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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

I’m so excited to see the work of some great WDA staff get a facelift!  Sometimes when you begin a project you don’t know how things will ultimately end up.  That is the case with the WDA Store redesign.

It all started when I wondered about creating a new cover for the downloadable pdf materials we offer for our discipleship ministry.  What was a personal project to add a little color to our pages, ended up as a project to create a new way for us to share our materials with the world!

Who is GodWDA has been writing great materials since it was started in 1974.  My first year on WDA campus staff I used our printed materials for small groups in my first bible study with Auburn freshman.  Who is God, is part of Phase 1, Establishing Faith.  It was part of what we once called Step One.  I still have those bible studies on my shelf.  As I began to create new covers and then the web store I realized that there are many people who will be able to teach great content to their groups and have a copy that they can read on their iPad or print and publish in a notebook.

As we began to put products on the store, I had the help of one of our staff, Nila Duffitt, who helps run our store.  She has been an invaluable source of information as we began to gather all the descriptions for each product page.  She and our materials staff have worked through the years to make all our materials connect not only to where each person or group might be in their spiritual growth, they are presented in a variety of formats that can be adapted to a particular context.Pocket Principles Growing Spiritually

Many of our materials are in the form of a Teaching Outline. This is great for places where a teacher will be giving a lecture based presentation.  We also provide materials as Guided Discussions, which work well when you want to bring a group into a dialogue about truth and have an interactive teaching time.  WDA also provides Pocket Principles® which are based on the lessons that have been taught.  Many people in the earlier phases choose to have participants take a Pocket Principle™ home with them or in later phases Pocket Principles are best read before coming to a group training.

Mentoring for Progressive GrowthThe WDA store also offers materials which help train leaders and teach our philosophy of ministry, such as Disciple Building: a Practical Strategy and Disciple Building: Mentoring for Progressive Growth,  that helps the mentor (disciple builder) better understand progressive one-to-one disciple building.

The training resources also include DVD’s from our 28/20 Conferences which are great for training leaders in a ministry how to implement a discipleship ministry using the progressive model of discipleship patterned after Jesus ministry.

In addition to our downloadable materials WDA also offers printed products for churches that are doing Restoring Your Heart ministry.  These include, Processing Pain, Understanding Emotions and Conquering Shame.  These workbooks when used in a Restoring Your Heart experience bring about healing from emotional pain. We have a specific program that trains and certifies people to lead others through the emotional healing process. We believe emotional and relational healing is an integral part of the discipleship process and was modeled by Jesus as he taught his disciples. The result of restoration is healthier people, healthier families, healthier churches and healthier communities. These workbooks provide participants and leaders the content needed for a group experience.

Evangelism Training Manual

WDA’s Store has an abundance of materials for your church and ministry.  Many of these materials are suitable for any context.  Future materials are being developed that will help churches continue to train and equip mature leaders for the church.  We currently have materials for Phases 1-3 online, which are suitable for evangelism (Phase 1 – Establishing Faith), helping a new believer begin to grow (Phase 2 Laying Foundations) and for a younger believer to begin to get training in ministry (Phase 3 Equipping for Ministry)

WDA has worked hard to create materials in a variety of formats that we believe will be useful for your ministry. Each one has been field tested by our experienced WDA staff.  We are very excited to provide a you a way to learn about new products, read some reviews and have a great experience with a the new store! Please take some time to visit and use the coupon!

If you visit before September 14  you will get 15% off your purchase of downloadable materials!

WDA STORE

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easter sunrise

easter sunriseOne of my favorite women of the New Testament is without a doubt Mary of Bethany. When I think of Mary, I can’t help but think of her in three snapshots. In each one, she is at the feet of her beloved Jesus: first, learning, then weeping, and finally worshipping. Yes, this is the woman who to her sister Martha’s dismay, sat at the feet of Rabbi Jesus instead of manning the kitchen(Luke 10:38-42). Yes, this is the one who sobbed at the feet of a Jesus, who seemed to have come too late when her beloved Lazarus lay reeking 4-days-dead behind the stone (John 11). And yes, this is the one who unabashedly worshipped at the feet of Jesus as she anointed him with precious perfume just 6 days before Passover and the unleashing of all events that would lead him to the cross(John 12:1-10). Mary of Bethany—learning, weeping, worshipping, Mary what can you teach us about the way a heart readies itself for the climax of salvation history?

1.) Recall and celebrate what the Lord has done for you…

We find Mary’s story of anointing Jesus in John 12:1-10. A similar story appears in Matthew 26:6-10 and Mark 14:3-9 (although there is some disagreement as to whether these last two tellings represent an anointing by a different woman—since the woman in these accounts is unnamed—or whether this too is Mary of Bethany). At any rate, we know that a dinner is being thrown in Jesus’ honor, most likely as a way to thank him for having brought Lazarus back from the dead. If the woman in Matthew and Mark represent synoptic accounts, then we also know the party was hosted in the home of Simon, the Leper, a man whom in many regards had been brought back into the land of the living. Mary, Martha, Lazarus and Simon remembered what Christ had done for them and celebrated it.

As you prepare your heart this Easter, think back on what God has done for you and thank him. Celebrate the new life you have seen Him bring forth.

2.) Remember and take to heart what God has taught you…

We know Mary had spent a considerable amount of time learning at Jesus’ feet. The fact that she brought a burial perfume is either God supernaturally moving her to bring this particular gift without her understanding or a testimony that she had been listening to Jesus, and that she understood at least in part what was about to occur. I tend to think that by God’s grace, Mary had put the pieces together and brought this costly burial perfume because she had been meditating on and taking to heart what God had taught her.

As you prepare your heart this Easter, what has God been teaching you this year? Ask Him if there is something He wants you to apply or a step of faith He wants you to take.

3.) Don’t skip to the happy ending…

If Mary did understand that Jesus was about to face his death, it might have been tempting for her to skip to the happy ending. After all, she knew Jesus personally as “The Resurrection and the Life,” (John 11:25) and would have at least considered the fact that He might be able to conquer death when He Himself was in its grip. But perhaps, Mary understood more than most the importance of being with someone in the moment. Jesus, after all, had paused to weep with her when He knew that in just a few moments He would raise Lazarus to life. Likewise, Mary honored the suffering of our Lord Jesus and the solemn pain of what was to come by anointing him with this burial perfume.

As you prepare for Easter, resist the temptation to skip blithely by Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Take these days to meditate on the depth of Christ’s sacrifice for you, on His pain and your sin. Let His agony and your desperate state without Him sink in and linger with you awhile before turning your attention to His victory on Easter morning.

4.) Forget about everyone around you…

Although the evening was most likely marked by a festive atmosphere—after all this was a time to honor Jesus and the new life he’d brought—Mary didn’t try to please others and keep the mood light. In fact, she ignored what everyone around her might think, and she broke open this costly perfume on the feet of Jesus. She even humbled herself to wipe his feet with her hair—when women of her day never even let their hair down in public. She refused to care about the opinion of others and instead cared about the one thing needful, worshipping Jesus.

As you prepare for Easter, don’t let the fact that others take this day as one simply for chocolate and Easter Egg Hunts deter you from approaching Jesus and these special days with unashamed worship. Ignore the crowd and focus on the One who deserves all our worship.

5.) Give Him that which is most precious to you…

The perfume Mary anointed Jesus with was no trivial gesture. As Judas’ incredulously points out, this precious mixture would have been worth a year’s wages. Mary poured out one of her most precious possessions in an act of lavish love because she knew the lavish love of Christ was so much greater.

As you prepare for Easter, ask God to show you if there is any area of your life that is off limits to Him. Think about what is most precious to you and ask yourself if you are willing to lay it at the feet of Jesus as a testimony to Christ’s own lavish love for you.

6.) Bless Jesus by your unashamed worship…

For me one of the most mind-numbing aspects of this story of Mary anointing Jesus is the fact that somehow, in God’s infinite wisdom and kindness, He allowed a humble woman like Mary to actually minister to Jesus in an hour of need and bless Him. That is hard for me to wrap my mind around. Jesus was blessed by Mary’s act of faith. And because of it, He promised that wherever the Gospel would be preached her story would be told.

As you prepare for Easter, humbly ask God to allow your worship to be a pure and pleasing blessing to Him. Bless the Lord who has so mightily blessed you.

 

catherine claire larsonCatherine Claire Larson is a graduate of Furman University, Reformed Theological Seminary and a WDA Alumna. She is the author of two books, “As We Forgive: Stories of Reconciliation from Rwanda and the upcoming Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting. Catherine has graciously allowed us to share her post for Easter. Please enjoy her other writing and blogs at http://www.catherineclairelarson.com Follow her on Twitter @CatherineLarson

The article is also found at http://www.catherineclairelarson.com/6-ways-to-prepare-your-heart-for-easter/

little girl

little girlAs soon as I finished teaching the second seminar we hopped in a taxi for the twenty minute ride to my hotel just outside of Arusha.  We got a place for me to stay and after dinner I crashed.  Teaching six days in a row after flying 24 hours took the stuffing out of me.  Dickson had me scheduled to teach in his church the next day, so I got up early to go over my message, then headed to the church.  I was glad that after lunch at church I was able to go back to the room and rest for a bit.

I’ve had a lot of ugali (thick grits) and beef gravy while I’ve been here.  It’s really good, but a little messy.  You pull off part of the ugali and form it into a ball with a hole partially though it, then you dip it into the gravy and eat it.  The pastors and I had a good laugh at Betty the first time she tried eating gravy with her hands.  She had it dripping halfway to her elbow, but she got the hang of it really fast.

The pastors in the third seminar have had more schooling than the other two groups, so I didn’t have to do as much explaining and we were able to go a little faster.  On the second day one of the men stood up and told the pastors he had been in my seminar in ’97 and how much it has meant in his life and ministry these past 15 years.  He encouraged the pastors to listen  carefully and take good notes, then to make sure they put it into practice.

The seminars are over, now I will be meeting with some of the men who were in my previous seminars and the man who will translate our material into Swahili.  Thanks for praying me through this trip.  I’ll hop on a plane on Saturday and arrive home on  Sunday.  Ken

Ken and a Friend
Ken and a Friend
Scenes from Arusha
Scenes from Arusha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read the other Diary Entries

Please Continue to Pray for WDA, Ken and especially the people who have received training in Disciple Building. WDA is having an impact Worldwide through our staff and leaders around the world.

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3