International coaching expert and motivational Christian speaker, Dr Bill Price writes on the importance of coaching and mentoring in the Church of the future.
Research undertaken by Willow Creek USA poses the question: Is there a role for coaching and mentoring in the Church and how will could it be impactful in future? I’d like to add the question: Are our local church leaders ready to be coached and to extend this growth tool to members?
In this post I aim to prod thinking and jolt readers out of their usual way of reacting. Everything in the world is constantly changing, morphing and evolving. This is happening in business, relationships and even in the Church. Life itself. Everything.
We have all seen different stages and phases evolve in our day. In the Church we had the Reformation, then Pentecostalism, then the Charismatic Movement, followed by the Faith Movement, then the Kingdom Movement… what’s next?
An interesting mosaic is unfolding before us. Church leaders often tell me that they are poorly equipped to handle 21st Century realities, that they don’t have the leadership skills, inter-personal relationship skills or the big picture thinking required.
All is not doom and gloom however, for trends indicate that leaders and influencers (whether in companies, communities, countries or local churches) tend to recognise the following criteria as essential to being competent as 21st Century leaders:
Essential attributes of today’s leaders
- They have an understanding that the future will not look like and be like the past;
- An ability to think big picture, then process and strategise ahead of the pack;
- The confidence to orchestrate and facilitate, rather than manage and control;
- An open mind as to how the ideas and dreams of others can be facilitated into the overall leadership or organisational vision:
- The courage to use risk and adventure as a synonymous experience for all;
- The wisdom to reduce bureaucracy and the “Boss-Manager” scenario (especially in a church context);
- The heart to understand personal growth and adult learning principles; to honour self-governance rather than control everyone; into a system of “this is the way we do things around here”.
Also read: 10 qualities of a great leader that will help extend God’s Kingdom
The power of coaching and mentoring in Today’s Church
If we are to embrace the power of coaching and mentoring in the Church, then we need to understand how important the above criteria are to serving effectively and make the necessary shifts in thinking and approach. We also need to understand exactly what coaching is and what mentoring is as part of the discipling process.
Coaching is a rapidly growing professional field all over the world. Essentially, it is a relationship-based process between a client and a coach with a focus on desired outcomes, specific performance, personal development and growth, as well as orchestrating thinking from different perspectives.
It is a process whereby the coach helps the facilitation of creative thinking so that the person they are coaching can make accurate decisions and determine appropriate action steps that will move them forward towards achieving their goals in shorter periods of time.
If a coach is someone we can learn WITH, what happens during mentoring? A mentor is someone we can learn FROM. At least that is the theory. In practice a mentor will be the assigned ‘teacher’ of an individual. There is enormous variation of expectation in the function and behaviour of people bearing the title of mentor. However, mentoring is the process whereby one senior individual is available to a junior.
Imagine the power and impact the local Church can have if each member is aware of the benefits of coaching and mentoring within a spiritual context. Imagine if we were to transfer these principles back into the world of work and our external spheres of influence… in this way the local church will practically impact and affect daily life and achieve greater reach for the Kingdom of God.
If you would like to get in touch with Dr Price to discuss your church coaching or mentoring requirements or would like him to speak to your church leaders, please email firstname.lastname@example.org