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Life Coaching, an Introduction

“When I return to my hometown I often meet someone who says, “I’ll never forget your dad.  He taught me to play baseball.”  My father coached in the recreation league for nearly twenty years.  Several of his players played professionally, including two of my brothers.  (Watching one of them pitch a scoreless inning in the World Series is still one of the highlights of my life.)  Ironically, “Pap” was never a star himself.  Most of his short career was spent in the minor leagues during the Depression, struggling to find a place in the starting rotation.  But he loved the game.  He died several years ago but his legacy lives on, immortalized by a small plaque at one of the city parks and through the lives of countless boys who played on one of his teams.”

“He coached at a time when some fathers were unavailable, so he became a surrogate dad to my friends, instilling skills on the field and discipline in the dugout.  But there was something else.  After the games the team would sometimes show up at our house for a meal.  He would move from player to player replaying the game as he rubbed heads and offered words of encouragement.  My father never achieved what many would call success, working hard all his life with few tangible results.  But when I bump into one of his former players, I’m amazed at the impact of his life.”

“Nearly everyone I know has had a similar experience.  For some it was a teacher who influenced their lives, others followed the lead of a drama coach, for some a music instructor or close relative helped to shape their formative years.  Many young people had a coach similar to my dad, someone who taught them more than game strategies and mechanics.  These people who influence and strategically shape the lives of others can be called Life Coaches.  The most successful instill more than training and discipline, they impart their very lives to others.  Of course, the best Life Coach of all is a caring parent.  Moses admonished the parents of Israel to teach the laws of God to their children as they went about the routines of life.  It was in the course of ordinary activities that lives were changed.”

The WDA Life Coaching Manual:

“It’s uncertain exactly how the term “Life Coach” became part of the popular vernacular, but the concept describes a person who is able to provide guidance, insight, and experience to others who are striving to succeed at various endeavors.  Used in the business world it refers to someone able to help others become profitable in commercial ventures.  In athletics, it’s a person who prescribes workout routines to maximize physical strength and prowess.  Used in a more general sense, it means anyone skilled at helping others remain focused and goal-driven.  Sometimes a Life Coach can be someone the ‘disciple’ has never actually met face-to-face.  In these cases, the insights are gleaned from books and tapes or by attending conferences.”

“But [the WDA Life Coaching Manual] is about a different kind of Life Coach.  It’s about Christian leaders who are willing to invest their knowledge and experience and even their very lives so that others might deepen their spirituality and relationship with God.  A spiritual Life Coach is a person who, in the midst of a caring relationship, imparts truth that changes the life (conduct/character) of another, gradually helping the disciple become more like Jesus Christ.  In WDA, we often use the phrase, ‘meeting people where they are and helping them take the next step®’ to describe the life-coaching process.  Those who are helped may not fully realize it until later, but they’re forever impacted by the life and example of these leaders.  It was Jesus who said ‘but everyone [disciple], after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.'(NAS)  Used in this way, there’s another term that can be substituted for ‘Life Coaching,’ ‘disciple building.'”

How have people invested in your life?  Take some time to write a comment and share the ways God has used people to impact you.

Consider picking up a copy of Life Coaching! Coming Soon at the WDA Store!

Coming up Next: Spiritual Life Coaching

*editors note: The quoted passages are from WDA’s upcoming Life Coaching Manual by Bob Dukes with Jack Larson and Margaret Garner.

Life Coaching Category

When I consider what it looks like to fulfill the great commission I can get overwhelmed.  Jesus commands us to make disciples, bring them into fellowship in the Church, and provide places for them to grow to maturity.  In my life context, I have been considering how to be part of Jesus’ plan by investing in people who share a love for creativity and art.  This whole Atlanta Arts Network idea is at the root a movement of artistic believers who understand the need to grow in their faith and to live out the vision of Christ.  But getting my mind around how this works in just my own local church is daunting at best.  This is why my focus at first has been on a few leaders both in my church and also in Atlanta.

While this blog isn’t about our methods of building a ministry or the overall philosophy, it is important to remind myself at times that Atlanta Arts Network is a Network, made up of individual churches who are capturing a vision to build arts communities.  For this to happen I am praying for a grass roots movement of individuals who love creative people and love to invest in them.

I am convinced that one of the tools that must be embraced for this to work is Life Coaching.  For a pastor or lay person to begin to see artists join the community of Christ, they must first know how to determine where a person is in their spiritual journey.  They must also know where they need to go next.  I serve in a larger ministry, Worldwide Discipleship Association, that has been building mature disciples for 40 years.  One of the tools we use is called Life Coaching.

For Arts Communities to grow in our churches we will need creatives who have a heart to pour their lives into others.  Life Coaching teaches how to make this happen.  But what do you have to know to be a life coach? I think there are four points that are helpful to remember:  Relationship, Promise, Faith, and Plan.

Life Coaching is Relational.  

WDA* believes that it all starts with Relationships!  Relationships take time.  Time is the critical component for discipleship and Life Coaching.  Jesus called the disciples at first to come and see.  He went into their world. (John 1:38-40)

Life Coaches know God’s promises.

Jesus understood that they needed to know the promises of God. They would have heard his pronouncement that the kingdom of God was in their midst.  (Luke 4:16-18)

A Life Coach has to have faith in God.  

Jesus begins the great commission by stating that He is the one with authority.  It is not faith in myself, but trust in Him.  He, the King, is building people to Christlikeness.  He is the one who also will be with me! (Matthew 28:18-20)

A Life Coach has to have a plan.

Jesus modeled for all of us how to help people grow to maturity.  He spent 3 years taking time in relationship, teaching content, helping them apply truth and holding the disciples accountable, praying for and with them, as well as creating situations where they could put into practice what He was teaching them.

WDA Life Coaching is a great tool for anyone who has a heart to help someone grow but might not know how to go about it.  It takes time to invest in someone else. It will cost us.  In the process, I learn to remember God’s promises, live by faith and follow His plan.

Sure, not everyone feels like they are gifted as a disciple maker.  There are those who might be called to pursue making disciples as their primary calling.  For the artist, Life Coaching is an art too!  For us to be part of God’s work in our churches, we will need creativity in how to make disciples.  It might not be a formal program but it might be one person who God has brought into our lives.  It might be a musician who plays in worship.  It might be someone who shares a similar love for our form of art.  It might also grow to a community of artists who are living in community together, creating, serving, loving and contributing to the flourishing of our world.

What do you think?  How could life coaching be part of the life of the artist?  What ways do you see that you could invest in the lives of others? What benefits to your church could there be if you and other creatives began to share this kind of life together?

 

Buddy Eades is the Coordinator of Atlanta Arts Network which is part of the church ministry of WDA.

The Atlanta Arts Network exists to connect artists and worship artists, to encourage people who create and share art and cultivate a love for the arts as well as to aspire artists in the context of Christian community. 

Learn more about Life Coaching and check out the manual here.

This blog first posted on Atlanta Arts Network

Life Coaching Pt 2

Spiritual Life Coaching

Jesus Christ was the ultimate Life Coach.  In the Gospel of John, He offers this promise:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NAS) The Great Commission given to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 is both a command and invitation to join Him on one of the greatest adventures in life: building disciples.  Spiritual Life Coaching involves “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”(NAS)  There are two implications to this command that often escape our notice.

Teaching should be comprehensive.

The first is that the teaching should be comprehensive.  We are to teach everything, not just the familiar principles or the introductory concepts.  Spiritual Life Coaches must ask the question: “Is my coaching part of a larger, comprehensive plan to teach the whole curriculum of Christ?”

“We should help the people we are teaching to actually obey the truth.”

The second implication is that we should help the people we are teaching to actually obey the truth.  I like to call this doing truth versus just knowing truth.  There is a clear biblical priority to evangelize the nations and plant churches, but we must not forget that the Great Commission includes helping Christ’s followers become “conformed to the likeness of His Son [Christ].”  Our spiritual Life Coaching must be intensive and intentional enough to transform lives.

But any parent can tell you this is easier said than done.  Teaching others to ‘do’ truth is a complex process that involves the changing of motives, values, and worldview.  It also hopes to develop a walk of faith, teaching people how to trust God.  This type of training cannot be accomplished in a classroom alone.  It must be worked out in the context of real life experiences.  Some of the concepts, such as how to develop and demonstrate mature love, are not simple.  This is why spiritual Life Coaches are critical to the process.  It’s only in the context of a close relationship (where there is encouragement, accountability, prayer, and teaching) that this type of transformation can effectively occur.

The importance of the example and teaching of a spiritual Life Coach cannot be overstated.  Paul admonished Timothy to follow him as he followed Christ.  In another place the instruction was for Timothy to follow the “pattern of sound teaching” that Paul had taught.  Timothy learned these truths from Paul in the context of close relationships.  II Timothy 2:2 states, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (NAS)  Jesus, after washing His disciples feet as a model of Christian love and leadership, urged them, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (emphasis mine).

We who build disciples should be encouraged by the importance God places on the Life Coaching process.  The Scriptures remind us that anyone who aspires to the office of overseer has an honorable, noble role in the Kingdom.  But we should also be sobered by the responsible role God expects us to play.  Paul warns the Corinthian church that “each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  Paul goes on to explain that we can either build by using temporal materials or eternal materials, but there will be a Day when we must give an account for our work of building up others.

In order to be effective disciple builders, we must realize that God is the author and finisher of the process of sanctification.  Paul states, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” (NAS)  In another place Paul asserts that “He who began a good work in you will perfect [complete] it until the Day of Christ Jesus.” (NAS)  Spiritual Life Coaches can take heart that God will sovereignly oversee the process.

The role of spiritual Life Coaching is only one part of the disciple building process.  For years there has been a debate in disciple building circles about what is the best forum for helping people grow spiritually.  The advocates of small groups can list examples of people whose lives have been changed by the intimacy and accountability of this arrangement, while the proponents of one-to-one discipleship (Life Coaching) cite the advantages of this format.  Others extol the merits of teaching and preaching, or the benefits of being well-read.  Some point out the importance of putting disciples into ministry situations as the best way to facilitate growth and development.  The spiritual disciplines such as fasting, solitude, or personal devotions are mentioned by many as being especially beneficial in spiritual formation.

All of these forms constitute healthy approaches to spiritual development.  All should be included as part of a disciple building program.  Each format has certain advantages and certain limitations.  It is valuable to note that Jesus used all of these forms as part of His disciple building training.  Because the local church has all of these structures (e.g. small groups, teaching, preaching, etc.), it is the best location for making and training disciples if the structures are utilized strategically.  Within the church there is a unique role for a well-equipped Life Coach.  This person is able to “meet people where they are, and help them take the next step®.”

If disciple building is the overall process in which more mature believers assist younger believers as they grow, then spiritual Life Coaching is the “one-to-one” part of the process.  A Life Coach is able to help a disciple integrate and incorporate all the other growth processes into a unified whole.  The Life Coach is responsible for tracking and overseeing the progress of the individual believers entrusted to his care. This individual encouragement and accountability is invaluable. As we will see later, this is best accomplished when the Life Coach works in concert with a team of others in a ministry context.  One of the purposes of this manual is to offer assistance and coaching skills to help make the task of Life Coaching more manageable and successful.

Where have you seen a “one-on-one” or Life Coaching process have an impact on others? Have you ever considered learning how to be life coach?

WDA Life Coaching Manual will train leaders to coach others as Spiritual Life Coaches.  If you are a Discipleship Professional or Leader, you can use the WDA Life Coaching Manual to train a team of Life Coaches for you church.

Read more of this series on Life Coaching:

Part 1 – Life Coaching

Christian Growth Checklist

WDA has developed a unique way to help you meet people where they are and know where the discipleship process is going.  The Christian Growth Checklist provides a tool to identify where a person is spiritually and emotionally.  It lets people have a starting point in thinking about what they should learn, what areas of their growth might need to be improved.  Many people find that as they grow in their faith, life happens! I have the opportunity to learn and grow but I don’t have as much time to commit as I desire to that particular area.  Evangelism might be a good example.  Your church might be offering a class in evangelism and how to share your testimony.  Yet the week that you were to do that task you miss and never get that one skill down. The Christian Growth Checklist would help you remember that.  You would be able to go back and learn how to share you story.

The checklist isn’t a tool for spiritual arrogance or a method to make us feel bad about things we haven’t applied.  It is a map that shows the places we have journeyed on our spiritual walk and gives us ideas where we can go next.  The checklist isn’t a way for me to look at my friend and compare grades like we might have on a spelling test in elementary school.  This works well when you have a Life Coach who helps you understand and works with you make a plan and create situations to learn together.

We all know the Christian life is a long walk toward being more like Jesus.  Eugene Peterson wrote a book called “A long obedience in the same direction.”   I like that idea.  We are learning to grow in obedience to all the things Jesus wants for us today.  Tomorrow I continue to learn and then the day following.   The Christian Growth Checklist helps me take the first steps by  knowing where I have gone and looking toward next steps.

Enjoy the Journey!

The Christian Growth Checklist is available as part of our Life Coaching Manual and also available as a download at the WDA Store.

window

window

What’s “Window into Bloom”? Want to see what it actually looks like when women get together not to gossip, whine, or bemoan all the difficulties in life. But rather purpose their hearts to experience the tangible presence of Jesus, himself. Ladies from many different local churches gathering for one purpose- to know Him more and to grow in sweet fellowship with other women that encourage them to become fully alive in Christ!  Bloom is a ministry of WDA (Worldwide Discipleship Association) and we love helping Ladies, Wives and Mommies BLOOM into mature believers so that they can raise the next generation of Christian children to grow up in the full Love, Knowledge, and Power of the Lord. We believe that weekly discipleship is an essential ingredient in the growth process. This “window into Bloom” project is to be an opportunity to pier  into the world of Bloom’s weekly Discipleship group that meets in Senoia, GA. I have asked a couple ladies in this current group to write a weekly recap from their perspective, which I hope will be a fresh and genuine glance into the heart of the impact of Bloom ministries.

I’m hoping this “Window into Bloom”, will serve 3 primary viewing purposes.

If you are:

1. A Current Bloom Lady in the Senoia, Georgia Chapter,  then this will be a practical tool for you. If you happen to miss a week’s meeting, no worries, you can stay connected to the heart of the content and the spirit of the last meeting by reading the week’s recap.

2. Interested in learning more about Bloom either to join or launch a new group. If you are interested in either, please read till your hearts content and know that I’d love to talk with you to help you get involved or to answer any questions you may have about your interest in becoming apart of the Bloom network and launching a Bloom Ministry in your community. please email me at BloomWDA@gmail.com

3. A Prayer or Financial Supporter, you will be able to see the current heartbeat of a live Bloom group. This insight will help you know how to pray more specifically as well as feel thrilled that you are actively partnering with the Lord in Blooming the next generation of families, in a mighty way! (Keep in mind this is just one aspect of the Bloom Ministry Reach- your prayers and donations help accomplish much more!)

As always I’d love your feedback. – Jackie Dukes, Founder and Director of Bloom Ministries

***want to know more about Bloom- Click here to go read the Bloom Page

Read the most recent “Window into Bloom” LATEST POST- click here 

Bloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editors Note: This post was created with permission from Jackie Dukes and Bloom. Learn more about Bloom at their website – http://jackiedukes.com/bloom/