So, I'm coming off of over a decade in the world of church leadership, and as I gain some new perspective through time, coaching and learning, I'm struck by the attempts we make at developing ourselves as leaders and as we attempt to develop new leaders.
We read books. We take classes. We go to conferences. We join “coaching groups” (most of which contain no coaching, just a person selling a product - usually a methodology). But we have very few, if any, significant relationships. We receive very little actual coaching. By the way, coaching is the art of drawing out the best from a person, not teaching them to do it the way the coach desires. We hardly ever acknowledge, much less spend any significant time, exploring how God has wired us to make our greatest contribution to His Kingdom.
What if we took the money we spent on the last big conference where we just sat and downloaded a methodology, and next time, spend that money on someone spending time with us who can help us see how God has wired us from birth? Someone who is not only gifted that way, but also has a plan to draw out the best in us so we could share it with others? If you're able to casually nod your head to this notion, you don't fully grasp the impact it could make on your life. It's not the same as reading a great book or attending an inspiring conference. A mentor of mine often says, “What I discover, I own. What I own, I'm committed to.” He's right, but we rarely make discoveries at conferences or through reading books. We listen to speakers and authors tell stories about their discoveries. That's not the same thing.
Please understand, this is not an allegation agains books and conferences. They have their value and I've benefitted from them before. This is me processing an epiphany. What kind of pain and frustration could this have saved me over the last decade? Hard to tell. Maybe none. There is a good chance that I needed the pain and some perceived failure in my life to be ready to embrace what I'm embracing now. And, I don't doubt the truth found in Romans 8:28, so I look forward to using the stories and empathy my own pain can generate to help others in the future.
Right now, as I begin a new chapter in my life, I am asking God to guide me in doing what I am made to do, not just for my sake, but also for the sake of those I can help the most. I'm beginning to see a picture of how God has uniquely gifted me to facilitate small groups and personally coach leaders to find the unique abilities God has given them to make their greatest contribution to His Kingdom. I'm not talking about consulting. Consulting is an “ expert” telling someone else how to do it. That creates clones, not leaders. I'm talking about your life-story and unique abilities (that you discover over time) setting the agenda for our work. This week, I will begin building some plans, as I continue to learn, to mobilize myself to help build God's Kingdom the ways He has wired me to.
Maybe someday I'll help you discover your greatest Kingdom contribution. I look forward to that.