General CBF

Coaching works – (Part 3)

This is part of a series about the coaching process with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in which you will find reflections from coaches on the benefits of taking part in the coaching process. Read part 1 of this series here. Read part 2 here.

Connecting the Dots
By Ircel Harrison

ircel-harrisonThe pastor I was coaching had selected the topic for our conversation: he often felt too tied to a manuscript when he preached. How could he be more spontaneous in his preaching in an effort to connect with his people?

We talked about this for several minutes. In course of the conversation, he began talking about his desire that the members of his congregation would be more outward-oriented or missional, concerned about those outside the walls of the church and willing to respond to external needs.

A coach is not supposed to give advice or direction, but sometimes I have the opportunity to “connect the dots” and suggest an idea for consideration by the client. The client can accept the idea or reject it but it becomes part of the possibilities that he or she can consider. So I took a risk and said, “Let me throw out something for you to consider. Does your desire to be more spontaneous in preaching connect with your desire for your congregation to cast off their reservations about ministry and become more spontaneous in their service?”

There was silence on the other end of the phone line for a few minutes. I thought I had lost him, but then he said, “You know, that’s a possibility. I had never made that connection.”

Coaching is about helping people “connect the dots” for new insight and understanding. Very often, they have all the ingredients to make a choice right there before them, but they are so familiar with the pieces, they don’t recognize an emerging pattern. In this case, the pastor came away with new motivation to take the leap of becoming more spontaneous in his preaching so that his congregation might become more spontaneous in hearing the call of the Spirit of God in their own lives.

The coaching process is meant to help with positive professional and personal growth and development. The process is affirming, supportive and future-oriented. Coaching works! To learn more about the coaching process through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for you or your church, contact Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships at or Harry Rowland, CBF Director of Missional Congregations

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