Ministry Today | Serving and empowering church leaders

As coaching in the church quietly emerges, so do new paradigms.

Coaching continues to build up steam in today's business world, but it's also gaining popularity among traditional Christian organizations. Groups are implementing it into their core value systems and putting it into practice from the boardroom to the break room. Denominations are exploring coaching methodologies to better undergird their pastors and ministers for 21st-century effectiveness. Christian leaders worldwide are also embracing it for new and better methods of training and equipping.


In essence, a silent undercurrent of preparation is now evolving that will release an army of coaches into the body of Christ worldwide. How will this shape the church? Will it really make a difference or is it just another passing trend? Ultimately, will the acquiescence of the coaching movement compel the church to also adopt its strikingly new paradigms?


Christian coaching leaders such as Tony Stoltzfus and Joseph Umidi certainly believe so. But to better answer those quetsions, let's examine some of the new paradigms that must be embraced as Christian coaching begins to establish itself in the church.

The transition starts with the current generation of 20th-century church leaders. It's a known fact that most leaders from the previous century operated from an "advice giving" paradigm. Advice giving is good and does have its place; however, the new coaching paradigm is about pushing the client to find answers rather than supplying them for that person.


• The old mind-set says, "You can't solve this without me," thus producing followers rather than leaders. The new coaching paradigm is built upon the premise that leaders are responsible to steward their own lives.


• The old model says, "Change is a product of information and knowledge. Given the right options, anybody can change." The new coaching paradigm says, "Change is the function of support, encouragement and accountability, rather than merely passing on information."


• The old mind-set says, "Most people will never get it right without my help." The new way says, "I believe in people."


• The old model says, "As a leader, I have to fix everybody." The new coaching paradigm says, "I am not responsible to fix everyone. All have a responsibility to steward their own lives."


• The old mind-set says, "Here's what I'd do if I were you." The new coaching model says, "Let me ask you powerful questions and help you discover what to do."


Are you beginning to see the new paradigms that must evolve to spawn a coaching movement in the body of Christ? Outdated and unbiblical leadership philosophies must begin to shift. New, biblical methodologies must be embraced.


Jesus' main method of leadership was the coaching model. He practiced a Hebraic model of relational learning, coupled with real-life experiences. His answers often came in the form of powerful questions. He broke through barriers by being authentic rather than using His position. He modeled that which He wanted His followers to discover. We must do the same.


Many in the church world believe the coaching movement is here to stay. I happen to be one of them. This movement may not take the church world by storm; rather, it will influence little by little as a silent force, transforming one life at a time.


A certified professional coach and trainer, John Chasteen is also the assistant dean of Southwestern Christian University Graduate School in Bethany, Okla. You can read his blog at


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