This week I picked up a copy of Gospel Coach by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood because it was cheap for the Kindle and looked like a book I would find helpful/valuable. It didn’t take me very far into the book to know I was going to like it. I’ve always had a few problems with various explanations of discipling/mentoring/coaching/training because of the way they separated each of those roles. It just never resonated with me and the success I find in my discipleship ministry.
In the introduction they explain how authors Stanley and Clinton define these different kinds of mentoring relationships in their book The Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life. Apparently they explain that there are three types of mentoring-type relationships: the discipler, the spiritual guide, and the coach. The discipler “entails a relational process in which a more experienced follower of Christ shares with a new believer the commitment, understanding, and basic skills necessary to know and obey Jesus Christ.” The spiritual guide “is a godly, mature follower of Christ who shares knowledge, skills, and basic philosophy about what it means to increasingly realize Christlikeness in all areas of life. The primary contributions are accountability, decisions, insights concerning questions, commitments, and direction affecting spirituality.” The coach, however, “provides motivation and imparts skills, encouragement, and application to meet a task or challenge.”
What Thomas and Wood propose is is that leaders/pastors need a “Gospel coach” who will do all of those things. You can read more by getting a copy of the book yourself (it’s still discounted for Kindle as I’m writing this). I appreciate this because it’s more what I do when I’m discipling and people generally compliment my discipleship skills. It’s nice to finally find someone that’s telling me what I’m doing is a good method.
My husband and I recently had a conversation about spiritual gifts as we were talking about a teaching I had heard this past weekend at a conference put on by our church. John had an illustration that was really helpful. He said that our spiritual gifts often are acted out so naturally that we forget that it’s supernatural. He gave an example of his son who comes rushing over to him with a glass of water and spills it. How you naturally respond to his son probably indicates your heart. Do you encourage him to try again? Do you instruct him on how to do better and not spill the water? Do you hug him and empathize with him because he’s all wet? However you respond may be an indicator of your spiritual gifting.
As I was sharing this with my husband and the conversation shifted to two separate conversations we had with Andy. Willy realized that Andy teaches to influence because leadership is his gift. Willy teaches to teach because he has the heart of a teacher.
In my conversation with Andy he stated frankly, “If you’re looking for consensus, you’re not leading.” My natural internal response was, “I’m not sure I really desire to lead. I can do it, but I don’t know if that’s really my heart.” I then wondered what was my heart in leadership and in my job? As Willy shared his insight about why Andy teaches versus why he teaches, I realized my perspective: I teach because I desire to see wholistically mature disciples of Christ. When I teach my girls, I want them to be well-rounded emotionally and spiritually mature people. I want them to know how to walk by faith, rely on the spirit, do evangelism, disciple others, but I also want to counsel them to a point of emotional maturity so that they can be the best disciples and leaders they can be.
This is why I find a tool that a coworker developed called the False Hopes Testimony Worksheet so useful and powerful. This tool helps reveal a person’s false hopes/idols, it reveals the things they crave and vie for. As they wrestle with this it helps me to know what to target as I model to them how to preach the gospel to themselves, where they need to be surrendering to God, how I can coach them in living the Spirit-filled life. BUT, it also is a tool to help them in evangelism as they learn to share their testimony, and as they learn to decode other people’s cravings and longings so they can more effectively preach the gospel to others.
Anyways, this is all to say that I like the book Gospel Coach as far as I’ve read it (I feel affirmed!), and that I have a better insight into what makes me tick as a Christian and campus staff.
Today I received a “thinking of you” card from a friend and in it she sent a magnet that said “To have more, desire less.” I really appreciated it and stuck it on my fridge right away. This is a reminder I need regularly as an Apple fan and someone who is always thinking about being more efficient. The newest gadget or update is regularly on my mind. Keeping up with the Joneses is something that I find has been getting harder and harder to ignore. Contentment is a jewel of our time. Contentment could mean the difference between persevering in marriage and getting a divorce. It could mean the difference of switching jobs every few months and plugging along, dealing with frustrating coworkers. Contentment is key.
But before I had even put it on my fridge I thought of one place I don’t think I want contentment: my campuses. Hear me out. I am happy with this last month. It was a weird month where the students who were on strike were making up their last years’ semester. Next week is when the semester starts for everyone, including frosh (first year students). While I’m ‘happy’ with how things went, I want to always trust God for more. I want to always have faith to do bigger things. I want to always be able to step out of my comfort zone and remember that God is going to take me the rest of the way. I want to wisely push towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation. I want my staff and students to have audacious faith, to trust God for exceedingly big things and to expect him to act. I want the maximum glorification of God in my life and ministry.
I want a holy discontentment where I may be OK with what happened but I trust God can do more. I want to be able to properly evaluate situations, yet plead in faith for more changed lives, more people’s lives turned upside down with the gospel.
On the other hand, I don’t want to be comparing our ministry and movements with other campuses in different contexts. I don’t want to be frustrated that things are maybe moving slower than I would like sometimes. I don’t want this kind of discontentment. I want a discontentment for the quotidienne and for the mundane. I want to be walking by faith daily, weekly, monthly, and I want the same for my staff and students. I want them to always be in a position where they need to trust God because life is making them itch ever so slightly with faith-building situations.
Jesus says in John 14:12, ”
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father” (emphasis mine).
Greater works! Not for my glory, but His. Not for my name, but His. So that many more people will enter a relationship with Christ and experience the Joy of living in his will.
There are a few ways that I consistently use Evernote. I’ve had it on my very first iPhone and have been using it ever since. I’ve come to accept that there are certain things that I just like better on paper, but there are other things that I will never use paper for.
Track your reimbursements that require no receipt.
Anything under $25 doesn’t require a receipt in Power to Change, so I have a new Evernote for every new reimbursement time period. I write down what was purchased, how much, where it was purchased and for what purpose. This is helpful because I don’t have useless receipts collecting all over the place, and when I open up my computer to do my reimbursements the info is already there in my Evernote. Once I’ve submitted those reimbursements, I’ll mark in the subject (DONE) and move it into my Reimbursement folder. I keep it handy in case I need to go back and review a cost for any reason.
Track your to-dos or GTD system
As a new staff one of the biggest challenges I had coming out of University was managing my schedule. Over the (few) years I’ve toyed with various productivity methods. I recently read a really helpful article (Master Life’s Juggling Act: Maximize Daily Productivity with Evernote, GTD and a Daily Portfolio) on how to use the GTD system in Evernote. I’m still figuring out how/if GTD is the best for me, but there are some things that are really helpful. I’ve followed a lot of the tips, especially the Daily Portfolio idea and have found it to be helpful. It’s nice, again, because it’s cross-platform (and free). Even if you don’t use GTD method, the Daily Portfolio might be helpful. For me, it’s useful because I think of all areas of my life including meal planning and excercise. One thing I’m far better at than the other.
Yesterday I took some time to set up GTD contexts and projects using tags (@call, @meeting, @office etc) and notes. My biggest problem with getting a GTD method going was failure to implement a regular review of my projects etc. I think with the addition of the Daily Portfolio, this might really work for me.
Track your discipleship plans/meetings with Evernote
This is one area where I just much rather use paper, yet I don’t really want to have the papers lying around all the time and for forevermore. In a city that has so much staff transition (especially on the women’s side) I’m coming to see how important it is for us to be recording what we’re doing with the girls we’re working with. One girl I worked with had had 4 different staff disciplers during her four years on campus because there was so much staff transition. How do you know she’s not getting taught the same thing over and over?
A few years ago a coworker tried standardizing our discipleship tracking in the region and I found the worksheet she gave to be helpful. Last year i had a 1/2 sheet paper copy with me at all appointments so I could record everything in a neat system.
Here’s an example of a fake student here in Montreal. Click here for the Evernote template link. This year, I think I’m going to keep doing it on paper mostly because a student can understand you taking notes while meeting them. Plus for this instance I just like paper better. BUT, I will be taking a picture of the paper and putting it into Evernote so that there’s a digital copy in the event I get accidenta-pregnant or something and have to hand over discipleship to someone else.
There are other ways I use Evernote to help me manage my life, but they’re more home-related than work.
How about you? How do you use Evernote?
I’ve written about being in over your head before and how that’s an excellent place to be. I was reminded of this again this past week as I stumbled upon two things. One was a post by Michael Hyatt called “Why frequent trips outside of your comfort zone are so important.” The other was a non-published post I found in my Evernote that was probably meant for my journal but I must have forgotten it somewhere. In this little journal entry I wrote about being nervous and stressed for the following semester. As I was trying to place myself back in December 2010, I realized I couldn’t even remember what I thought was the stressful and intimidating thing of that winter semester.
How often do we worry or let ourselves feel overly intimidated by a big task or a change in position? How often do we act in fear instead of jumping in to the thing that is way out of our comfort zone?
It’s funny for me to think back to that time and realize I honestly have no recollection of that semester and what I might have been worried about. Sure, I did end up planning a wedding and go into leading my first project ever in a language I was barely functional in, but when I consider all the other things I’ve done since and how that whole experience grew me to be in the place I’m in now… it’s barely a blip on my radar.
Next week we have our Quebec huddle and it’s the first thing I’ll be doing as the Francophone Team Lead in our city. Intimidating, yet exhilarating. This is probably why I don’t run… my job is thrilling enough, I already have endorphins running through my body as I’m contemplating the fact that I can’t believe I’m in this place right now doing what I’m doing.
All this to say: get out of your comfort zone. If you’re a leader, lead your people out of their comfort zone. Stretch them.
I started reading Leaders Who Last the other day after getting it for 40% off at the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference last weekend. The author talked about doing a poll of an audience that was full of pastors. He found out that most of those pastors only spent time with God when they were doing sermon prep. They didn’t really have a personal devotional life.
I can really relate to this. When you spend so much time talking with people about the gospel it can get pretty easy to forget that the gospel is for your own heart, too. A few weeks ago I started doing #SheReadsTruth with a bunch of women from all over North America. I started this because it was a visual accountability for me to be doing my personal devotions. It meant that everyone who was following me on instagram would know whether or not I had spent time in the Word that day. Surely, this is something that could become a way to “show off” but I recognized I was in rough waters with how infrequent my quiet times had become. I needed something a bit drastic.
Since coming to IBS, I’ve noticed the same thing again. I’m spending time in the Word every day, now, but it’s a different kind of learning. It’s information and intellectual, but it isn’t always personal. I need to remember that talking and studying these things are not equal to personal time in prayer and time in the word intended to shape my heart and worship God.
Note to self.
Here are a few articles I’ve read recently that have been helpful.
“I should have been killed at that time. I still believe that. But I am thankful that the RCMP didn’t.” – Vince Li.
After reading this quote in this article I couldn’t help but feeling like Mr. Li understands the gospel in a way that I (hopefully?) never will. He understands that before both God and man he owes his life. He also understands he has an illness that, left untreated, could lead him to become fearful and paranoid enough to murder again.
How many of us have actually come to the same realization? We have a grave illness called sin, we also have the “medication” in Jesus. If we stay connected to the Vine as Jesus speaks about in John 15 we can be sure we will stay near enough to the Lord to be able to discipher His voice from Society and from the Enemy of our souls.
I have never heard delusional voices, but I have believed lies that originate in questions and doubts in my own mind. When we are separated from scripture and prayer for long enough, we have an increasingly difficult time understanding what is the voice of God and Truth. Later in the article Mr Li notes that “God wouldn’t tell me to do something bad.” He understands that God would not command him to do anything that contradicts scripture.
Reading this article and reflecting on these truths was a disturbing, sobering, yet incredibly meaningful devotional for me today. I hope I am able to continue to remember that small choices every day can compound into an extremely distructful end if we are not careful.
I cannot imagine the pain and regret Mr. Li feels, now being lucid enough to understand. I trust God will glorify himself in this situation and we will see redemption in this story.
As you’re back to work and school after Easter it’s easy to forget what we just participated in: remembering a three-day period that changed our lives radically. I am clearly behind in my YouVersion reading plan, but I’ve decided to keep going on this Easter-prep plan. I’m glad I did because this one was basic, but excellent.
“Put yourself in the place of the first followers of Christ who were there at His death. Your heart would be broken. Your mind would be racing. This isn’t anything at all like what was supposed to happen to the King of the Jews. He was supposed to set everything right. Mend what was broken. Restore what was lost. But now, it would seem, all is lost. Everything is broken. Nothing is right. Spend some time today trying to live in that space between the cross and the empty tomb. After hope has left. Before grace has come. Use that feeling to fuel your prayer for someone you know that lives there every day. Ask God to show you how to reach out to them and invite them into your Easter observances this weekend.”
From the The Story of Easter Reading Plan at YouVersion.com