Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders: A Practical Guide for Those Who Lead and Shepherd Small Group Leaders [NOOK Book]

Overview

Small groups transform churches—and lives. Small group leaders often feel the weight of shepherding their members. But who shepherds the shepherd? And what are the best ways to provide that support and guidance? These are the questions answered in Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders. When you’re called to coach a small group leader in your church, your mind may be filled with questions: Am I godly enough? What do I have to offer? How do I begin? Although the challenge seems immense, this handbook breaks ...
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Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders: A Practical Guide for Those Who Lead and Shepherd Small Group Leaders

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Overview

Small groups transform churches—and lives. Small group leaders often feel the weight of shepherding their members. But who shepherds the shepherd? And what are the best ways to provide that support and guidance? These are the questions answered in Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders. When you’re called to coach a small group leader in your church, your mind may be filled with questions: Am I godly enough? What do I have to offer? How do I begin? Although the challenge seems immense, this handbook breaks down the work into reassuring and achievable steps. Originally self-published by Willow Creek Community Church, this expanded and improved edition offers field-tested and biblically supported advice on such topics as modeling a surrendered life to those you shepherd gaining the tools and wisdom you need for coaching helping leaders grow spiritually nurturing the spiritual development and support of leaders. For those who want to coach with excellence and truly help small group leaders thrive, this go-to guide offers practical answers and inspiring examples. You’ll find both challenge and promise in these pages as you learn to carry forth your God-given calling with confidence. “We ask small group leaders to come alongside their group members, but often no one comes alongside them. This is a great tool from two people who have done exactly that for a long time. Small group leaders everywhere will benefit from this kind of coaching.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310316886
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,064,351
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Dr. Bill Donahue is the author of the bestselling Leading Life-Changing Small Groups, Building a Life-Changing Small Groups Ministy (with Russ Robinson), Coaching Life-Changing Leaders (with Greg Bowman), and the Equipping Life-Changing Small Groups DVD.


During the past three decades, Greg has served globally in building group ministries as a strategist, trainer, and consultant (most recently with the Willow Creek Association) and has served locally as Group Life Pastor for four churches. Greg and his wife Connie live in Elgin, Illinois, where he is on staff with West Ridge Community Church as the Pastor of Spiritual Formation. He is co-author of Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders and Equipping Life-Changing Leaders.

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Read an Excerpt

Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders

A Practical Guide for Those Who Lead and Shepherd Small Group Leaders
By Bill Donahue Greg Bowman

Zondervan

Copyright © 2006 Willow Creek Association
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-310-25179-6


Chapter One

A Vision for Coaching

What is coaching? Why is it so essential to have people in the church who are willing to guide and encourage leaders? What does it look like when someone takes on this role and invests in the life of a leader?

In order to become and build effective coaches in the church, first we need to embrace a vision for the practice of coaching. It is often a misunderstood role, mistaken by some to mean "boss" or "fault-finder." But that's not coaching, at least not when the spiritual growth of leaders and church members is at stake. It is different from mere oversight or supervision. Coaching is personal, developmental, and supportive. Coaches bring out the best in leaders. So let's take a few moments to get a clearer picture of what is means to coach leaders in the church.

The Call to Coaching

An Unlikely Coach

John Donahue, Bill's dad, was in his forties when he became the head swimming coach of George Washington High School in Philadelphia. For fifteen years, the teams he coached remained undefeated in league competition. Think about that for a moment-fifteen undefeated seasons in arow. Obviously he had everything needed to establish such a winning tradition: years of swimming experience on a nationally ranked college team, the fastest swimmers in the league, and the greatest training facilities in the city of Philadelphia. With all of that, one would expect him to win. Except he didn't have all of these advantages-actually, he had none of them.

John was an unlikely swimming coach, and Washington High was an unlikely place for a swimming dynasty to take root. The team practiced only three days a week at a rented facility, because that was all the school budget allowed. The swim team also had the same challenge every scholastic sports program faced-constant turnover. A successful tradition was hard to establish as experienced swimmers graduated and were replaced by a cohort of skinny, wide-eyed freshmen who thought the "backstroke" was a massage technique and the "butterfly" a transformed caterpillar.

New challengers also threatened the tradition of winning. The teams Washington defeated one year often hired new coaches the next, who were eager to make their mark. These former college swimmers came to coaching armed with the latest training techniques and filled with the energy Donahue had twenty years earlier. The competition had studied his poolside techniques and practice regimen for one purpose only-to be the first team to defeat Washington High School in a dual meet. But for fifteen years, no one ever did.

Standing 6' 2" and weighing 265 pounds, Donahue was hardly the prototype for a championship swimming coach. He was a heavyweight wrestler in college, and prior to that, he was in the US Navy, where he re-fitted airplane engines on the USS Hornet. Throughout his entire life, he never swam competitively. What generated this success in swimming and in other sports he coached? I believe there were several likely factors-factors that apply to sports, business, ministry, or any endeavor that requires the development and support of people.

Consistency: I believe that consistent coaching ensured the same discipline, values, winning attitude, and solid work ethic throughout those fifteen years. Donahue developed a rapport with swimmers and an enduring reputation of almost legendary stature. Students called him John "the Duke" Donahue, after screen actor John "the Duke" Wayne. New swimmers on the team gazed at him with awe and respect (as one might do to Penn State football icon Joe Paterno, or former Indiana basketball legend Bobby Knight).

Love: Though he could be hard on swimmers in practice, demanding their best and pushing them to their limits, Donahue also had a tender side. The team knew from the stories that circulated around school that he would do anything for swimmers or their families in times of need.

There were the cold, rainy winter nights that the Duke took stranded swimmers home from practice. Or the times when a few dollars for lunch money helped a struggling student make it through the week. He balanced a tough, courageous personality with a tender, loving heart. I think that is why his swimmers were willing to work so hard for him. He loved them, and they knew it. Courage: Years before working at Washington, Donahue coached at a troubled inner-city school in Philadelphia. A large, brawny student-known fondly as the "Caveman"-jumped the Duke one day in the lunchroom, knocking him to the ground. Unfortunately, this colossal tyrant had no idea that the guy he just attacked had recently completed four years in the navy during World War II, followed by three years of wrestling in the heavyweight class at Temple University. In a few moments, the Caveman was tied up in knots, a pain-filled pile of twisted limbs in the arms of the Duke.

Students would later speak of the incident with awe. When word of the event traveled to Donahue's new school, students asked, "So whatever happened to the Caveman?" The Duke calmly replied, "I put him back in his cave." Though he kidded about the incident, it took courage to walk into that school each day. Crime ridden and drug infested, it was truly a dangerous place, even for big guys like John Donahue.

Coaching was in John's blood; he was made for it. Though he appeared an unlikely swim coach at times, in reality he was exactly what a coach should be-consistent and disciplined, a lover of those he coached, and courageous enough to do what was right and stay the course in the face of overwhelming odds or intense opposition. Today, at over eighty years of age, he is living in a retirement community made up mostly of people who are over sixty years old, and he is still coaching people. (He taught a woman to swim for the first time in her life-in just three lessons!) He would never say that he was qualified to be a championship coach-just that he was called. And he took that calling and learned all he could to be the best coach in the city.

What will you do with the calling God has placed on you?

The Underwhelmed Need Not Apply

God doesn't usually call people to easy jobs. Try finding someone who ever felt competent for the service God demanded of him or her. Moses trembled, Mary was troubled, and Paul was terrified! Callings rattle cages and rock boats. Callings shatter illusions of complacency, comfort, and ease. They sometimes startle and confuse; they provoke and prod. God often calls the overwhelmed, the reluctant, and the mystified. "You've got to be kidding, God. You must have me confused with someone bigger, better, smarter, faster, and more spiritual!"

The reluctance is understandable. Responding to God's call is often costly-emotionally, financially, or even physically. With only a voice from above to guide him, Abram was asked to leave his homeland and his relatives (Gen. 12:1-5). Paul found himself beaten and exposed, attacked and misunderstood when he followed God's call (2 Cor. 11:16-33). Priscilla and Aquila became itinerant church planters, leaving a steady tent-making business behind to join Paul in his missionary work (Acts 18:2, 18-19).

Few of us are asked to make such sacrifices. Our commitment to serve Christ as a coach might require saying no to things we desire to do-playing sports, joining clubs, or relaxing in our favorite chair with a cup of coffee. It may mean organizing a workweek in such a way to free up some time for serving a few small group leaders. The effort to do so is noble, as we come alongside and empower the volunteer shepherds in the body, the small group leaders in our churches.

Ken was a strong, capable small group leader in our church at Willow Creek. He was committed to the men he led and sought to model a vibrant Christian life. When the subject of leadership came up in a conversation, Ken jumped in and shared his desire to see more leaders emerge at Willow. The Holy Spirit was working in Ken, giving him a heart for other leaders. One day we asked him to consider coaching some leaders.

"Wow. You're kidding, right? Did you guys run out of names on your list?"

"No, Ken. Seriously, we see something in you. You have a heart for leaders and a desire to see people grow in Christ. What do you think about mentoring a couple of inexperienced group leaders, helping them work through the challenges they are facing?"

Ken's response was classic. "Here's what I think. Part of me is excited about this new role and responsibility, but the other part is screaming, 'Get out of here now while there's still time!'"

After a few laughs, we challenged Ken to pray, to seek the counsel of others, and to evaluate how he would make this ministry a priority in his schedule. A week later we met again.

"I have to give up the park district basketball league to do this," he said. "But I think that God is in this and I want to move ahead."

"Wasn't that your way of exercising and blowing off a little steam each day?"

"Yes, but as you know, I also have a running partner and can get my exercise with him in the mornings. If I stop playing in the basketball league, that'll open up two nights a week for more time with family, friends, and connecting with small group leaders. And I'll still be able to develop relationships with lost people at work and in the neighborhood. I really want to do this."

Ken did not have to move around the world and sell his possessions, but he had to make some initial sacrifices and reorder his schedule around a call that God was placing on his life. Ken understood that you can't always just add a new calling to your daily routine. Okay, let me see ... there's the yard to clean up, then a meeting at school, drive Tim to baseball practice, and oh ... what was it? ... I'm forgetting something ... oh yeah, now I remember ... God left a message and I was supposed to call him back as soon as possible.

Not a chance.

If the coaching role is new to you, and developing leaders places you a bit outside your comfort zone, welcome to the fellowship of the reluctant. Some great names top the list, like Abraham, Moses, Esther, and Paul, who never felt up to the task.

Join the club; none of us is adequate. If you really want to be unnerved, look at the following Bible passages. Each one describes how the apostle Paul often felt unqualified for the task at hand. Each also gives us confidence as we relate our situation to his.

1 Corinthians 9:16: Here, Paul is compelled to fulfill his teaching ministry, saying, "Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" A sense of urgency drives him. His task is important to the grander vision of the kingdom of God. So is ours. 2 Corinthians 3:4-6: His competency comes from Christ as he serves in the power of the Spirit. So does ours. We are servants (ministers) of the new covenant, and Christ has made us adequate for the ministry at hand. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12: Though a weak vessel (a fragile, cracked jar of clay), Paul witnesses the life of Christ shining through him so that others can see the power of God. This will be your experience as well. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: Paul is not disabled by his weaknesses but rather draws strength from Christ in the midst of them. So will you, and you will discover God's grace is sufficient for you.

Few have known the joy and struggle of ministry in a difficult world more than Paul. These passages remind us that it was Christ working in him. We take confidence, therefore, that Christ will work in us as well.

(Continues...)


Excerpted from Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders by Bill Donahue Greg Bowman Copyright ©2006 by Willow Creek Association. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents Introduction.....9 Part 1: A Vision for Coaching Section 1: The Call to Coaching 12 Section 2: The Need for Coaching 16 Part 2: The Essence of Coaching Section 1: Embrace a Vision for Transformation.....20 Section 2: Nurture Your Love of Community.....23 Section 3: Cultivate a Passion for Developing Leaders.....24 Section 4: Develop the Heart of a Shepherd.....26 Part 3: A Coach’s Key Practices The Big Picture.....30 Key Practice 1: Modeling: Pursue Christ-likeness.....31 Key Practice 2: Guiding: Shepherd Intentionally.....37 Key Practice 3: Envisioning: Dream Together.....43 Key Practice 4: Equipping: Develop Skills 48 Part 4: The Coach’s Toolbox Section 1: An Overview of Coaching.....54 Understanding Your Role An Overview of the Tools Where Should I Begin? Section 2: One-on-One Conversations.....57 Relationships First Guidelines for Effective One-on-One Conversations How Do I Do This? Helpful Questions Sharpen Your Skills Men and Women in Coaching Relationships Guiding Spiritual Growth: Developing a Shepherding Plan (Development Aid) Guiding Skill Development: Eight Guides for Conversations between a Coach and a Leader (Development Aid) Section 3: Leadership Huddles.....82 A Learning Community Biblical Examples of Huddles Planning a Leadership Huddle Leadership Huddle Planning Guide (Development Aid) Conducting Huddles Evaluating Huddles Coaching Huddles: Eight Guides (Development Aid) Modeling Personal Growth Shepherding Your Leaders Building Authentic Relationships Resolving Conflict in a Healthy Manner Extending Care and Compassion Becoming an Inclusive Community Reaching Out to Seekers Developing Future Leaders Section 4: Visiting Groups 102 The Purpose of Group Visits Keys to Effective Group Visits Making the Group Visit After the Group Visit Planning a Group Visit (Development Aid) Observations during a Group Visit (Development Aid) Section 5: Troubleshooting..... 110 Conflict Resolution The Open Chair: How to Add Members to a Group Helping Group Leaders with Apprentice Selection and Development Group Multiplication (Birthing) Raising Up an Apprentice Coach (Development Aid) Birthing Your Huddle (Development Aid) Part 5: A Coach’s World Section 1: Establish a Sustainable Pace..... 118 Section 2: Create Care Covenants 121 Care Covenant (Development Aid) Section 3: Maintain Clear Communication..... 123 Section 4: Live in Community 124 Section 5: Know When to Step Down..... 125 Part 6: Building a Coaching Structure A Guide for Small Group Ministry Point Leaders Section 1: Clearly Define the Coaching Role..... 128 Section 2: Recruiting Coaches ?????????????????????????????? 128 Section 3: Choose and Establish a Structure..... 129 Section 4: The Transition from Group Leader to Coach..... 130 Section 5: Skill Development for Coaches 130 Section 6: The Care and Nurture of Coaches..... 131 Section 7: Factors That Help the Longevity of Coaches..... 132 Section 8: Alternative Coaching Models 132 Conclusion.....135
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First Chapter

Coaching Life-Changing Small Group Leaders

Part One
A Vision for
Coaching
What is coaching? Why is it so essential to have people in the church who are willing to guide and encourage leaders? What does it look like when someone takes on this role and invests in the life of a leader?
In order to become and build effective coaches in the church, first we need to embrace a vision for the practice of coaching. It is often a misunderstood role, mistaken by some to mean 'boss' or 'fault-finder.' But that's not coaching, at least not when the spiritual growth of leaders and church members is at stake. It is different from mere oversight or supervision. Coaching is personal, developmental, and supportive. Coaches bring out the best in leaders. So let's take a few moments to get a clearer picture of what is means to coach leaders in the church.
John Donahue, Bill's dad, was in his forties when he became the head swimming coach of George Washington High School in Philadelphia. For fifteen years, the teams he coached remained undefeated in league competition. Think about that for a moment --- fifteen undefeated seasons in a row. Obviously he had everything needed to establish such a winning tradition: years of swimming experience on a nationally ranked college team, the fastest swimmers in the league, and the greatest training facilities in the city of Philadelphia. With all of that, one would expect him to win. Except he didn't have all of these advantages --- actually, he had none of them.
John was an unlikely swimming coach, and Washington High was an unlikely place for a swimming dynasty to take root. The team practiced only three days a week at a rented facility, because that was all the school budget allowed.
The swim team also had the same challenge every scholastic sports program faced --- constant turnover. A successful tradition was hard to establish as experienced swimmers graduated and were replaced by a cohort of skinny, wideeyed freshmen who thought the 'backstroke' was a massage technique and the
'butterfly' a transformed caterpillar.
New challengers also threatened the tradition of winning. The teams Washington defeated one year often hired new coaches the next, who were eager to make their mark. These former college swimmers came to coaching armed with the latest training techniques and filled with the energy Donahue had twenty years earlier. The competition had studied his poolside techniques and practice regimen for one purpose only --- to be the first team to defeat Washington High
School in a dual meet. But for fifteen years, no one ever did.
Standing 6' 2' and weighing 265 pounds, Donahue was hardly the prototype for a championship swimming coach. He was a heavyweight wrestler in college, and prior to that, he was in the US Navy, where he re-fitted airplane engines on the USS Hornet. Throughout his entire life, he never swam competitively. What generated this success in swimming and in other sports he coached? I believe there were several likely factors --- factors that apply to sports, business, ministry, or any endeavor that requires the development and support of people.
Consistency: I believe that consistent coaching ensured the same discipline,
values, winning attitude, and solid work ethic throughout those fifteen years. Donahue developed a rapport with swimmers and an enduring reputation of almost legendary stature. Students called him John 'the Duke'
Donahue, after screen actor John 'the Duke' Wayne. New swimmers on the team gazed at him with awe and respect (as one might do to Penn State football icon Joe Paterno, or former Indiana basketball legend Bobby Knight).
Love: Though he could be hard on swimmers in practice, demanding their best and pushing them to their limits, Donahue also had a tender side. The team knew from the stories that circulated around school that he would do anything for swimmers or their families in times of need.
There were the cold, rainy winter nights that the Duke took stranded swimmers home from practice. Or the times when a few dollars for lunch money helped a struggling student make it through the week. He balanced a tough, courageous personality with a tender, loving heart. I think that is why his swimmers were willing to work so hard for him. He loved them,
and they knew it.
Courage: Years before working at Washington, Donahue coached at a troubled inner-city school in Philadelphia. A large, brawny student --- known fondly as the 'Caveman' --- jumped the Duke one day in the lunchroom,
knocking him to the ground. Unfortunately, this colossal tyrant had no idea that the guy he just attacked had recently completed four years in the navy during World War II, followed by three years of wrestling in the heavyweight class at Temple University. In a few moments, the Caveman was tied up in knots, a pain-filled pile of twisted limbs in the arms of the Duke.
Students would later speak of the incident with awe. When word of the event traveled to Donahue's new school, students asked, 'So whatever happened to the Caveman?' The Duke calmly replied, 'I put him back in his cave.' Though he kidded about the incident, it took courage to walk into that school each day. Crime ridden and drug infested, it was truly a dangerous place, even for big guys like John Donahue.
Coaching was in John's blood; he was made for it. Though he appeared an unlikely swim coach at times, in reality he was exactly what a coach should be --- consistent and disciplined, a lover of those he coached, and courageous enough to do what was right and stay the course in the face of overwhelming odds or intense opposition. Today, at over eighty years of age, he is living in a retirement community made up mostly of people who are over sixty years old,
and he is still coaching people.
(He taught a woman to swim for the first time in her life --- in just three lessons!) He would never say that he was qualified to be a championship coach --- just that he was called. And he took that calling and learned all he could to be the best coach in the city.
What will you do with the calling God has placed on you?
The Underwhelmed Need Not Apply
God doesn't usually call people to easy jobs. Try finding someone who ever felt competent for the service
God demanded of him or her.

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