You may have noticed that many ministry approaches from the past are not producing the same results they used to. Though the gospel is still the same, our world, and its ability to hear the gospel, is changing. But how does a leader stay current? How do we keep up with an ever-changing world?
In Acts 18:24-26, Luke reported: “Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord … When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (NKJV).
Notice that this eloquent and educated man who was “mighty in the Scriptures” and “fervent in spirit” needed more education and training. Like Apollos, we all need Aquilas and Priscillas to take us aside and help us see things we can’t see on our own.
In Apollos’ case, he needed further theological training. In other cases, leaders need practical ministry training. As effective as we may have been in the past, without continued learning our methods and practices will moor our ministry boat to a historical dock as the world’s ship slowly sails away.
Though there are myriad learning channels, one of my favorites is coaching. Coaching can provide, or introduce, much of the same relevant information as other forms of education, but it adds the benefit of customized application.
Unfortunately, most experienced ministers don’t think they need a coach. They either feel that coaching is for failures or that their past successes have thrust them to heights beyond the need for a coach. With that logic, no professional would ever need a coach. But what many people don’t realize is that a “coached” person will often perform much better than someone more naturally gifted but who doesn’t have a coach.
Think of the famous retired baseball pitcher Nolan Ryan. From the time he was a kid, he always had a coach, even as an all-star in the major leagues. But why would someone who is considered the best in the world need a coach? And why would he allow someone who could not pitch as well as he could to coach him?
Here are two reasons: First, the way that he became the best was through coaching. No matter how naturally gifted a person is, coaching will help refine that gifting and make it more effective.
Second, there are many experienced and wise coaches, who though they cannot “pitch” as well as their students have a great eye for seeing and communicating needed adjustments to make their students more effective. Sometimes one small adjustment, such as dropping your elbow or repositioning your feet, can be the difference between a minor league pitcher and an all-star.
Here are three practical steps to start receiving personal coaching:
Find the Right Coach
- List what you’re looking for.
- Ask leaders you trust for recommendations.
- Interview potential coaches.
Coach Your Coach to Coach You
- Give your coach a list of your desired results.
- Tell your coach what challenges you’re facing.
- Tell your coach what solutions you’re considering.
Work With Your Coach to Find Your Rhythm
- Decide how and where you’ll meet.
- Decide how often you’ll be in contact.
- Decide what should happen in between meetings.
Just think, you may be just two or three small adjustments away from being far more effective than you’ve ever been. As Proverbs 1:5 says: “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”