I spent Monday and Tuesday of this week in Findlay, Ohio taking the MCS 508 class: The Coach Approach to Evangelism & Discipleship. It was taught by Brian Miller and was held on the lovely Winebrenner Theological Seminary campus.
In order to maintain my coaching certification I am required to take at least one class per year. While I would love to take more, I can only financially justify taking one (and barely). So this will likely be it for me for this year.
The class ran from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm both days. Findlay is only 1 1/2 hours from my home, but I'm still glad I got a hotel room for Monday night. While it is highly invigorating for me to take these classes, I was plenty tired by the end of the day.
As far as the class itself, I love spending time talking about coaching, evangelism, discipleship, and anything of the like, so it was more than worthwhile to me just from that standpoint. I also like being around Brian Miller. He is one of those people who just makes me feel better by being with him. He is smart, and he makes other people feel smart too. I can't really say that the material was as useful to me as some other classes though. I didn't take many notes, but will include the ones I did take below.
The most surprising thing to me about the whole thing, though, was the number of people in attendance for this class. For as much lip service as we give to the importance of evangelism and discipleship I expected there to be a good crowd. I was completely taken off guard to discover it was just Brian, myself, and two other people - one of whom isn't a part of our denomination. I was disappointed more people didn't feel this was important, but I thought the smaller class was actually better for me. Everyone was forced to participate, and I got a lot out of the discussions. The other two people were Bill R (pastor at College First), and Chuck (a Christian Church pastor from Pittsburgh).
The takeaways from this class for me were as follows:
- A reminder that the coach is not to be the expert of a clients "problem," but is to be the expert of the process and the person. Always coach the person, not the problem.
- The Rob Bell video "Dust." I'm sure I've seen it before, but we watched it and I need to get ahold of this and watch it again. It is good.
- "I hate to fail, but now I want to fail faster." Brian made this statement in regard to the fact that it's not necessarily bad to fail. We can learn from our failures. So it's better to fail sooner rather than later.
- Another great reminder: "People don't want to buy coaching; they will buy results." Offering to coach someone is not the same thing as offering to help someone increase their capacity or output (or whatever).
- The concept of "God's Waiters." They state, "When we offer coaching to those around us, we serve them a taste of heaven and invite them to partake of the banquet feast of God's kingdom that he is serving to the world. It's important to serve people what they are ready to eat." When it comes to serving people the kingdom through coaching, there are three approaches:
- Picnic-style paper plates - more informal/conversational coaching
- Everyday dinnerware - a little more formal, like asking someone over for dinner
- Fine China - a formal coaching agreement/partnership
- Perhaps the best resource was the 4-quadrant grid for the coach approach to the Great Commission on p. 30 of the workbook (and pictured below). It measures a person's Faith Level on the horizontal and Desire to Move Forward (motivation) on the perpendicular. So, for instance, an atheist would have a low level of faith and low desire to move forward. A fully devoted follower of Jesus would have a high level of each. Therefore you would want to coach each person very differently.
That was the majority of my notes. As with all these classes there was plenty of very practical coaching done during the two days, as well as plenty of challenge to utilize what we learned in our individual contexts. Again, it was very invigorating for me to spend 2 days doing, talking, and thinking along these lines. I'm glad I went.