What does it take to be a missional coach? What sets missional coaches apart from any other kind of coach? This week I’m doing a series on the five missional coach competencies—one per day. These represent the areas that a good missional coach must be competent in, over and above the competencies all quality coaches must possess.
Walter and June have been a committed couple in your missional church and have recently felt God’s call to start a ministry that will reach other Asians in their part of town. They aren’t sure whether this should be a mission-type ministry, a new church, or just a new group that’s part of the existing church. Their pastor has just connected you with Walter and June for coaching. As you’ve tried to help them begin planning for this new ministry and helping them think through what it might look like, you seem to have hit an invisible barrier. It takes you a while to figure out where the resistance is, but you think you’ve put your finger on it when June tells you that if it’s God’s will it will become apparent what they should do. They don’t want to overstructure this mission God has given them, adds Walter, and they are concerned about making sure it’s a divine venture rather than a human one. The best thing to do is pray and wait. They ask you if you will pray and wait with them as their coach.
So what do you as a coach do? You’ll need to draw on the competency of sustainable organization. In many ministry settings there is a tension between organic and organized. In reality, there doesn’t need to be. All things organic have inherent organization in their system. As a biology major in my undergraduate studies, I can vouch for this. Organization isn’t the enemy of being natural and organic—it’s essential for its optimal growth. Organization also isn’t the enemy of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit chooses to work, we can organize in order to capitalize as much as possible on what he is doing.
Specific areas where you may need to come alongside missional leaders include change dynamics as ministry grows, designing structures that help rather than hinder ministry, financial and budgeting decisions, and navigating the larger system in which most ministries take place (denomninations, networks, etc.) Sometimes helping missional leaders in sustainable organization is an uphill road, but one that is well worth the traveling.