Category Archives: Leadership

Gospel Coach: book review (sort of)

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.

Going deeper

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.

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To have more, desire less?


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.

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Note to Self: Study vs Personal Study

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.