you're doing, but you'll try to explain that it's for their own good. It is certainly NOT to their benefit to be served and to avoid exercise! So don't let that continue!

If they act like children about it, punish them. How? Refuse to keep taking their money. (That'll show 'em!) But whatever happens, keep straight. Do your job. Coach. Develop the talent.

The Hope of all the Earth is Christ working through His Whole Body. Not just one mouth and a whole bunch of ears. So keep preaching. But Coach. And Pray. Above all else, pray. But start doing what few ever try. For the sake of God's Hope, for the sake of Christ's Glory, for the sake of Him gaining a functional corporate expression of Himself on Earth... Preachers... (or anyone else)... PLEASE...

Coach the Body of Christ!

5 comments:

Brian said...

Hmm, while I completely agree with you Bill, what churches "really" need are shepherds, or rather, undershephers to the Chief Shepherd... perhaps coaching is an aspect of that?

so many pastors are trying to be leaders, communicators, coaches, etc, when few seem to know how to be shepherds.

What am I missing?

ps, I think you need to seriously consider coming on over to the blessed realm of Wordpress - I know lots of bibliobloggers who'd love to interact with you more but that blogger's commenting system deters them...

Bill said...

I don't get the WP thing. Does Blogger not keep WP folks "signed in" as long as WP remembers us Bloggers?

On shepherding, Brian, I'm taking that to mean oversight. I don't know if you recall my post "Leadership and Oversight". I would contend Coaching is yet a third category of need.

You know I wish christendom didn't put so many hats on one official, Brian. As I see it, every believer in a community needs to be trained into greater initiative-taking (and how to make that profitable and effective). The task of watching over the flock will always be taken up by the more mature of the brethren, whether or not they're appointed to do so.

Most congregations seem to expect Leader and Shepherd to be the same person. In Ephesians 4, the gifted folks train everyone in how to make their contributions. Shepherds, imho, mostly watch. If they're lucky.

Does any of that help?

Bill said...

Ammend that. I've confused even myself. In that post I lined to, I described coaching as one aspect of oversight. Ah, well. Something like that! ;-)

I guess I would say there's more need for coaching in the developmental stages, and more need for oversight once a group gets 'on its feet'.

A. Amos Love said...

Bil

“So I say, if some pew sitters like to think that their monthly tithing checks give them the right to be served all year long - then, christian workers, just stop cashing those particular checks!”

“If they act like children about it, punish them. How? Refuse to keep taking their money. (That'll show 'em!)“

LOL, chuckle, chuckle, smirk, smirk, Nice try, ;-)

Boy, I wish I would have thought of that.

HeHeHe!!! But I’ll probable steal it
and give God all the glory.

“The Hope of all the Earth is Christ
working through His Whole Body.”

Amen, and amen,

Much like your use of “any christian worker.”

Isn’t that what we are all called to be? Just workers?

IMHO - We need to do away with “Church leaders.”
And let Jesus lead His church.

Jesus and servants of Christ. Hmmm?

Leaders. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!

brianfulthorp said...

"I don't get the WP thing. Does Blogger not keep WP folks "signed in" as long as WP remembers us Bloggers?"

nope. and it can be too laborious to do all the passwords and such. WP reigns supreme in the commenting aspects. And if you were on WP, other WP guys could track their comments easier and not forget a comment thread or have to go searching for it like I did with this one. ;)

But as to your response, I completely agree, the one pastor model is often weary and tiresome to that one pastor - you are completely on it when you mention the need for initiative training - it's probably the single biggest issue the bugs me here at the Grand Canyon Village, very few people take initiative about anything than themselves.

And on the more mature folk helping watch over the congregation, I guess it depends on the relationship they have with the pastor - some pastors are too weak in their own pastoral idenity to be comfortable with letting others help lead. Does that make sense?

So many complex issues anymore.

"I guess I would say there's more need for coaching in the developmental stages, and more need for oversight once a group gets 'on its feet'."

This is true as well - I like how you state that.

well, anyways.