To multiply healthy churches or cell groups, educators provide coaching as well as classroom training, according to current needs. When to do either becomes apparent by comparing the two training methods as they relate to a large number of factors.
1. Physical Factors
Coaching as Jesus and Paul did it takes time. Just as newborn babies need personal attention, coaches train new leaders of new flocks as long as they need it.
Classroom schedules, degrees and semester calendars determine times and duration of training.
Location and Seating
Coaching can take place wherever participants can face one another and interact.
Classrooms are designed for one-way communication.
Sessions and Schedules
Coaching sessions are often separated by several days, depending on travel distances, with reading and fieldwork done between sessions.
Classrooms force students to adapt their lives and schedules to fit a program’s requirements.
2. General Acceptance and Enrollment
Acceptance by Theological Educators
Coaching by theological educators has limited acceptance, although it is increasing.
Classrooms accept monologues as the norm for teaching.
Coaches train potential leaders who meet biblical qualifications for ‘elders’, offering pastoral training to anyone whom God has given the pastoral gift.
Classrooms enroll single youths that meet academic standards but are too immature to meet a biblical requisite for shepherding elders. They lack the respect of mature heads of families.
Size of Group
Coaches keep their groups small enough to listen and respond to each trainee.
Classroom teachers normally seek the largest possible attendance.
Relationships between Instructor and Student
Coaches normally show loving care; Paul shed tears for new leaders in training.
Classroom instructors’ main concern is how well students grasp the subject.
Relationships between Students
Coaching encourages interaction between trainees; students work and travel together.
Classrooms allow interaction only for occasional questions and to keep order.