Helping Your People Grow through Coaching: An Interview with Craig Glassock from VineGrowers (Part 1 of 3)

What follows is an interview with a friend of the ministry, Craig Glassock of VineGrowers. In the interview we define coaching, talk about its importance for church ministry, and share a simple method to follow when coaching.

Listen to the interview or read the transcript below.


Kevin Halloran

Kevin Halloran

Kevin Halloran: Can you briefly tell us who you are and what VineGrowers is all about?

Craig Glassock: My name is Craig Glassock, and I’m the director with VineGrowers, which is a ministry based in Sydney, Australia.

Our mission is growing disciples and growing the gospel. We’re trying to help churches to develop a culture of disciple-making disciples.

Craig Glassock of VineGrowers

Looking at everything that happens in churches – all the ministry structures and trellises and the people—how can we get that all geared toward disciple-making, so that the normal life of the Christian is as a prayerful proclaimer of the Word? That’s what we’re about.

KH: Can you define coaching for us? Specifically as it relates to different activities such as mentoring or counseling, etc.

CG: Coaching in its simplest form is about helping a person develop and grow. Whenever we coach someone, that’s what we’re trying to do. That can be contrasted with things like counseling, consulting, and mentoring. The type of coaching that I do, which is working with pastors and church leaders, is overlapping in some of those areas. (Although, we try not to delve into the counseling side of things too much.)

If you think about a quadrant with asking questions being at the northern point and giving advice being at the southern point, analyzing problems on the west and creating solutions being in the east, coaching kind of sits in the asking questions/creating solutions quadrant. We’re trying to help people find the answers and unveil the answers for themselves.

In Christian coaching we’re trying to do that within a Christian framework, a biblical framework. That’s where there’s overlap with consultancy or with teaching or mentoring as well. I’m always very careful about differentiating the modes too much. Because you typically end up offending someone somewhat, but counseling tends to be about analyzing problems and problem solving: What’s happened to us in the past? How can we move through that, work through that?

Mentoring tends to be hierarchical, one expert talking to someone who doesn’t have as much expertise. Consultancy would tend to be something like going in, finding what the problem is, and solving it, and then leaving again.

It might be something like in the business world: A company gets a supply chain consultant in, looks at what’s going on, he offers suggestions, and then leaves. It’s a different kind of mode to coaching. Coaching tends to ask questions, dig and explore, and try to help people to find solutions and to be quick to be able to move forward into the future.

KH: Craig, why is coaching so valuable in ministry, and in what situations might a pastor or church leader find themselves with an opportunity to coach?

CG: I think it’s valuable in ministry because we’re sinful people and our flesh is at war with the Spirit. We all need people to help us. We need people to teach us to apply God’s word to our lives, to teach, rebuke, correct, and train us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16–17). We also need people to listen to us, to ask the right questions, to understand, to find out what makes us tick.

How is it valuable in ministry? I think it’s valuable in just about every level of ministry. I’ll talk about some structures or trellises where it might be useful, but I guess it’s important to think about what we’re coaching people in. I’m a product of the ministry of Colin Marshall and Phillip Jensen and others who for a long time talked about three Cs (which I know you’re familiar with): character, conviction, and competence—they’re the things we want to see people grow in and churches grow in.

We want people to grow in godly character and grow like Christ. Romans 12:2 says to stop conforming to the patterns of the world, be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so we know what God’s will is. None of us drift towards holiness. So, we need coaching; we need help to do that. That takes intentionality. I think that there’s a real gap. Some churches are doing it really well, but broadly speaking, in our churches there’s a real gap in coaching people to develop in character.

A few of us have maintained great spiritual disciplines throughout our lives. Spiritual disciplines are important. We don’t want to drift toward legalism, but how can we coach people to implement the basic spiritual disciplines of reading, and prayer, and proclaiming the Word in their lives? We want people to see what’s worked in the past for them when they’ve been doing that well, what hasn’t, and how we can move them toward that.

In terms of convictions, what are we actually believing, and how are we living those convictions? One example of this is that we’re encouraged to meet together regularly, as Hebrews 10 says, to consider how we might spur each other on to love and good deeds. If we take that seriously, then we’ll prepare for church, prepare to learn, prepare to think about who we can encourage.

Use the B-E-L-L principle: Be Early and Leave Late. We want to coach people so that their convictions shape their practice. That’s a role for small group leaders and others: to coach their people to have their convictions shape their practice of church.

But also competence, which is the third C. When we talk about competency, we’re talking about ministry skills, which is anything from leading a service on Sunday, to preaching, to reading the Bible with a non-believer, knowing how to evangelize, knowing how to lead a small group, and on and on it goes. I think coaching is applicable at about every level of ministry structure.

There are many very competent pastors, but coaching can be very helpful to them considering the burdens, the responsibilities, the diversity of skills that’s not just required but expected these days of pastors, particularly the solo pastor who has a huge diversity of responsibility. Pastors need help with that. They need someone to listen. They need someone to help them develop in those skills. They benefit from outside support. I think a lot of pastors just benefit from a listening ear. Someone they can share with. This is beneficial across other ministry structures, if there’s a lay person leading the Sunday service or praying or welcoming, for ushers, Sunday School, leaders, and on and on it goes.

We need to coach people to develop. We want to help them grow in those areas so that we are growing and building a disciple-making culture. When we think someone’s got potential, we should say, “You can lead the service” or “You can pray.” We might help them grow by getting them training and shape and structure, and then help them develop in those things, knowing they’ll make mistakes. We’re selling them short, essentially if we don’t do that. We need to coach people at every level.

I think that the big thing—and this is a growing movement in the States, I’ve noticed—is coaching small group leaders. It’s such a vital ministry for those who have small groups or adult Bible fellowship (adult Sunday School). How can we coach and develop our leaders to be equippers of others, to be disciple-making disciples, more than just facilitating a group? That takes coaching.

Leaders need to know how to lead a meeting, how to interpret Scripture, how to keep meetings on track, how to manage prayer, how to drive our people to have those deep convictions and develop character and competence. If we don’t, it’s like teaching a kid how to hit a baseball and then saying, “Alright, I think you’ve got potential to hit a baseball. Off you go. We’ll see you in a couple of years and see how it’s going.” We need more regular input for our small group leaders. And that is really challenging, particularly for solo pastors. They’ve got so many things on their plate.

If someone is ready to lead a small group, then I think 99 out of 100 of them can be trained to help people grow and change with a simple coaching framework and some simple coaching questions. I think coaching can be learned by lay leaders. It’s really important across all our trellises so we grow that disciple-making culture that we’re talking about.

Part two talks about asking good questions and the importance of listening.

31 Days of Prayer for LRI

Enjoying Your God in Prayer
Dear Praying Friends and Partners,

We asked you to pray at the beginning of last year. Good news! . . . the Lord has graciously answered your prayers. For example . . .

Last year, you prayed for our staffing needs – a North America regional director, an expanded development department, and critical support staff. Dave DeHaan and Brad Warren joined our development team, and Joe Paglia took over as our North America regional director. Praise God for these provisions.

You prayed for new trainings in the Middle East. We now are able to conduct trainings in three countries in this region. We are still looking for the right partners to launch ongoing pastoral training groups in each. Prayer is still needed!

Precious friends, we covet your prayers! The opportunities before us and our partners are greater than ever, but the challenges are daunting. Entering into 2019, we again invite you to pray with us.

Here are 31 more prayer requests, one for each day of the month. Please pray for . . .

  1. A country in South Asia – key mentor trainers who are leading the movement. Pray for God’s protection over them because of the anti-conversion laws in this country. There have been reports of arrests and fines.
  2. Our team – that God will continue to fuel our sense of total dependence on Him for everything needed for successful ministry.
  3. A restricted-access country – that westerners like LRI workers can still be allowed to come in undetected and not jeopardize the security of the pastors who are being trained.
  4. Ethiopia – that our training would permeate the traditional Ethiopian Church so that ministers are able to properly handle God’s Word in their context.
  5. Our team – for wisdom as we face this question: how much flexibility and adaptability should we allow in our training process?
  6. Brazil – a deepening movement of the Word in churches where pastors often struggle against neo-liberal theology, syncretism, prosperity gospel, and pragmatism.
  7. A restricted-access country – that God would continue to grow His Church in a country that is undergoing great oppression by the government – some are experiencing church closures, imprisonment, and persecution.
  8. Ukraine – for wisdom for our in-country leader as he forms a national training team empowered to lead training throughout the country.
  9. Our team – for wisdom: how much caution or risk should we take as we minister in countries strongly opposed to the gospel?
  10. India – that key leaders there would develop in confidence and competence as mentor trainers for northwest India.
  11. USA – that a movement of God’s Word would develop among the 100 Nepali-Bhutanese pastors/churches in North America.
  12. Ethiopia – for wisdom for Country Director Eshete Belete as he selects 3-5 regional training directors to expand the training within the country.
  13. Our team – Rejoice with us over the many generous partners that the Lord has given to us . . . including many of you!
  14. Europe – for new partner churches to support the expanding work in Europe for 2019 and beyond.
  15. Haiti – for pastors who face heavy spiritual darkness and daily struggles.
  16. Our team – that God will protect the integrity and reputation of LRI by superintending over every spending decision, wherever it is made and whoever it is made by.
  17. Poland – that the Church would be strengthened through our training and that Mateusz Wichary would grow as a leader of the training in Poland.
  18. Russia – that our leadership team would meet the growing desire for training in their nation and organize themselves for expansion.
  19. Uganda – that doors would be open for new training groups in new locations and for the establishment of a strong national training team led by Country Director, Jacques Masiko.
  20. Our team – for wisdom regarding how aggressive or conservative we should be in hiring new staff.
  21. Russia – for God’s favor in obtaining visas so we can enter the country . . . it’s a big problem.
  22. A restricted-access country in Southeast Asia – Praise God that these men are making great strides to exposit the Word and shepherd the people of God with its transforming purpose.
  23. Bangladesh – for wisdom for a third training venue to be launched in 2019 and protection and provision for our 36 pastors being trained in this, the fourth most populous Islamic nation.
  24. Our team – for wisdom in how to be both generous with our national partners and, at the same time, promote local sustainability.
  25. A restricted-access country – for safety of trainees during travel and the time at the training center.
  26. Indonesia – that the mentor trainers become more skilled in training others in expository preaching so that our national leader there is supported by a strong team.
  27. Our team – that the Lord would raise up many new partners who resonate with our mission to equip and encourage pastors around the world to teach God’s Word with God’s heart.
  28. USA – for increased capacity to facilitate additional training groups in North America and wisdom about how to best promote these new groups.
  29. Peru – that God would transform the hearts, minds, and wills of pastors as they study His Word and give them a strong sense of sufficiency in His Word alone.
  30. Our team – for wisdom as we develop a Global Leadership Team to guide the work around the world. How centralized or decentralized should we become?
  31. God – that He be glorified in every training, every conversation, and every decision made by our team and our partners.

So many of these requests admit to our lack of wisdom. Thanks be to God for his invitation and promise in James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (ESV).

With much confidence in Christ,

Craig Parro

President

PS: You can use this PDF to print a copy of the prayer requests.

The 2018 Blog Year in Review


2018 has been a remarkable year for the ministry of Leadership Resources International. In teamwork with our international partners, we’ve trained over 12,000 pastors in almost 50 countries.

The LRI blog has also experienced fruit and growth. The following links give a Year in Review for our blog. We hope the posts encourage and challenge you to faithfully minister God’s Word in your life and ministry.

Articles

Audio Resources

Video Resources

Stories from the Field

Central Asia: Preaching the Word with Clarity and Confidence

One preacher told Turstan that before this training “we got stuck in our own web. The harder we worked to make things clear, the more we confused even ourselves!” Now he preaches from the Word with both clarity and confidence.

Colombia: “Lord, please make this pastor go away!”

Costa Rica: “The pulpit now is no longer a burden, but a blessing”  [Video]

Cuba: Empowering Faithful Word Ministry

“TNT [Leadership Resources’ training for pastors] is really cool because students develop thoughts and sermons based on the principles we learn. This fuels us and also gives us feedback. At the same time, the student can be reproducing this training in home groups, Sunday School, and other places. . . . TNT has helped us greatly.”

Kenya: “His passion is channeled by the text itself. . .”

“His teaching has become more clear and to the point. He doesn’t just appeal to emotions. Paul is still a passionate preacher, but his passion is channeled by the text itself.”

Philippines: From Fear to a Passion to Preach God’s Word

“Everyone there had a far greater understanding of God’s Word. I thought I could never catch up.”

Security-sensitive Asian country: A Movement of the Word…Even Among Drug Addicts 

“A few years ago I was wondering, ‘Who will I train?’ A group of drug addicts at a local rehabilitation center were eager to learn, so I began with them. Soon they were changed by the power of God’s Word. Their hunger for the Word grew further still.

Security-sensitive Asian country: Transformed Pulpits Lead to Transformed Communities 

Chinh’s passion is to equip churches to shower the love of Christ on their communities by meeting social, physical, and spiritual needs . . . acts of love which “adorn” the gospel (Titus 2:10). These churches build schools, care for widows, dig toilets, and help farmers gather their crops when they are sick – they serve both Christians and non-Christians. When asked why, their reply is simple, “Because we love you! And because God loves you so much.” This outpouring of love has created a spiritual hunger among unbelievers to know this God of love. And as a result, many have come to know Christ.

     

    Launching Pastoral Training Movements Worldwide

     

    The mission of Leadership Resources is to launch pastoral training movements worldwide. This blog shares articles, resources, and updates from staff of God’s work around the world through our training. If you’re new to our blog, start here.

     


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