I have been thinking quite a bit about coaching lately and that’s probably because, as a movement, we’ve recently deployed 6 Regional Coaches across the country.
Our hope is that these coaches will help pastors, boards and leaders in each local church build and maintain robust health, as each church accepts responsibility for its community. We are going to need healthy churches to fulfill this Kingdom call. Healthy churches with well thought through plans and ideas. Healthy churches who are engaged in good conversations with each other and especially their community. Healthy churches who are learning to discern together where God is leading and relentlessly responding in obedience to what they hear together. Healthy churches who are supported, resourced, cheered for, prayed for and encouraged. We think coaches can help with that.
These coaches will be responsible for connecting with pastors, boards and leaders on a regular basis. They will have tools to help solve issues. They will facilitate good conversation and good planning and will hold accountable when asked. They will pray always. Our hope is that they will be the type of people who listen well and who are safe so that pastors and leaders with new ideas are free to bounce them off the coach in order to get feedback before they “go public”.
It’s a big job, but we have a good team of coaches. Rev. Vern Frudd (BC, AB and NW ON), Rev. Seth Freeman (SK and MB), Rev. Mary Lee DeWitt (Western ON and Northern ON), Rev. Steve Cylka (Central ON), Rev. Roxanne Goodyear (Eastern ON) and Rev. Philippe Reichenbach (QC).
But here is what I have been thinking about coaches. Every team has one. The good teams and the bad teams. The Cleveland Browns did not win a game this past season – they had a coach. They need a coach (maybe they need a better coach). The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. They had a coach and still need a coach. Now, those coaches will play very different roles on those teams. But both are needed.
To take it further…Wayne Gretzkey had coaches. So did Michael Jordan. And they are considered the best of all time. Gold medallists need coaches just as much as folks who haven’t qualified for the Olympics yet. Some argue that once you know the basics (once you get better) you don’t need a coach. But the best still use coaches to help them think strategically, to motivate them, to help them make adjustments, to help them see their blind spots and to encourage them.
We have all kinds of churches across this country. And some of those churches are well aware of their need for some help. Good for you. Please connect with your coach. But I fear that there may be some who are thinking, “We are fine. We aren’t in trouble. We don’t need a coach.” I would respectfully disagree. Even if you are the Gretzky of churches, a coach can still be a helpful resource. So please check in with them. Let them know what you are doing. Let them pray for you. Pick their brain. You won’t be sorry.
Of course coaches aren’t the be all and end all, but we believe they will be useful in helping our movement continue to move towards being the churches God has called and commissioned us to be. That’s what we all want.
Leadership Development Director, the Free Methodist Church in Canada.