One of my biggest ambitions in life from my mid-twenties through my forties was to fill a leadership role in a church.
I perceived my calling in life at that time to be that of a pastor/teacher and the only model I knew for fulfilling that was in a traditional church role. My concept of ministry and calling were fairly narrow back then.
I did work in four different church settings, some roles were paid. The larger part of those years, however, were spent in construction working as a carpenter and eventually in a management role for a large residential development company.
My experiences in the church roles were mixed.
Sometimes I experienced fulfillment and moments where I felt totally within my zone (fulfilling the destiny on my life). But more often, I experienced a sense of disconnect from a deeper purpose or something more in line with my deeper passions and strengths. It was difficult to put into words at the time but something was missing. Because I had such a narrow paradigm for what I thought to be my calling, I began to question my calling.
In my last position as a senior associate pastor, a large part of my internal discontent was a restless feeling that we (the staff) were pouring the majority of our time and energy into efforts (i.e. planning and executing meetings and programs) which were producing relatively low returns in developing and equipping the very people we were responsible for. We were busy for sure, but not building greater connection with the lives of those we had a responsibility to spiritually develop.
I counseled others, often feeling frustrated.
I felt pressure to come up with the right advice, or word of wisdom, or a revelatory key that would bring the breakthrough and fix the problem. People came to me for answers, at least that is how I felt, and as a pastor, I needed to have answers. I felt I should be, after all, the “expert” in doing life. That was an expectation many I led assumed and one I often took on for myself. It was a burden. I didn’t like it.
Then I began to look at Jesus’ model with his twelve disciples.
Had the traditional church model for equipping the saints radically veered from Jesus’ model? The more I reflected on this the more I became convinced our traditional approach to growing Jesus followers needed a radical realignment with Jesus’ model.
His model was relationship based, love driven and life experience focused. He was intentional about developing apprentices who would eventually be like him and do everything he did. His role in these first disciples’ lives was up-close and personal. He called them to walk close beside him and experience life with him. In this context of relationship he modeled and dialogued about the God-kind of life he came to bring. He asked questions – questions that drew out insights and revelation in his followers waiting and needing to be self-discovered. He believed in them. When Jesus called them to be his disciples he was saying, I believe in you. I believe you can be like me and do what I do. Come follow me and everything you need to be like me will be provided in your relationship with me.
When I was first exposed to coaching I became almost immediately enamored by the model.
The coaching model uses skills of intuitive listening and asking good questions. It helps others access and pull on their own God-given capacities and life experiences to discover for themselves the answers they need for their own life. They are the experts on their own life. I saw how empowering it was for those being coached.
Life coaching helps others move toward their potential and purpose in life.
Christ-centered coaching also looks at purpose found in Christ and in partnership with him in service to others. As we discover and build on our strengths and natural gifting which we have received from God, we move into a whole other realm of impact for the glory of God. A good coach helps us discover our life focus built on our strengths while helping us gain the confidence to step more fully into our calling in Christ.
So, I took the leap and became a life coach. Here is a short list of reasons I did:
- Coaching embodies well the ways of Jesus in developing people.
- Coaching is relationship based and centered on the person being coached, not on the coach as some kind of super star answer man.
- Coaching is built on core values of believing in and empowering people – two foundational keys to personal development and transformation.
- Coaching is an up-close, life-on-life interaction with another individual that provides a great environment for the kind of equipping and spiritual growth Paul talks about in Ephesians 4:11-16.
In fact my calling of pastor/teacher is now being realized through my role of life coach and trainer. I get the privilege of having a front row seat witnessing God at work in the lives of a diverse group of amazing individuals.
Coaching skills are not just for professional coaches.
Anyone can benefit from acquiring these skills. After all, if they enhance our ability to express and bring the heart of God to others more effectively, who couldn’t benefit from them?
If you are interested in personal coaching, getting trained in coaching skills, or both, contact David.