Coaching liturgical churchesBy guest blogger Gary Reinecke,

Part 3 of a 3-part series on liturgical churches

As a coach, consultant and trainer working with a number of liturgical congregations and denominations, I’ve found that there are several important questions that frequently need to be addressed. You will find these questions are not exclusive to liturgical churches, but relate to many different missionally engaged church multiplication leaders.

Coaching Question: What symbols need explanation?

  • In liturgical settings, there are certain terms that people haven’t been exposed to if they didn’t grow up in that tradition: celebrants, processional, liturgy, eucharist. This “foreign language” needs to be explained to people who are coming into new church plants without a church background.

Coaching Question: What practices need education?

  • Explanations of what is happening during worship– what to do and when to do it– often need to be made. Practices that rely on ancient traditions need to be made relevant and intelligible to those participating. Some of this needed education is taking place through the rewriting of a contemporary catechism headed-up by a committee led by JI Packer.

Coaching Question: What elements need coaching?

  • In most liturgical settings, leaders are working with systems that already have certain pieces in place. Yet some pieces need to be added, removed or improved. I help leaders determine what areas need coaching to bring them up to speed. For instance, in the Anglican Church there is a discernment process to assist the ministry candidate in determining whether pastoral ministry is a good fit. This is a good thing, but leaders need to constantly be asking what can be done to strengthen that process. Formal training is good but does each and every called individual need to experience the classical seminary track? Or are their alternative paths that can accomplish the same goal? Some denominations have done just that.

Coaching Question: What needs can your missional community or church address?

  • Like all churches, liturgical churches need to regularly refocus on the community outside their walls– the needs around them that God wants his church to meet. This coaching question opens up all kinds of ways to reflect Jesus to the broader community.

Coaching Question: How can you reflect the diversity of your community?

  • Liturgical churches are more likely to reflect the diversity in their community. These churches need help involving all generations and ethnic groups reflected in the surrounding community. Often the best way to accomplish that goal is to include multi-ethnic leaders on the leadership team and staff of the church – see St. Paul’s City Church.

Coaching Question: What ministries are fruitful and replicable?

  • Ministries that are fruitful can be replicated and serve the dual role of developing leaders and other groups. Often in liturgical circles these are discipleship and evangelism initiatives such as Life Transformation Groups, Alpha Courses, or newcomer classes.

Coaching Question: What can be done today to prepare for your next new ministry, missional community, or church?

  • Throughout the church, leaders need to be asked this important coaching question regularly in order to keep their eyes on the future: What can be done today to prepare to reproduce and multiply your ministry, missional community, or church? If reproduction is a core value, then a new ministry is always led by a leader and her/his apprentice. A good example of this is St. Paul’s City Church. They launched with an Anglo priest and an African American co-priest who is being groomed as the next church planter. So reproduction is built-in from day one.
  • For some, the walls that separate denominations, liturgical churches from non-liturgical, urban from suburban, may be high; but for others they can be navigated easily. I’m not suggesting compromising the essentials of evangelicalism. The point is that we can learn from the strengths each other possesses, and in many cases, be better off together than apart.