Any coach can follow these seven guidelines as they start to help fledgling shepherds and church planters launch into their work.
1. Clarify long-range goals. Ask, “What do you envision will exist 20 years from now, as a result of your ministry?” If one cannot answer succinctly and concretely, or if one merely describes efforts to make along the way, then talk over long-range objectives until they are clear.
2. Define what workers need to do to reach their long-range goal. Leaders often assume they need more education, buildings, equipment, highly trained staff members and tithe-payers, when all they need, to keep churches multiplying, is to keep new churches simple enough to multiply in the normal way. Let workers rely on available resources, easily imitable methods, and the gifted volunteers that the Holy Spirit gives to his flock (Eph. 4:11-12).
3. Monitor progress by coaching new leaders regularly. Provide questions that coaches can ask of their trainees about new seekers, believers, baptisms, disciples, cells, shepherds, coaches, and projects, in what ethnic and language groups, neighborhoods, towns and regions. Agree on how to track progress and to make choices based on this information.
4. Help new leaders use the right training resources. Listen to trainees to learn specific needs of their flocks; then help each trainee make specific plans for each flock, and provide reading that will help them implement their plans. Serve as a model of skills for trainees; let them accompany you as you deal with people and practice needed skills together.
5. Help new leaders discover their spiritual gifts and unique natural abilities. To make this easy, have trainees list their preferences under three columns: non-negotiable essentials, strong preferences and weak preferences. Ask trainees about their experiences, training, different ministries, dreams and so forth, sorting their responses into the three columns. Use the resulting profile to build on each trainee’s strengths and resolve.
6. Model skills in a way that is easy to imitate. If trainees ready to work in the field, then hold brief, realistic role-plays. Take apprentice leaders with you on ministry trips.
7. Urge new leaders to trust the Holy Spirit’s empowering. The power and gifts to do Christ’s work come from Him and are always enough. To depend on money and popular methods might cancel the power that the Lord Jesus offers. Lay hands on new leaders and assure them of the Holy Spirit’s power to carry out God’s work.