If I was to keep track of only one metric at COMMUNITY, I would want to know the number small groups/missional community apprentice leaders. Why? Here are four reasons:
- If I know the number of apprentice leaders I also know the number of leaders who are effectively growing a group or community of Christ followers.
- If I know the number apprentice leaders, I not only know the number of people our church can currently care for, but also the number of people we will be able to care for in the near future.
- If know the number of apprentice leaders, I know the number of leaders we have in our leadership path who could eventually become coaches, campus pastors or church planters.
- Lastly, I’m convinced that movement is critical to accomplishing the mission of Jesus (Acts 1:8) and I know that at the core of every movement is apprenticeship. So measuring apprenticeship is crucial.
But upon further reflection, the best way to make sure you have a high percentage of apprentice leaders is to make sure that you have coaches (leaders of leaders who oversee and equip leaders). It is the coach who equips the leader to develop an apprentice. A good coach will serve alongside the leader and apprentice leader. The coach helps the leader recruit an apprentice to whom he can invest his or her life. It seems to always come back to coaching. Great coaching always precedes great moments. And a lack of coaching is the great obstacle of the church today.
Why are coaches so important? Because coaches have three important roles as they invest relationally in the lives of leaders.
COACHES EQUIP LEADERS
Great coaching is all about equipping (Eph. 4:11,12). And equipping happens best through relationships. That is why great coaches discover that a monthly 1-on-1 meeting is a must. These monthly meetings at Starbucks, early breakfast or over the phone give the coach an opportunity to listen, ask questions and equip a leader. Some of the best meetings come after the coach has observe the leaders' group/community in action and provide feedback and encouragement. Additionally, there should be regular huddles where all the leaders gather with their coach. During these huddles the leaders not only learn from the coach but are equipped by other leaders the coach has brought together.
COACHES SERVE LEADERS
Great coaches have a mindset, “I will do whatever needs to be done to develop this leader.” That may mean coming alongside the leader and serving with them. Depending on the type of group/community, it might mean setting up and tearing down, or coordinating logistics for mission project, or helping with childcare, or you name it! Coaches will serve their leaders by praying for them consistently and regularly. Coaches will do whatever it takes!
COACHES RECRUIT LEADERS
Great coaches are people who have developed leaders so they know what the leader is looking for in an apprentice. They help the leaders identify an apprentice leader. They help the people they are coaching train an apprentice leader. They assist the leader in releasing that apprentice to become leader. And together they celebrate when an emerging apprentice steps up to become a leader.
I’m convinced that apprenticeship is essential to movement-making and movement is how the mission of Jesus gets accomplished. But great leadership and apprenticeship may never happens without coaching.
Let me know what you think? Would you agree that great coaching is built on relationships that allow the coach to come alongside leaders and equip, serve and recruit? Would you add another role? Or emphasize different roles?
Check back later this week and I will give you six questions that every great coach asks.