Fighting The Good Fight Using Performance Coaches

Fighting The Good Fight Using Performance Coaches

Hi, family and friends in Jesus Christ.  Today I want to focus on something very biblical about “Fighting the good fight”, “walking by faith, not by sight”, and being sure we “Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan.”  There are things happening in the General Conference Church of God (Seventh Day), GC COG7, that I like.  Here in the Southwest District, SWD, I am so encouraged when I observe efforts of leaders to improve their performance and to enhance others’ performance.


The concept and practice being highlighted today is simple, sometimes humbling, sometimes exalting, but doable by every single leader in the GC COG7.  It has the capacity to take your ministry performance to a level not yet experienced.  It also has the capacity to bring the body of Christ into closer unity with one another and to move each one of us into closer harmony to what God is calling, gifting, and transforming us to do.


There are a few verses I want to highlight.


Colossians 3:17, MGS  

Let every detail in your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.


Colossians 3:22-24, NIV

  1. Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 
  2. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 
  3. since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 


Ecclesiastes 4:12, MSG  

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.


This text in Ecclesiastes is well illustrated by the fable of the dying father, who, to show his sons the advantages of union, gave them a bundle of twigs, which could not be broken when bound together, but were easily snapped asunder one by one.


James 5:16, MSG  

Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.


This blog post is on improving our performance and that will be addressed at the end.  By way of introduction, I want to mention there are many things I like very much in the GC COG7, and I would like to mention a few here.  

  1. I appreciate the way the SWD Leaders are preserving the message and identity of who we are, as they move into arenas trying things they have never done before.  Yes, of course, the changes are of necessity, since we cannot do things the way we used to do them.  But among the leaders, I am not hearing complaints about it.  Instead, I am seeing you moving forward trying this, doing that, changing methods, to find things that work.  All the while there is no question about keeping the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, of doing the Great Commission, of keeping the Great Commandment(s), and focusing on our unity in Christ Jesus instead of the ways we are different.  Likewise, you are making sure to preserve our identity, our new nature in Jesus Christ and the doctrines we understand are important to him.
  2. Another thing I want to highlight that I like very much in the GC COG7 is the new Artios Christian College Center for Vibrant Leadership.  If you have not yet checked it out, I encourage you to do so.  It is part of what inspired the blog today by its focus on “Coaching” leaders to perform at their peak for our Lord.
  3. I like the compassion of leaders to consider the whole flock as they make determinations about how they will handle the assembly-styled services as they reopen during this pandemic.  I like how consideration is being given to provide ways all can be included as much as possible with the least likely harm to anyone.
  4. I like the work of several leaders who are working on learning and implementing structure into the GC COG7 SWD that includes small groups into the Local Church.  Small group ministry has been around for ages.  But doing it in today’s world circumstances is all new.  Principles will remain the same, of course.  But circumstances will require altering the methods so they can function in this environment.
  5. I like the way leaders are seeking to work with each other to do the work of the Kingdom and keep the Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan.  


There was another place which inspired these thoughts.  There are some YouTube musicians that have separate channels but sometimes perform together with various ones of over a half dozen artists.  The amazing thing is they are increasing their performance by enhancing the performance of others.  Sometimes after a recording session they will discuss parts they particularly liked, did not like, or could have done differently, even if they are not going to attempt another recording of the song(s).  But what I noticed is they are all young adults or youth.  They all respect each other.  They are most critical of their own performances and most graciously appreciative of others who are performing with them.  If they are wanting other artist to do something they think is an improvement, they ask if the other artist is comfortable or able to do something a particular way.  Outstandingly noticeable is how much each one tries to be perfect for the other’s spotlight in the performance and to be sure their music partner shines during their part of the number.  I thought, “Wow.  What would the Church look like if we, Church leaders and members, were so gracious and intent on producing the best product we could produce together.”


There was something else that prompted me to write this post.  Although I am not a huge sports fan, I do like sports and competition.  So, lately I have watched some past Olympians compete.  What I noticed was at every interval possible the competitor, upon finishing his or her performance, would rush over to his or her coach and discuss their performance with them, critique it, and consider how it might have been better.  The professional fighters all have their trainers and coaches coming to their corner to help them do the absolute best they can do for the next round.  Again, I thought, what would Christian Ministry and leadership be like if, when we finished a work, we rushed over to our corner or our corner rushed over to us and helped us prepare to be even better for the next round of service.


Finally, there was one more prompting that helped me realize this is an important topic and should be shared.  Today, I received an email from Thom Rainer, whose opinion I value.  He was promoting a training session to help Christians become consultants.  We already have that in the form of Artios Christian College’s Center For Vibrant Leadership.  And I want to share with you, if you combine what is offered through Artios and the Center for Vibrant Leadership coupled with having a Pastor who can serve you as a coach and you are doing the same thing for someone else, you are already using a consultant and being a consultant.  But here is what he had to say.


“Have you ever been looking for something in your office only to get frustrated when someone else walks in and sees it immediately?

​I’m reminded that a fresh set of eyes can often help us see things we tend to overlook.

​Hundreds of churches close every year because of their inability to see problematic health issues within their own church. They overlook the problems. They don’t act. And the church dies. You can help them.

​However, some churches are starting to realize how big of a problem this can be and they are seeking help.

​Churches all around you need a fresh set of eyes to walk in the room—and they are looking for a trained professional to help them. Because of this, the need for church consultant training has never been greater.” – Thom Rainer


The Concept and Practice:  Be coached to reach your maximum performance capability.  Coach someone to help them reach the highest performance level they can achieve.  Have a coach and be a coach.  


Words like mentor, disciple, pastor, student, and others are used to describe this principle.  However, there is a nuance bringing a difference in this concept and practice.  In this case it is really a performer and his or her coach(es).  The performer is solely about performing for the honor and glory of God, the edification of the Church, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The coach is all about watching the performer to see where improvements can be made, and production can be increased.  It is all about being all one can be for our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.  Focus on Jesus and Follow His Plan.


I agree with Thom Rainer that having a coach or a consultant and being a coach or a consultant is vital to Christian growth both for self and others.  


In the GC COG7, and especially in the SWD, we can have this benefit, both receiving it from others and providing it to still others.  It is a biblical dynamic described for us in the texts mentioned above.  You can think of others, most likely.  In combinations of the texts we learn we should not be alone in our leadership.  We should have coaches helping us see the things we cannot see because we are busy working when the opportunity to see them arrives.


You can do this.  Clearly identify your Pastors, choose some who can be your coaches.  I like having a coach for each aspect of my main function, or said another way, a team of coaches specializing in various skills.  Do not forget to pass it on to others.  Freely you have received, freely give to others.  Yes, you can hire a consultant, a professional coach, to help you and you will improve.  However, you will miss the heart of ministry in not giving to others.  The value increases and does not decrease if the service received or provided comes at the cost of someone other than the one for whom it is done.  It is another gift of God in the body of Christ that keeps on giving.


Be an Indian-Giver.  Most people don’t know what that means.  Most think an Indian-Giver is one who gives something and then takes it back in a derogatory manner.  However, such is not the case.  To be an Indian-Giver means it is understood whoever gave it to you gave it out of love, respect, or both to make your life better for a while.  When you have used it a while or are able to do better, you are to give the gift to someone else.  It is okay to give it back to the person who gave it to you with an expression of gratitude.  But it is usually passed on to someone else who will be blessed to receive the gift.  The gift is community property and not tightly held by greed.  That is what is really meant by being an Indian-Giver.  How despicably vile of us if we receive the grace of God and do not share it, especially as Ministry Partners.


Be strong and courageous in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Many members in one body to be a Vibrant Church for Jesus Christ.  Share your successes with SWD Media using quality photos, videos, and a sketch of information sufficient to allow others to rejoice in the Lord’s victories.

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