A Whistle or a Podium? [Blog]

Coaching WhistleThe work of discipling the people of a church is to big for any one man. Obviously, many people are needed to train many new believers.  Here is a question. Do these new believers need to be trained by a coach or a pulpiteer?

Because of the prevalence and preeminence of information transfer (preaching and teaching) in our churches, much of the critical developmental work of new believers tends to fall into these patterns.  Often, Sunday school teachers, trainers and disciples simply follow the pattern of lining everyone in straight rows, finding a podium of some sort and using every minute in the time slot to give out information. Coaches know information is needed, but they also know there needs to be mindset of “developing” rather simply teaching.  Here are a few contrasting points.

  • Teachers use almost all allotted time for giving out what they have prepared.  When time gets short, they hurry up so “they” can finish and make it through “their” material.
  • Coaches balance the allotted time with information, demonstration and personal application. They don’t just teach about a topic. They get the person they are developing to “do” the information. The allotted time is strictly segmented.
  • Teachers have a title, a podium, a “class”room, and a curriculum.  These physical elements often limit the teacher to a single method of communication—lecture.
  • Coaches use many venues and techniques to train.  By example, sports coaches have practice fields, batting cages, weight rooms, video viewing areas, etc… The identification and leveraging of natural talents is prioritized.  Churches too, need to see that individual development is more important than the trainers agenda.
  • Teacher’s WINS are often identified with “more”.  “More” people in their class. “More” folks coming to an altar. “More” people staying and asking questions. “More” folks saying it was a great message.
  • Coach’s WINS are often associated someone else, with a “they”.  When “they” excel, when “they” score a touchdown, when “they” make a hit or catch a ball. The victory for the coach is not in him (the coach) excelling, but in the student excelling.

The other day a saw a post on my Facebook from a pastor who said, “Happiness is a full parking lot on Wednesday night”.  I knew the exact feeling. I too, like a full parking lot.  But, it caused me to think of the WIN in our ministry here at Sinclair Baptist. Is it just more people listening to a teacher/preacher? I believe a balanced ministry will move more and more towards a development model. It is obvious we need both information and application, but churches today are over loaded on the teaching side. Coaching and training coaches needs to be accentuated. “Happiness” for us is many people discipling many people.

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Mike Holmes

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