I coached a youth soccer team for eight seasons. Had to give it up last year when the boys became high school freshmen. I’m not an expert in the sport. I know some things very well. My teams were always excellent on defense. All the kids knew how to slide tackle, keep the ball out of the middle of the field, and communicate with each other. The boys knew my motto well after the first practice: “Play smart, play hard, play together, and play fair.” If they didn’t do those three things, I would put in a replacement for them who would play smart and hard and together and fair. Today, my former players play for seven different high schools. I always had two goals. 1) Teach the kids that eleven average players acting as one team will always beat eleven amazing individuals acting separately. 2) Every practice and every game is an opportunity to improve.
Coaching for Churches
I coach churches. I’m busy with The Water’s Edge, so I limit my coaching to three churches at any given time.
Coaching churches is a lot like coaching soccer. I’m not an expert. I know some things really well: volunteer systems, small groups, missions, generosity / stewardship, and communication. Don’t ask me about music or how to be really organized. I can’t help you.
Here’s how it works.
- The spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical life of the pastor come first. No exceptions. Healthy pastors create and lead healthy churches. Dysfunctional pastors create and lead…well, you get the gist.
- I only coach United Methodist Churches. Nothing against Lutherans or Baptists or Episcopalians. I just don’t know your culture and you can do better than me.
- For church plants – the Annual Conference is the organization who hires me and pays me. I serve the pastor and local church. I am accountable to Annual Conference.
- For existing churches – the leadership team must vote to hire me.
- All coaching contracts are for one year. After nine months, all parties will talk about whether we will renew the contract for another year.
- I will start with a two-day site visit. This will happen during the week for a church plant and a Sunday / Monday for an existing church. We will set goals and create an action plan by the end of the site visit.
- Coaching happens on the phone, once a week, for 30 minutes to an hour. Usually these calls are with the pastor, but sometimes they are with with other staff, volunteers, and / or teams.
The goals are similar to when I was a soccer coach. 1) Dozens or hundreds of people acting as a unified church will always be more faithful and fruitful than a similar number of gifted people all doing their own thing. 2) Every day and every Sunday is an opportunity to improve.
Specific goals for church plants: 1) A critical mass of people will be gathered between 12 and 24 months. Sustainable volunteer and discipleship systems will be created and implemented in 18 to 30 months. The church will be financially self-sufficient in 36 to 48 months.
I am currently coaching one church plant and one existing church. I currently have one opening. Email me — I’d love to talk to you!