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Shepherding Shepherds

Coaching, shepherding 

Who is shepherding the shepherds?  The reality for many is no one!  Church members need to be cared for by compassionate godly shepherds.  Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  1 Peter 5:2 continues with the shepherding theme, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;”  Maybe the most neglected and uncared for members of the local church are the ministry leaders?     

According to Scott Thomas and Tom Wood, “Every church leader needs a coach.  And every church leader needs to be coaching others!”  In their book Gospel Coach they say, “Coaching ministry leaders is a key aspect to their ongoing effectiveness as shepherds of the Lord’s flock.  We believe coaching is necessary because it is a process of imparting encouragement and skills to a leader in order to fulfill their ministry role—something every leader needs—but it is done in the context of a gospel relationship…the entire flock suffers when its shepherds are not healthy.”

My good friend Danny Kirk says, Everybody needs a coach…that’s a bold statement!  Everybody?  Well, if you are someone who believes that God has created you for His purpose and your desire is to move forward and complete God’s plan and goals for your life, then a Christian coach can help you get there. The term “coach” comes from the transportation era of stagecoaches and rail coaches in which the “coach” literally transported a person from one place to another. In today’s context, a coach is a person who initiates an ongoing conversation that benefits the other person and moves them forward through discovery, learning, and creating a doable action plan.”  

Robert E. Logan defines coaching as: “The process of coming alongside a person or team to help them discover God’s agenda for their life and ministry, and then cooperating with the Holy Spirit to see that agenda become a reality.”   Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl in Transformissional Coaching define coaching this way, “Coaching, as we see it, enables transformation, which in turn leads to missional ministry.  Great coaches come alongside leaders so that leaders can be transformed into the image of Christ and join Him on His redemptive mission.”  Coaching can make a huge difference in anyone’s life, especially leaders, because it is shepherding as directed by the scriptures.  

Felling alone and separated from others is one of the greatest dangers to leaders.  Studies have shown that the aloneness factor can lead to arrogance (I’m the only one that has figured this out), which can lead to addiction (I have to find something to feel my void of relationships), and then even on to adultery (the acceptance of a cheap substitute for satisfaction).  The other side of the equation is Ecc 4:10, “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.”  From a recent study on church planter survivability Ed Stetzer said, “Planters who met weekly with a mentor…led churches that were almost twice the size of those who had no mentor.”

Coaching is a biblically based way to encourage one another in the ministry that has also proven to be very effective in keeping leaders on track.  More importantly though is the fact that it helps the one being coached to remain spiritually healthy.   You can be coached and you can be trained to be a better coach.  Feel free to contact me (, Danny Kirk ( or Kirk Shelton (  Remember that every leader needs a coach and every leader needs to be coaching others.  A coach helps you to remain healthy through accountability in your personal, spiritual, and missional life.

Healthy churches shepherd and care for their shepherds and their sheep!