Profile of a Small Group Coach

As the church grows, I anticipate the need for many more new small groups; which means that we need leaders willing to step out in faith to make an impact on our community and eternity by shepherding other people. The pastor literally cannot do it alone.

Small group leaders are needed to shepherd a group of about 6-12 people. Out of this group the intent is to develop other leaders from within the group who will also be committed to the Great Commission and is looking forward to the day he or she can birth another small group of their own.

When we have several small groups meeting around the city or at church, there will come a time when we need small group coaches to help shepherd the small group leaders. Sounds confusing until you understand the Jethro model of ministry organization.

Catch this scene:

Moses has a father-in-law, Jethro, who stops by while the Israelites are camped in the wilderness near the mountain of God (Exodus 18:5). Moses tells him all the cool stuff God is doing for them (Exodus 18:8) and Jethro praises God (Exodus 18:10). The next day Jethro catches Moses at work, making decisions for the people (since Moses was the guy able to inquire of the Lord) and asks what he is doing, because it doesn’t look good (Exodus 18:14, 17).

Jethro said he needed to be involved in leadership training to teach the leaders how to minister to the majority of the people (Exodus 18:20, 21) bringing only the difficult cases to Moses. So, Moses takes the advice and developed a system of leadership and accountability for thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens (Exodus 18:25). Here’s what it would look like (to the right):

Snapshot of a Coach:

To serve, care for and develop a huddle of small group hosts (about 5 groups).

Coach Qualifications:

  • Must have a heart for reaching people and shepherding them.
  • A Person of FAITH:
    • Faithful: They follow through with commitments, proven track record of responsibility and follow-through.
    • Available: Willing to focus on coaching by making time to lead and to develop as a leader.
    • Initiative: Self-starter, takes responsibility, asks questions, proposes solutions, moves toward problems.
    • Teachable: Values learning and developing, listens well, takes instruction from many sources, values correction and criticism, not enslaved to their own ideology, spirit of humility.
    • Honest: Transparent, knowable, authentic, truthful, accurate, willing to confront when necessary.
  • Growing walk with God, strong character and a commitment to God’s redemptive plan.
  • The ability to lead leaders and hosts: encourage and hold accountable, people developer, team builder.
  • Ability to work a system and a plan; understanding authority and responsibility, taking initiative.
  • Good people skills: able to connect emotionally and build relationships with others.
  • Spiritual Gifts: They may include leadership, wisdom, discernment, shepherding and encouragement.

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LifeShape 4 the Square

This information is not original with me, but from a fascinating book I found entitled, “The Passionate Church: The Art of Life-Changing Discipleship.” Since I am a visual learner, I have included my personally designed diagrams along with my own notes to help in my disciple-making and teaching efforts.

The square lays out the stages every disciple experiences and gives you the corresponding style of leadership.

You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. –Mark 10:42-43

The leadership of Jesus provides us with powerful tools for leading the church through the challenges of cultural change. Leadership style is not about position, but about how we relate to one another.

We are in a management-oriented society that is in need of leaders. We can manage growth, productivity and human resources, but in times of crises people do not look to managers, but to leaders.

A true leader looks like a sheep from the front and a shepherd from behind.

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.Mark 1:15-20

Stage one: (Jesus does not really choose these guys based on their resumes or spiritual gift inventories, but they join up ready to take on the world). When we start out on a new trail, we need a strong confident leader to show us the way.

Disciple Style D1 = Confident / Incompetent Leadership Style L1 = Directive / Set Example
  • High enthusiasm
  • High confidence
  • Low experience
  • Low competence
  • High direction
  • High example
  • Low consensus
  • Low explanation

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.Luke 12:32-34

Stage Two: (Reality sets in when they discover they have no idea what they are doing, and they hit rock bottom. They are not having fun anymore). When a person is in a time of discouragement and despair, vision is critical.

Disciple Style D2 = Unenthusiastic / Incompetent Leadership Style L2 = Visionary / Coach
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Low confidence
  • Low experience
  • Low competence
  • High direction
  • High discussion
  • High example
  • High accessibility

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.John 15:12-17

Stage Three: (Jesus turns away from the crowds to spend more time with His disciples, to boost confidence based on experience). Friends have common objectives and share their lives together.

Disciple Style D3 = Growing Confidence Leadership Style L3 = Pastoral / Consensus
  • Increasing enthusiasm
  • Growing experience
  • Intermittent confidence
  • Growing competence
  • Lower direction
  • Higher consensus
  • High discussion
  • High accessibility

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20

Stage Four: (Jesus is taken away and He has prepared them to carry on the ministry without Him, confident in partnership with them in reaching the world). Good leaders always get people to the stage where they are ready to accept delegated responsibility.

Disciple Style D4 = The end is in sight Leadership Style L4 = Delegation / Partnership
  • High enthusiasm
  • High confidence
  • High experience
  • High competence
  • Low direction
  • High consensus
  • Low example
  • High explanation

Summary of the Four Stages:

  1. I do, you watch
  2. I do, you help
  3. You do, I help
  4. You do, I watch

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Disciple-Making Pastor, Part 8

The Disciple Making Pastor as Coach:

Tell Them What: (John 1:35-4:46, Mark 1:16-17, Luke 5:10-11, Matthew 9:36-38) Going indicates action. Baptizing establishes Christ’s presence. Teaching underscores the core of discipleship.

The Great Commissions:

  1. Matthew 28:18-20 – Go, make disciples, baptizing, teaching.
  2. John 20:21 – As the Father has sent Me, so I am sending you
  3. Mark 16:15-18 – And preach the gospel to all creation.
  4. Luke 24:44-49 – Repentance and forgiveness of sin will be preached…beginning at Jerusalem.
  5. Acts 1:8 – You shall receive power…you shall be my witnesses…

Tell Them Why: (Luke 19:10, Mark 10:45, John 3:17) if a person knows why, he can bear almost any how.

Show Them How and Do It With Them: Jesus command was to come and follow Me.

  1. Come and See – Tell them what, Tell them why.
  2. Come and follow Me – Show them how and Do it with them.
  3. Come and be with Me – Let them do it and Deploy them.

Let Them Do It: here is where multiplication often falls down (Matthew 10:1).

Deployment: Maybe only 10 percent reach this level. Why? About 50% never leave their comfort zones called “come and see” (just attenders). 90% of the remaining 50% move into the “come and follow Me” phase.

The Foundation for Ministry Skills:

  1. Character: the content of the heart. This goes nowhere without character.
  2. Faithfulness: a nonnegotiable prerequisite for leadership (1 Corinthians 4:2, Luke 16:10, 2 Timothy 2:2).
  3. Spiritual Gifts and Suitability: those who excel in this “come and follow Me” phase are the pool from which the disciple-making pastor fishes for leaders.

Ministry Skills: feed those chosen for leadership back into the system, giving them hands-on experience.

  1. Can effectively communicate Scripture (2 Timothy 2:2).
  2. Can effectively manage – the ability to get work done through others.
  3. Can motivate and inspire – challenging energy toward solutions.
  4. Can counsel others (Romans 15:14, Colossians 1:28) – instructing and admonishing.
  5. Can correct others (2 Timothy 2:23-26).

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Disciple-Making Pastor, Part 5

The Role of the Disciple Making Pastor:

The pastor is to shepherd. (elder, bishop, and pastor are generally used synonymously).

Presbuteros, are people to whom the care of the church is committed (Acts 14:23, 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Timothy 5:17, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-3).

Episkopos, is a function of elders to give oversight and leadership to the church (1 Timothy 3:1).

Poimen, are elders who pastor the church, feeding the flock, teaching the Word and protecting the church from within and without (1 Peter 5:1, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:11).

Two major functions:

  1. Oversight: to rule – proistemi, to stand before the church (1 Timothy 5:17) or have charge over (1 Thessalonians 5:12); to labor – to work hard (1 Thessalonians 5:12); to lead – hegeomai, the description of leadership responsibility of watching over souls (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24).
  2. Pastoring: to care (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:1-3); to protect (Acts 20:28, 2 Timothy 2:24, 1 Thessalonians 5:14); to teach (2 Timothy 2:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, 1Timothy 5:17).

The Disciple-Making Pastor’s Functional Role:
The trigger mechanism that sets the whole process in motion (Ephesians 4:11-16). The pastor as coach.

  1. Preparation as top priority: preparing God’s people.
  2. Proper identification of God’s people: for the works of service.
  3. Pastor/Teacher, not Pastor/Teller: bringing people in to the ministry, not just sending them out. Effective preaching leads to effective ministry is a myth.
  4. Goal-oriented leadership: until the body is built up, and in unity, which is measurable.
  5. Creation of a growing environment: pointing out progress and where thing may have gone wrong, having a passion for excellence.

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