Your Church Needs Coaches, Not Staff

I recently heard someone say, “a church needs to quit hiring staff and start hiring coaches.” In some ways it makes sense. Hiring people who can help assemble the greatest and largest resource of the church – the people – is an ingredient for effectiveness and health.

As a part-time church staff person, how do I make a priority this year to be more of a coach?

Plan ahead – The biggest gift we can give to the people in our congregation and ministry teams is knowledge of future plans.  Having dates and an idea of what is to happen will build excitement and will help people connect.  It gives busy, working and maxed out families a fighting chance to be a part of something eternally meaningful.

Know the game plan – Part of planning ahead means knowing the game plan – who is on your team?  What are the components of your ministry role?  Where are you trying to lead them?  How will you know when you have accomplished your task?  Sharpening some basic clarifications of your ministry role will help make it more solid in the coming year.

Know the players – The players look to you for direction, but it’s a give and take relationship built on trust.  If you don’t have trust in your team and you don’t know your players individually, you’re not a coach.  If you are working at their direction, then you have become a hired hand for the whims of the congregation. Lovingly lead them into an effective and systematic ministry and mission. Know your team.  If you only to focus on one thing, this would be it!

Pep talks – Sharing the vision for your ministry isn’t something you do once a year.  It has to happen more often, in big and little settings.  Share with the people in your group about the ministry and how it can transform lives.

Transition to the sidelines –  It’s important to build people as you are working so that 1) you can accomplish more with the team 2) you can utilize the gifts of people who are passionate and strong in certain areas, 3) you can awaken in people gifts for ministry and leadership while they experience hands on ministry.  Coaches go to the field when needed, but they spend their time supporting from the side.  This concept may play out differently depending on your area of ministry.

Match people’s giftedness with their role – Every church has it’s own set of gifts and abilities, enabling them to be uniquely equipped for reaching their part of the world!  No one church can ever do everything – so we divide and conquer.  What’s the secret to a winning team – no matter how small or average you feel your congregation is?  Getting people in the right places of service, based on their gifts for ministry.  This isn’t the work of a one shot consultant (though, this does sometimes provide another voice to confirm something or get a new way of thinking going) but requires a long term relationship with genuine care and trust.  It also requires a leader who is willing to lovingly give people solid direction.

Transformation for a season – There are many examples of a person having the same coach for years and years.  But the examples of coaching for a season are many more!  If you are coaching school teams or professional teams, players constantly transition.  A wise coach connects quickly to people, invites (and pushes them) to do their best, and counts it a privilege to serve the team.  Never underestimate the power of a short-lived connection with someone in your congregation!  It may be just what they need to move forward into being in step with God’s will for their lives.

Coaches understand motivations – most everyone has at least two or three motivations for doing what they are doing.  We need to help people take on the “ownership” of serving in the ministry role on the team, in the congregation.  We need to invite them to live their dream while they are serving in this setting for this time in history.

Any other thoughts?

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