When you coach leaders in new churches, the Holy Spirit works powerfully to benefit both churches and communities, to solve personal and family problems, and to help believers become effective in different ministries, such as the following:
- Believers make disciples, building foundations of godly living through obedience to Jesus.
- Parents train children at home to pray daily and to learn God’s Word.
- Caregivers coach individuals and families that have problems.
- Christian coaches, teachers, neighbors and business associates learn to let their light shine for Christ by giving loving attention and guidance in non-religious areas of life.
- Experienced workers train less-experienced apprentices for vital church ministries.
- Pastors and missionaries train new apprentice leaders, including shepherding elders, church planters and mercy workers, coaching them as Jesus and His apostles did. For example, a pastor of a mother church trains new pastors in daughter churches. Such coaching is one of the most neglected areas of vital fruitful ministry.
Coaching originated among God’s people long before Mr. Mentor served as a counselor to Odysseus in Homer’s Iliad, adding the word to Greek vocabulary. Sadly, some Bible colleges and seminaries overlook this biblical, proven form of education, thereby robbing hundreds of young folk of one of God’s most precious endowments to His church.
Coaches in Scripture include Jethro, Moses, Joseph, Deborah, Eli, Samuel, David, Ahithophel, Nathan, Solomon, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Mordecai, Esther, our Lord Jesus, Peter, Paul, Philip, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila. Some coached an individual, but more often, several apprentices at once. A group of apprentices must be small enough to listen to each other and deal with everyone’s concerns.
Serious coaching began when God prepared shepherding elders to apply His Ten Commands, at the base of Mt. Sinai (Exodus 18–20). Moses’ mentor, Jethro, found his son-in-law trying to shepherd thousands by himself and told him to name leaders of 10s, 50s, 100s and 1000s. Shepherding took place in the groups of ten; the higher levels were for administration.
In pioneer mission fields, it is wiser to mentor new leaders on the job to meet needs of their new churches and cells, than to send them away to Bible school or seminary. Institutional training has its place, but that place is not on the cutting edge of an expanding movement. After months or years of practical service, some mentored leaders will benefit from formal academic education, especially if working with highly educated folk. Wise educators discern the types of training that fit their trainees and field conditions.
God’s inspired Scripture does not simply to inform us; it equips His people for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Coaching consistently proves effective in mobilizing God’s people for effective action.