If you’ve been part of planting a church, you know it’s a big task, and a challenging one. But it’s also a task that God never intended for us to undertake alone. I’ve been involved with a church plant for the last 3+ years, first as the worship leader, and now as the pastor, and I wouldn’t have made it without others around to provide support, advice, and companionship. One of those helpful people has been the coach that I got connected with through Multiply Vineyard.
Ok, so if you’re not familiar with coaching in the Vineyard movement, scrap the image of your high school P.E. teacher that inevitably comes to mind with the word “coach.” There are no whistles or tight shorts. No yelling is involved. I meet with my coach once a month on a Skype call, and I always hang up from that conversation with a sense of peace, clarity, and purpose. It’s wonderful.
Because I’ve enjoyed my coaching experience so much, I was naturally curious to hear that Tom Camacho—Multiply Vineyard Coaching specialist—would be doing a live coaching session with a church planter as part of a recent webinar on coaching. So I listened in, and the verdict: I thought the session was brilliant.
First of all, full marks to John Aureli—church planter at Mission Vineyard in San Antonio, TX– for being willing to be a coaching guinea pig in front of a live audience. I’m not sure I could have gotten past my self-consciousness to have a productive coaching meeting with a bunch of strangers watching.
But as I watched, I was kind of blown away by how quickly Tom helped John isolate a problem and talk through some potential ways to navigate it. In 15 minutes, they get from the most general of premises—“I’d like the church to grow”—to a pretty specific course of action—“making my leaders’ meetings more fun and effective with several specific steps.” John was visibly more confident, relaxed, and excited by the end of the session, as Tom helped him clarify his problem and come up with some clear and simple solutions to try.
I actually experienced some collateral encouragement just from watching John get coached. I felt less alone hearing him bring up some of the same questions and worries that I have—I was definitely taking notes.
Even the way the conversation took a twist to focus on something that John might not have focused on by himself—the tone of his leader meetings—was inspiring and instructive. It made me think about how often I get stuck in a problem because my perspective is limited. Coaching conversations have a way of broadening my understanding of a problem by having the outside perspective of the coach added to my own. The problems I am facing always seem simpler and more manageable after a coaching session.
So if you haven’t tried coaching yet, I’d encourage you to check it out—even though they are talking specifically about the church where John is leading, I think you’ll find plenty that applies to ministry anywhere, at any level.
If you are a church planter or a senior pastor who has committed to multiply your church, Multiply Vineyard would love to provide you with coaching for free. If you belong in either category, fill out this form to get paired with a coach, or to just try a sample session of your own.
Becky Pechek is the staff writer for Multiply Vineyard. She is also a pastor and church planter on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota.