He was simply known as “coach.” It was not important what sport he coached, or even if the closest you came to being an athlete was owning a pair sneakers, everyone called him “coach.”
A coach is one who helps you to move in a specific direction. A mentor teaches you how to do, whatever it is you want to do, like they do. One replicates the other launches. A coach in life and ministry can help launch you to the next level of obedience the Lord has for you.
Coaching is not new. Coaching relationships are spread throughout the Bible. Examples of coaching include Moses to Joshua and Caleb, Elijah with Elisha, Barnabas to Paul, and then Paul to Timothy and Titus. Jesus when sending out the seventy to ministry coached them on what to do, where to go, how to go about the ministry, and then let them go.
There are some specific benefits to having a coach.
- A coach helps to clarify where you are. I had the fortune of playing golf my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Our coach would record our swings and then play the video back for us to analyzing the details of the swing and how to improve it. Our coach used this simple technique to helped to clarify where we were in order to map out a strategy of how to become better. To be an instrument for God’s use you need to know where you. Paul tells Titus, “for this reason I left you Crete.” This was a reminder of where Titus was to create a greater sense of clarity of what he was to do for God’s glory. Having a good coach in your life will help you to see where you are so that you can position yourself to be of great use for God. If we do not know where you are—spiritually, personality, leadership style, etc.—you cannot move to the next step of defining the calling God has placed on your life. A coach can bring clarity.
- A coach can help cement your calling. How often have you heard, or even said, “God is calling me to do something, but I do not know what it is.” The anxiety behind this statement is huge. At this stage the weight of a calling from God feels more oppressive than liberating. If this statement is not addressed a calling to ministry in the church or even vocationally may be walked away from. You need someone who can ask you some penetrating questions to help pray through and think through what it is that God is doing. Over the course of a lifelong ministry, roles to fulfill that calling may change. But if the foundation is not laid well then it will be too easy to walk away from when ministry gets difficult. A calling to the Lord and then to ministry must be cemented. A coach helps cement your calling.
- A coach can help you articulate an action plan. A grand idea is only as good as the plan in place to reach it. No matter the calling, no matter the goal some type of plan, some strategy must be put in place to move forward. A retired military officer in my church reminds me of planning that, “A plan is only good until the first shot is fired.” Plans will change. Circumstances will be different than expected. Resources may not be as abundant as anticipated. Yet you need to have some sort of strategy. A good coach will pray with you, for you and help you think through what the initial strategy is and how it must be adapted. You need a good coach in your life to help cement and articulate what it is that God wants to do in your life so that He can work through your life.
You may be thinking of someone to be your coach. Call them, have lunch with them. Share with them your story. Ask them to ask you some hard questions. You need a coach in every stage of your life and ministry.
My next blog post will discuss some ways to find a good coach.