As ministry leaders, we need to teach people to gradually take responsibility for their own spiritual growth and discipleship. It’s true that babies need to be fed. But as they grow, they are able to take on the task of feeding themselves in increasing measure. Most babies at some point will actually start grabbing the spoon in an “I-can-do-it-myself” gesture. In churches, we often think of new believers as babies for much longer than is warranted. We spoon feed them for too long instead of teaching them how to feed themselves.
The more you mature as a leader, the more challenging it is for growth. The issues God wants to work on are deeper and not as obvious. Counter-intuitively, the more we grow, the more intentional we need to be about taking time for reflection.
How can we do that? We can be intentional about getting honest 360-degree feedback (from peers, from supervisors, and from those we supervise). We can cultivate deep relationships with people who can truly speak into our lives–people who can walk alongside us to identify what God is up to. We need to go beyond personal reflection to gather meaningful feedback from others who know us well.
When I was speaking recently in the masters program at Life Pacific College, a student told me it was transforming for him to realize that he was always expecting others to make space in their life for him, but he wasn’t willing to do the same. He was always the coach, comfortable being in the giving position, but not so comfortable being in the growing position. He was always telling people they needed to make time to prioritize their coaching relationship with him, but he wasn’t in a coaching relationship himself.
I recently spoke at Life Pacific College to a class on the personal development of the leader through coaching. I’ve done a lot of teaching on how to coach, but I think this was the first time I’ve done a focused presentation on how to get the most out of being coached.
It was fascinating to look at the process from the perspective of the person being coached. I reflected on my own experiences of being coached. When was it most transformative? What maximized my development?
What are some of the things that make a difference and allow people to get the most out of coaching?
Whatever you want to end up with, you must start with in seed form. Always ask yourself the question, “What if it works?”
If this new ministry takes off and grows, how will you handle the growth? What unit will you need to multiply? Group leaders? Meeting space? Discipler/mentors? Teachers? How will you do that?
Create a growth plan before the growth takes place; that way you’ll be ready.
*Launch new groups and teams
*Develop new leaders
Communities of believers are organisms that must keep growing or we die. That can mean passing on the faith to a friend or onto the next generation. It can mean giving someone an assignment that stretches them to grow beyond their comfort zone and take on some leadership responsibilities. It can mean starting a ministry that serves the homeless or the sick. But in all cases, it’s about moving and growing and doing something… never remaining static.