This is THE most popular post for the last two years. Now I am ready to help your church start a Christian coaching ministry. We also provide Executive Ministry Coaching. The parent company for Simple Discipleship is RENOVA Coaching and Consulting LLC. We are partnering with a coach training organization to provide certified coach training at three levels…1) Certified Christian Coach, 2) Certified Disciple Coach, and 3) Certified Wellness Coach. Go to http://renovacoaching.com/ for more information.

Churches have been slow to use coaching as a method of equipping in various areas such as life, leadership, marriage, career, wellness, and yes, spiritual formation and growth. In 2001 Gary Collins expressed concern that while coaching was the “hottest” new profession in America, virtually no churches were using it (Christian Coaching, 15). In 2003 Reggie McNeal recommended that churches provide life coaching for spiritual formation (The Present Future, 77). It is now 2008, and only a few churches provide any kind of coaching ministry. I believe churches should establish Christian coaching ministries as a means of equipping for spiritual formation and life. Christian coaching ministries should be in the discipleship “department” and not a part of the counseling ministry.

COACHING, COUNSELING, AND MENTORING


So what is the difference between coaching, counseling, and mentoring as applied to discipleship or spiritual growth?

  • Coaching forms a co-active partnership that seeks to empower and equip the coachee to achieve greater competence and growth in areas they desire. The coachee is essentially healthy and able to work with the coach to develop a plan for growth. In coaching, the coachee is able to co-actively establish goals for the process.
  • Counseling usually involves some area of disorder, pathology, or dysfunction that essentially disables the counselee in one or more areas of life. The counselor tends to set the agenda and plan for counseling.
  • Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé.

Perhaps churches have not started coaching ministries because the knowledge base for start-up is minimal. Here are some guidelines for starting a Christian Coaching Ministry.

HOW TO START A CHRISTIAN COACHING MINISTRY

Small Church

Small churches can launch a coaching ministry beginning with the pastor. If the pastor has a heart for both the evangelism and the teaching side of making disciples, he may seek coach training.

Large and/or Mega Church

The large and mega-church may launch a Christian coaching ministry using a process such as the one delineated below. However, it is important to maintain a high standard for those serving as coaches whether they are part of the professional ministry staff or volunteer lay persons. It is equally important that the Christian coaching ministry function as a completely separate ministry than counseling, even though the two disciplines have areas of commonality.

1.Hire a ministry staff member who is already a coach. The position may be associate pastor, equipping pastor, minister to men, or discipleship pastor, etc. The coach minister should have a valid record of coaching others that may be verified before hire and/or he should have or be seeking coach certification from an accepted organization. Beware, however and research coach training organizations, as some have a “new age” orientation. There are many coach training schools and programs that are secular to distinctly Christian. Research these online to assess their accreditation status by going to  http://www.coachfederation.org/ICF/ which is the home website for the International Coach Federation. Other licensing agencies and coach training organizations exist, and some provide internal certification that is acceptable. The goal here is to establish a highly creditable coaching ministry, so do your homework, research and get references. Seminaries are now establishing coach training as an available option for ministry education.

2.Establish a budget for the Christian Coaching Ministry. Obviously the church may pay a full-time salary to a staff pastor serving as a coach with other duties. Funds may also be needed for outsourcing some coaching. For instance, if there is no female coach on staff or a specialized coach is needed to assist someone (wellness, fitness, etc.) the ministry may need funds to assist with fees. However, the church should not incur all of the coaching costs for those seeking coaching, as they are more likely to work within the coaching process if they have an investment.

3.Develop guiding policies for the Christian Coaching Ministry. A starting point is the code of ethics available as a pdf document download from the ICF website listed above. Referral policies should be established at the outset, as well as the relationships between the counseling and coaching ministries. Each ministry may refer “clients” to the other. Remember there is a difference between coaching, counseling, and mentoring.

4.Provide coaching for the ministry staff. Insist that all staff ministers go through a coaching cycle with the new coach staff member. They need to see the benefit of the process and relationship first hand. If you are insecure and cannot handle the coaching relationship, others will not do so either. On the other hand, as others see the staff participating in the coaching ministry process at the launching, they will be more likely to accept the new ministry.

5.Launch the coaching ministry through the Men’s Ministry. Men are far more likely to seek coaching as opposed to counseling. If you are launching a coaching ministry that will offer services to men and women, it is important in a church to maintain a policy of men coaching men and women coaching women except in the case of marriage coaching.

6.Launch the coaching ministry by having a marriage coaching seminar. It is vastly different from marriage enrichment. Usually the enthusiasm resulting from the latter wears off quickly and is forgotten soon. Marriage coaching may have long term benefits.

7.Provide Christian executive coaching to business people in the church. This will deepen their Christian leadership effectiveness as witnesses for Christ in the community.


There are many benefits for individuals receiving coaching as well as for the church. I will discuss the benefits of coaching in my next blog. Christian coaching is an innovative and transformational ministry that can change your church!

Learn more about professional and ministry coaching at http://renovacoaching.com


Christian Coaching Blessings!


Dr. Tom Cocklereece

Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC
He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is 
a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team

Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | Book | Coaching

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19 Responses to Start a Christian Coaching Ministry

  1. Sovann says:

    Nice suggestions, I’ve been looking at how coaching and discipleship integrates, specifically in marriage mentoring and small group ministry.
    I’m planning on getting coaching certification with my wife.

  2. [...] will produce the desired results. Look around, things have changed, and society has changed. (http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/) People have not changed, as they essentially want what they want, and they want the easy way to [...]

  3. Mike Spring says:

    I have been the treasurer of my church and association. I would be glad to help anyone starting out as a Treasurer. Just drop me a note a mspring48@gmail.com

  4. I AM SORRY TO HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS BUT IN CALIFORNIA
    ONE OF THE REASONS THIS COACHIN STYLE IS NOT A PREFERRED
    METHOD IS PEOPLE AR SO SCARED
    I SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT JUST SHY BUT ACTUALLY AFRAID TO GET TOO CLOSE TO A POTENTIAL DISCIPLE
    I MYSELF FEEL CLOSE TO G-D AND JESUS GUIDES ME THROUGH INTUITION SO WHEN I MEET SOMEONE WIERD, AND I FEEL CALLED TO WITNESS TO THAT PERSON, I PRAY FIRST AND DISCERN IN MY SPIRIT
    ARE THEY JUST WIERD OR WIERD AND DANGEROUS
    THERRE IS A DIFFERENCE
    BUT MANY MANY PEOPL ARE JUST TOO AFRAID
    AND WE SHOULD TAKE NOTE OF THE POPE’S OFT REPEATED
    “BE NOT AFRAID”=–BUT THAT WAS NOT ORIGINAL
    EVERY ANGEL THAT HAS EVER APPEARED TO EARTHLINGS WITH A MESSAGE BEGAN THA MESSAGE WITH THE DELIVERY OF THIS PHRASE
    BE NOT AFRAID OR FEAR NOT
    AND THEN THEY SAY THE THING THEY WERE SENT TO DELIVER
    I HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO HAVE HAD PEOPLE DISCIPLE AND OR WITNESS TO ME MANY TIMES AND LATER I MARVELLED THAT THEY WERE SO BOLD AND COURAGEOUS
    I AM ALSO BLESSED TO HAVE A PASTOR WHO HAS TAKEN TIME TO COACH AND BE MY FRIEND, TOO
    SHE OFTEN SAYS BE A BOLD WITNESS
    AND SO IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO JUST GO OUT THERE–WE MUST EXAMINE OUR MOTIVES
    AND IF THE MOTIVE IS TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL THROUGH LOVE
    AND WITH THE GUIDANCE OF THE ONE AND TRUE HOLY SPIRIT
    THEN THERE IS NO SHAME AND NO FEAR
    I FEAR NOTHING AND NOONE BUT ALMIGHTY G-D
    AND I HAVE GONE UP TO PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY WHO OTHERS
    WOULD THINK WERE ABSOLUTE NUTCASES OR WORSE
    I PRAYED FIRST AND THERE HAVE ONLY BEEN A VERY FEW TIMES
    THAT I WAS TOLD NO, DO NOT SPEAK TO THAT PERSON
    ONLY PRAY FOR THEM
    AND PRAY FOR PROTECTION
    IN CHRIST, YOUR SISTER, SHIRLEY

  5. [...] key to unlocking the potential for the apathetic is Christian Life Coaching for spiritual growth . http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/ . Churches should start such ministries and internally “market” it to every person in [...]

  6. [...] churches would start Christian Coaching Ministries, which would of course offer marriage coaching (http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/ ). I have offered Marriage Coaching Seminars to churches, but have received little interest, [...]

  7. Laurie Ann says:

    Greetings,

    I have to humbly disagree with the word “coaching” for what Jesus did. He did training and modeling and simply living out God’s principles before those he met in natural daily life. The word “coach” has a top-down, bossing connotation that is very rare in the gospel accounts.

    It also has a non-organic meaning, implying that people have signed up for a certain-place- certain-time relationship that is absent in the life of Jesus. When he “chose the twelve and sent them out” he was not forming a group but giving a task. “You twelve sort of get it, go do what I do and let me know how it goes!”

    The image of a football coach gathering a team at the ball field is simply too different from the picture of a family practicing hospitality to the traveling man. “Coach” reinforces the “lording it over the believers” concept of “church”.

    I’m concerned that while coaching as an idea has a certain analogous usefulness, it continues some very wrong Western ideas of what God wanted. Families and natural relationships (commercial, recreation and vocational ) are really where the Kingdom is best served. Ordinary life (or an apostolic journey) throws us together and the eternal life in me flows to those around me.

    • drthomreece says:

      I appreciate your insightful comments, however I think you are limiting the concept of coaching to an older metahor as related to only sports. Current coactive coaching is not at all a top down superiority venture, but is based on a mutual relationship that grants the privelege of accountability from the one coached to the coach. It has more in common with mentoring than sports coaching. As with one’s relationship with Christ, a person is empowered to change as much as they are willing to allow. Modern coaching has no suggestion of lording authority over the individual being coached. The weakness of coaching is the same as that of one’s relationship with Christ in that there are things we just will not allow God to change in our lives, and God allows us to resist just as the coach has no authority to make a person do what is needed. Read current materials on the coaching profession outside the sports genre. Again, thanks!

  8. Laurie Ann says:

    Appreciate your feedback. You are right: I see the coaching concept being used everywhere – from parenting to business to the ends of the earth.

    The priesthood of all believers is undermined by titles, though, don’t you think? Discipleship flows both ways when I don’t “call myself Rabbi”.

  9. drthomreece says:

    Yes, I agree with all that you said. However there is something to be said for seeking out a partner who is 1) skilled at empowerment, appropriate accountability, mentoring, and is also spiritually mature and biblically grounded.

  10. [...] Creekside Team posted a noteworthy aricle today onHere’s a small snippet [...]

  11. Reji says:

    Greetings from jesus.I am reji from india.I thank God for your ministry.I am working as a pastor.I would like to know more about your couching ministry.May God bless you.

    • Dr. Tom Cocklereece says:

      Greetings, to learn more about it, go to http://www.simplediscipleship.com
      If you decide to order a book or other materials, you should email me your shipping address to receive an estimate of total charges. The price of the book is $18.02 with tax included. However the shipping charges for India are probably about $20.00. If interested, send me your email address and I will send you an ebill for the total amount. My email address is tom@simplediscipleship.com

      Blessings!

  12. Tevin Vidal says:

    Train staff in coaching and hold them accountable to using and enhancing their coaching skills. And develop a coaching culture, both formally and informally.

    Tevin Vidal
    Leadership Coaching

  13. [...] Mentoring begins with a clear and set agenda for the mentee or protégé. The mentor tends to serve as a supervisor of the training by sort of looking over the shoulder of the protégé. (Simple Discipleship, 97-8), http://drthomreece.wordpress.com/2008/09/14/start-a-christian-coaching-ministry/ [...]

  14. John Warner says:

    Many people in my family have been to christian life coaches, christian counselors, or even christian financial advisers. They have seen them for many reasons including marriage counseling and financial advice. I believe they are very helpful to bring together the worldly things with the spiritual things.

    John Warner

    Warner Press

    • Tom Cocklereece, DMin, LBCT says:

      Christian coaching can certainly be helpful. I would emphasize that there is a big difference in counseling, financial management, and Christian coaching. The key is to coach people such that they discover there is a big important difference between the things of the world and spiritual things. Thanks for reading.

  15. Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will send this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  16. [...] A Christian life-coach is not dissimilar to a sports coach in many ways. A sports coach can see the latent potential of an athlete. Likewise, a life-coach can see a person’s latent potential. A sports coach can determine and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of an athlete. In the same manner a good life-coach can analyze strengths and weakness of an individual and like a sports-coach, motivate her to higher performance and greater effectiveness. It is important to hire a Christian coach who recognizes when to refer individuals to the pastor or a Christian counselor. A Christian coach understand the differences between counseling, mentoring, and coaching. (Start a Christian Coaching Ministry) [...]

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