While pastors and church planters often devote most of their time to doing the work of ministry, the most important pastoral leadership task is the development of new leaders. It is just about impossible to grow a group beyond a small nucleus, or to effectively impact our larger communities without training, empowering and releasing other people to start making decisions and pursuing goals of their own. Coaching is one of the most helpful tools for developing leaders in your church or church plant, or for that matter, any organization you lead.
Tom Camacho, our Multiply Vineyard Coaching Coordinator, has put together a two-day workshop to help teach pastors and church planters how to use the elements of coaching to raise up and empower new leaders. Tom has been working for Multiply Vineyard since last year to “spread the gospel of coaching” in the Vineyard movement, and the workshop is part of his strategy.
If you’ve had a chance to talk to Tom, you know that he believes in and practices coaching passionately, and that is in part because he knows that coaching can be useful at so many levels. As you probably know by now, Multiply Vineyard offers mentor coaches to Vineyard church planters for free for two years. But we also want pastors to learn the basic principles of coaching so that they can use them in their everyday lives. We would love to see a culture of coaching develop all across the Vineyard.
The Leadership Through Coaching Workshop
The pilot run of the LTC workshop was held at the New Horizon Vineyard in Rowlette, TX. Cliff King is the pastor there, and is also a coach through Multiply Vineyard. Cliff helped invite and gather any pastors, church planters, and even potential planters from the region to come. They ended up pulling pastors from Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, as well as Texas to attend.
The goal here was to help each attendee become a better leader through some of the methods and principles of coaching. The workshop was designed to inform and equip them to use coaching, but also to give them a chance to experience coaching for themselves. A chance to see how even the most rudimentary introduction to coaching can be a powerful tool for empowering others.
The intent was not to give the attendees the full coaching training, which takes months to complete, but to give them some of the basic level coaching tools that they can use and easily share with others. Teaching portions were interspersed with practical group application. The attendees worked in triads to use the coaching tools to help each other come up with solutions to real problems and challenges they were each facing.
Cliff described it this way:
“Part of the coaching contract is that I can’t give you specifics about what happened with people. But in the triad that I was in, there was a tremendous breakthrough in clarity on the next steps of tackling the issue they were facing. The clarity, healing, and hope that came from even a very basic understanding of how coaching works were significant, bordering on miraculous. “
The responses that we heard again and again were “where was this 10 years ago?” or “I wish I had known this years ago!” Cliff explained that a big reason that using coaching tools feels so revolutionary is that it takes the weight of coming up with answers for people’s problems off of the pastor.
“The idea of coaching is so different from the consultant or the answer-man, where you carry the weight of coming up with solutions for the person you’re helping. Instead, with coaching you get to be a thinking partner. You help them to find the solution. You come alongside them, ask significant, relevant questions, and you help draw out of them potential solutions. It takes the weight off you of having to have all the answers.
“I am astounded at where the conversation goes, and the solutions they come up with when I am not controlling the conversation. I would never have come up with some of the ideas that they come up with for themselves. And at the end they’re saying ‘this was so powerful, thank you so much!’ “
Find Out More
The first LTC workshop was a great success, and so the really great news is that there will be more of them! The next one will be held in Augusta, GA, on August 21-22. Just like before, Tom will teach the participants how to put the basic components of coaching into practice in their local churches so they can raise up more leaders who are more excited for the vision of your church, all while you experience less stress. If you’re in the Augusta region, this is one you don’t want to miss.
And if Augusta in August is much too far away (or too hot!) for you, don’t despair. We’ll be running this workshop again. So stay tuned for upcoming dates and locations. You could also talk to your regional and area leaders about working with Tom to organize an LTC workshop near you.
I asked Cliff if there was anything he wanted to say to other pastors and church planters about the material of the LTC workshop. He said,
“It’s not the only tool, but it’s an incredible tool. I hope it becomes part of the DNA of the Vineyard. I think every Vineyard pastor, church planter, and ministry leader should learn this stuff so they can raise up more leaders and stronger leaders.”
If you have any other questions about coaching, or you’d like to be matched with a Multiply Vineyard coach, let us know.