Coaches Or Fathers?

Posted By on Monday, April 23, 2018


In this culture we ask: "Where are the leaders are today?" Whether you like some of them or not, strong leaders have graced the stage of human experience. Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt (winning 523 electoral votes), Albert Einstein, Ronald Reagan (winning 525 electoral votes), Martin Luther King Jr and Richard Nixon (winning 520 electoral votes) just to name a few. A plethora of influential people have been on the scene in every generation. Why? Because they found a "voice" and used it to speak into, lead and in many cases serve our society.

Why does the church honor historic leaders (Charles Finney, Charles Spurgeon, Jack Hayford, Billy Graham etc...) but lack more of them? I am wondering if we not only have a "fatherless" culture in the world system, but in the church system. Perhaps that is why "coaching" has been become so common in Christian circles in the past ten years. Relationship provides us with the principles of processing truth into our lives that nothing else can provide while we live on this earth.

Again, the American job description of a local church pastor is quite removed from the New Testament understanding of shepherd (pastor). That seems to be the starting place for our understanding of the lack of leadership in the church. Pastors have been trained how to entertain people, maintain people and politically manage events that take place, rather than equip them for the work of the ministry.

Intentional discipleship has three basic elements to it:

1. A "father", "mentor" - when a more experienced follower imparts to a new believer the knowledge, skills and fundamental basics to grow in Christ effecting character, behavior and the shaping of values. This is about three years of processing first principles of character and human behavior.

After a period of time this evolves into:

2. A "spiritual guide" - a mature follower of Christ who shares knowledge and skills related to greater spirituality, offering insights with accountability.

After a period of time this evolves into:

3. A "coach" - someone that knows how to do something well, has become skilled and able to communicate it through "tips" and "processes" they have learned through experience.

When you start with coaching you are not always sure that first principles have been learned. For example: "Does a person understand in the first three years of their knowing God, the following"?

Solid Christology
Solid Pneumatology
Understanding of Christian ethics and behavior

No wonder we have so many church problems. We are attempting to "coach" believers each week into doing Christian things - for which they may not have had first principles applied yet?