Why Every Pastor Needs a Coach

Why Every Pastor Needs a Coach

Why Every Pastor Needs a Coach

I have found this amazing tool, and I am compelled to share it with all of my pastor friends.

If you were like me, when COVID hit, you had to make so many major decisions with little time and too much input.

Until COVID, I often made changes by discussing ideas with some trusted leaders, then developing a consensus through weeks of discussions, perhaps even including a “town hall” type meeting where I could answer questions and, finally, take it to a church vote. Once the government told us to close our buildings, the opinions from trusted leaders poured in and were tainted by political ideologies and conspiracies. Everyone had an opinion, and many seemed to be dogmatic and unreasonable. Do we keep the buildings open or close them and go online? Do we meet outside or go inside? Do we take the government money to fund the staff we laid off or not? There seemed to be major decisions that had to be made every day.

I finally asked the church to trust me with the authority to make these decisions alone because we had to keep peace in our congregation, decisions had to be made immediately, and many discussions were full of polarizing opinions with little compromise. What made it worse was everyone had a “God card” to play. You know, “The Bible says …” or I’ve been praying and, “God told me …”

Once the church gave me the authority to make these decisions, the pressure to make the right decision fell completely on my shoulders, and there were serious ramifications with each call. I lost church members, potential church members, and even my staff members through the process. If I only had a tool that would help me clarify my thoughts and make responsible decisions in a timely manner back then? That would have made life a little more bearable.

Today, I have found that tool. It is a coach. It is not like a football coach that tells you what to do or counselor that gives you advice. This type of coach is trained to ask you questions that will help you clarify your thoughts and reach conclusions in under an hour. It is amazing actually to see the process work.

I am preparing for a seven-week sabbatical. I want to rest, but there are some projects I want to accomplish that will enhance my ministry when I return to the pastorate. For instance, in my last sabbatical, I researched successful discipleship programs to develop and implement a new strategy in my ministry. I also wrote a book to help strengthen the families and marriages in my church. For this sabbatical, I had a list of projects that I really wanted to accomplish, but if I tried to do them all, I wouldn’t get any rest.

I took my problem to my coach, and in under an hour, I sorted through my projects, prioritized them, and developed a plan to accomplish just one of them. I’ve also used a coach to structure an exercise and diet plan, and, in another session, I devised a plan to evaluate and reduce the things I am involved in to create some needed margin in my busy life.

A coach does not instruct or advise. They simply know the right questions to ask to help their client discover their own solutions and establish their own accountability. It seems so simple, but for the process to work, you must have a coach. You know what the Bible says, “Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts” (Ecclesiastes 4:9). You really can’t coach yourself; I’ve tried. The coach is necessary, and the process works.

I have found that using a coach reduces stress, saves time, and encourages success. I hope every pastor discovers this amazing tool. Typically, the cost for a good coach can be about $100 to $150 an hour, even less if you get a membership with an organization that provides coaching. But if you are the pastor of a cooperating CSBC church, you may be eligible for free coaching and counseling. The Church Matters Team is providing free subscriptions with the Full Strength Network. Wow! This is an amazing tool that supports you in your ministry, and it can even be free. If you are interested, please inquire here with the Church Matters Team.

About the Author

Dale Garland
Pastor, Hope in Valley Baptist Church

Dale Garland is the lead pastor at Hope in the Valley Baptist Church in Hemet, CA. He has been a full-time pastor since 1986 and has been serving in Hemet since 2009. Dale is also the Chaplain for the Hemet Police Department. Dale has a B.A. in Communication from San Diego State University, a Master of Divinity, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gateway Seminary. He and his wife, Susan, live in Hemet and have four adult children.

More About Dale Garland
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