by Dr. Tom Wood
"GOSPEL COACHING is the single most important ingredient in the health and sustainability of a ministry leader."
Obviously that is quite a bold statement. But having been leading ministry for over 30 years, and having only half of those years being involved in coaching, I can assure you of its reality. Coaching, with the gospel as the central organizing principle, is more important than training seminars (and I train), reading a book for a new skill (and I have written 5 books) or even “practicing to make perfect” (and I play golf that way).
Paul wrote to his protégé Titus that the gospel teaches us to live lives of ongoing repentance (to say “No” to our desires for what this world offers that are not honoring to God), to ongoing Faith (Jesus gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify us for himself—as his very own!), and to ongoing Following (to say “Yes” to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives; see Titus 2:11,12). Using those three steps of what I call the “Gospel Dance” is life critical for the leader. Gospel Coaching utilizes those realities in navigating ministry leadership.
Ongoing gospel-leading is not a decrease of your desires and an increase of your will power to do better for God, nor to be more faithful in ministry or more duty bound. It is not a matter of the will, but the heart. We are always controlled by our deepest desires. People do what they love to do. And in leading others, no matter what the job, the ministry can easily become the thing we are most passionate about — at the expense of our kids, our spouses, and even God. I know because I’ve been there and have a dozen T-shirts to prove it. When Jesus is the true passion of your heart, your deepest joy and satisfaction, then all our other desires are brought into order. A Gospel Coach will help you to discover the freedom of the gospel for leading.
“The true secret to all ministry is spiritual power. It is not man’s genius, or man’s intellect, or man’s energy; but simply the power of the Spirit of the God of the Gospel. It is well for all [leaders] to bear this ever in mind. It will sustain the heart and give constant freshness to their ministry. A ministry that flows from abiding dependence upon the Holy Spirit can never become barren.
“If a man is drawing on his own resources, he will soon run dry. It matters not what his powers may be, or how extensive his reading, or how vast his stores of information; if the Holy Spirit be not the spring and power of his ministry, it must, sooner or later, lose its freshness and its effectiveness. How important, then, that all who minister in the gospel should lean continually and exclusively on the power of the Holy Spirit. He knows what souls need, and He can supply it. But he must be trusted and used. It will not do to lean partly on self and partly on the Spirit” (C H Macintosh, Notes on the Book of Numbers, 1861).
Gospel Coaches also involve "Kingdom Prayer" in the coaching conversation. Why is prayer so important to a Gospel Coaching conversation? Prayer helps the Leader remember that God must work. We do not just add a prayer to conclude coaching. Sometimes prayer is necessary during the coaching conversation. It isn’t necessary that it wait until the end. Sometimes the leader should stop and confess his/her sin or praise God for granted grace and forgiveness. Sometimes the coach may stop and offer praise and thanksgiving for the great things God has done. At the end though, prayer allows coach and leader to realign the focus and dependence upon the gospel and His Spirit. Ample time should be reserved for praying together.
Sometimes in coaching we have to use “Interventive Prayer.” Interventive is how we pray when there’s a crisis or ongoing need. It’s how we pray when a child is sick or someone in the church is having a marital blow up. It’s our ongoing prayer list for the same things each week.
As Gospel Coaches, we need to invite the leader to also have “Preventative prayer” in there leadership life. This is the daily workout with God. It is the Gospel Dance in the soul. It is ongoing time of repenting of my negative emotions and false beliefs (If I had more people coming then everything would be better or If God would send us some leaders we could really have a greater impact). Preventative ongoing repentance helps strip away our false saviors and idols.
It also informs our faith system with “True Truth”. Jesus really has done it all. I pray thankfully that He has lived the life I cannot live. His death has paid for my guilt and shame. His life now before the Father is one of intercession and provision. I have His Spirit in me. I have a True Midnight Friend, a Father, who knows what I need and is eager to give good things to me, his son. Even his own Spirit! With that, my new affections are to believe him and follow him. That is prayer at its best.
Many ministry leaders and pastors feel confused or discouraged about what to do when they’re struggling. A Gospel Coach will help guide your church through a process of identifying and implementing practical, measurable, gospel-focused ministry practices that sharpen the God given mission and improve the health of the local church. Learn more today!
Have you ever thought, "My identity rests in the success of my church."? Or have you ever asked any of these hard life questions:
· Do people like me for who I am or for what I have?
· Will I find love in this life?
· How can I protect myself from pain or rejection?
· Why do I fail at everything I try to do?
· Am I beautiful?
· Do I have what it takes?
· How can I make my future secure?
· How can I be useful in life? Is this job all I have?
· How can I make my life make a real difference in the world?
· Is there a God and is He safe?
· Does God approve of me? Does he like me?
· How can I find peace?
I am certain you have asked or still ask one or more of those. These questions are examples of how we view our lives relationally, personally, missionally, and spiritually. Which bring us to the concept of Gospelling.
“Most people think of the Gospel as a noun. It is a thing. You hear about it. You receive it. You believe it. You share it. The Gospel is something you can hold on to, put in your pocket for another day, or give away... But in 1 Corinthians 15:1 Paul makes a very interesting statement. In our English translations it doesn’t seem so interesting. The NIV translation simply says, ‘I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you…’ Nothing interesting there, but the Greek is quite different. The literal Greek translation of this phrase is, ‘I want to remind you of the Gospel I Gospelled.’… ‘Gospel’, in this case, is both a noun and a verb. Not only is it a thing, but it is also something you do. Something you live. Something you embody. You Gospel” (Nate Pyle, Blog, 1/6/13).
Gospelling is the present participle of the word Gospel. It means that the Gospel is active now, presently in life, not simply something that occurred in the past. It is the process of how the Gospel ignites the relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life of the disciple actively and presently. We have been called to enjoy life with God and others. That is the ultimate end of life together.
When we learn about Gospelling Life Together, we learn to have friendship of trialoging about our profound life questions. We can take a journey of laughing and lamenting with other disciples. We learn to live with and for one another; to listen and learn one another’s life story, enjoying their company and friendship and progressing forward in the mission God has for each.
We learn that disciple-making relationships aren't about our own personal success, but how we should encourage one another back to the Gospel Story of Rescue and Renewal.
Briefly re-visit your disciple-journey. Where did it begin and when did you first sense you were on a new journey? Who discipled you and what did discipleship look like in your life? How has it helped you? What would you go back and do differently? Who will you invite to gospel life together?
By Jim Moon, Jr.
What does this picture represent?
To the casual observer, this picture appears to be a group of people in a church in the Caribbean holding up CMM Gospel Coach certificates. It is that indeed, but it represents much more.
Gospel Coaching crossing cultural barriers
In 2014, when CMM was asked by an indigenous denomination on a nearby island to develop gospel coaching for 8000 leaders, my initial thought was, 'That's crazy!' And it was! We had to be cross some profound levels of difference in culture.
Culture is like an iceberg. All the obvious differences, like language, food and customs, are above the water line. The hard work of crossing culture, adapting and accepting the difficult differences are below the surface.
The gospel enables such profound humility and profound power at the same time that the coaching skills were able to transfer and make a deep impact. As we engaged in learning from each other mutually, the power of God overcame suspicion and mistrust baked into this particular nation and house church planting movement.
Gospel Coaching multiplying
The folks in this picture represent second generation fruit that is exploding in multiplying growth after five years of investment. It took four years to deeply and completely train the first 12. Now in one year, those 12 will have completely trained more than 100! These 21 are just some who were trained completely by national leaders.
We started by dreaming big (8000) and going deep with a few first (12). As much as you or I may want Gospel Coaching to grow fast, CMM has found that it cannot grow sufficiently deep in a short amount of time.
Crossing your cultural differences
In the organization you lead, what cultural barriers exist? How might Gospel Coaching impact you and those that follow you on the mission God has entrusted to you? How much time will it take? Are you ready to get started?
Remember…you don’t have to face challenges in church ministry alone. A CMM Gospel Coach can help guide you and your church through a process of identifying and implementing practical, measurable, gospel-focused ministry practices that sharpen the God given mission and improve the health of the local church. Learn more today about church coaching!
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!