My son, Matthew, began playing football at a young age. He was doing ok and getting in the games but it was not until he had the right coach that he excelled. As a senior he dominated defensive linemen and I have very vivid memories of him opening up gaping holes for their running backs. He got all kinds of honors and was recruited by several colleges. He has often commented on that coach who believed in him, built a relationship with him, and pulled skills out of him he thought were there but wasn’t sure. Yes, he had the size and skill but the game changer was a coach who invested time and energy into him.
This principle can easily be seen in sports but it is even more important in the local church. There are many people who want to serve and believe they can be used of God but they need someone to invest their time and energy in them. A good coach can be one of the most important high impact volunteer leaders in your ministry. Think of all the examples we have in the New Testament alone. Paul poured into Aquila and Priscilla and then they poured into Apollos. That must have been pretty intimidating because he was such a gifted speaker but he needed to be coached on his content!
Jesus coached the disciples. Over and over we see examples of Him coaching them through difficult situations. He saw in Peter what others did not see because the leaders in Jerusalem called Peter unlearned and ignorant. Bill Donahue says, “Peter had leadership gifts and abilities; he just needed a coach who believed in him, a coach who would invest in him and help him grow into the leader God had already gifted him to be.” Jesus encouraged Peter to step out of the boat in faith and He was quick to coach Peter when He saw teachable moments in his life. Jesus was not afraid to correct Peter when he needed to be corrected.
Here is what good coaches can do for the team at your church:
- Coaches can ensure that every one on the team is training properly. A one-on-one coaching relationship can ensure that everyone is practicing their daily disciplines like they should. When leaders in your church are by-passing spiritual calisthenics they will quickly become weak and anemic. Everyone needs someone to speak into their spiritual walk and hold them accountable. Coaches are good at that.
- Coaches can see what God is doing inside of someone, many times, before they can see it. They have been in the game before and they have seen how God has transformed them into productive Kingdom citizens. They know what it is like to run with the ball and they understand that God provides strength that is not of this world. A coach sees their giftedness and shows the servant of God how that can be best utilized for His glory.
- Coaches encourage team mates when they need it the most. There will come a day when the game plan just isn’t working out. There will be days when everything we try to accomplish seems to fall apart or just not work. A good coach challenges you to stay in the game when all you want to do is quit. They believe so strongly in the grace of the Lord that they will not give up on you because He has never given up on them.
- Coaches give what most people need more than anything else; someone who cares. A good coach spends quality time with those they are trying to help reach greater heights than they will ever reach themselves. Their pupils will achieve far more than they ever did or will. They are willing to invest time and energy with the one they are coaching to help them focus on the areas that will enable them to be more productive members of the team.
Coaches help train and equip others but they also need training on listening skills, asking powerful questions, how to develop a game plan, and many other coaching skills. Maybe you should consider having someone come and train your paid and volunteer coaches.