Coaching is on the rise. I’m currently coaching 23 pastors in how to take their church to the next level.  A couple are trying to break the 200 barrier; two or three are trying to break the 1,000 barrier; and a bunch are trying to break the 500 Barrier.

In the last three years I’ve experienced a huge increase in the number of pastors asking for coaching to where my coaching and consulting are about even. Five years ago consulting took up the vast majority of my time.  “Times, they are a changin.” This shift is happening for a variety of reasons but here are the top three;

  • Times are changing faster than most pastors can keep up with and continue to pastor.
  • There are more church plants underway among mainliners than at any time in the last 40 years and mainliners are beginning to see the value of a coach.
  • The younger generations are more prone to a coaching relationship than are the boomers

Several learnings pop out from my coaching. Many pastors…..

  • are notoriously bad about not setting out clear expectations of their staff. So I have to found it helpful if the pastor and I agree on a Personal Mission Mandate for the pastor and hold them accountable to it.
  • allow themselves to get pulled in so many directions it’s hard for them to focus on what really matters and need regular reminders to focus on the main thing. Often my role is to simply remind the person of the handful of leverage actions that are going to take the church to the next level. One of my favorite questions is “If your church were twice its size, what would you have to start and stop doing.” We actually make a list.
  • have a hard time fully appreciating the fact that once they get beyond 150 in worship the burden for growth begins to shift from them to their staff (which many don’t have). A lot of pastors can grow a church to 200 without much help; but few pastors can effectively take a group of people past the 500 barrier all alone.
  • find it difficult to set aside time for family and personal growth.  I have to remind them that it’s not how long they work, but what they do while working.
  • need remedial work on know how to hire or fire staff.  It’s not uncommon for a pastor to have so high a mercy gift they simply find it devastating to fire someone and they are so rushed for time that they hire the first person who comes along.  One of the things I constantly remind my folks is that they need to constantly looking for staff that they don’t yet need.

[tweetthis]Many solo pastors can grow a church to 200; but few can effectively take it past 500 all alone. [/tweetthis]

There’s a huge difference between coaching and consulting, so I’ve been on a fast learning curve. But I’ve learned there’s also a lot of cross over. I’ve found that coaching without the consulting ability often leaves the one being coached dangling in the wind not knowing what to do or not to do next.  Failure to wear the consultant hat often results in fatal mistakes. Because of this growth in coaching, I have set up The Next Level Coaching Network to assist pastors in growing their churches. If you’re interested in a coaching relationship, see the application below.

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