I recently returned from an annual retreat with the staff of the Slingshot Group out in Orange County. What a joy to be among such a remarkable and devoted group of servants in God’s kingdom! Our purpose is to help churches by building a strong staff. We do this through finding great people, and also through coaching those on the team – to give them an advantage. Stan Endicott is our quarterback for coaching, and he reminded us that in most of the world, coaching is absolutely normal. Athletes have coaches. Musicians and dancers have coaches. Executives in the corporate world have coaches. But in the world of the church…coaching is still not fully understood and embraced.
So here’s what I’m thinking. Coaching should be a line item in the budget of every church, no matter what its size. Why? Because we all need to get better. We all want to flourish in ministry and in life, to go the distance and build a sustainable rhythm. We all want to be more self aware so we don’t function with dangerous blind spots that end up being destructive to others in the church. We all want to lead up more effectively, hire the right people around us, and create a healthy culture where people love showing up every day to give God their best. Coaches help us see what we may not be able to accurately see. Coaches ask great questions, and help us discern our next steps. Coaches guide us to develop leadership skills. Coaches provide a safe place so we know we are not alone. Coaches help us get better.
Does your budget have a line item for Coaching? Many churches create a budget category for Conferences. This is great. I was and still am a part of conference experiences that cast vision and inspire us. But that is not the same as coaching. Coaching enables us to take that vision and actually apply it in our real, everyday life. Sometimes we get all pumped up and inspired only to go back to our church stuck in our same patterns and feeling discouraged and alone.
I urge senior level leaders at churches to take another look at next year’s budget. There is no greater investment you could make than to build into your staff. I long to see coaching become a normal, expected, and highly effective tool for every church so that we can be brighter lights in God’s kingdom and finish our races hearing those words, “Well done.”