Exhaust all resources, then ask permission before giving feedback

Exhaust all resources, then ask permission before giving feedback

The conversation goes something like this.

Coach asks: “Who is doing effective ministry in your area?” 

  • Leader responds: “Everyone is struggling with the same issues.”

Coach asks: “What other models of church are you familiar with in your region or in other parts of the country?”

  • Leader: “I’m not aware of other models.”

Coach asks: “Who do you know that could introduce you to a different way of doing church?”

  • Leader: “I don’t know anyone.”

Coach asks: “Would you be open to learning about one leader who has an effective model?”

And the conversation continues.  I use that question as a last resort so that I don’t short-change the self-discovery process. The guiding principle I follow when I provide feedback is:

  1. The leader must exhaust all their resources.
  2. There is the possibility the leader could do some real damage.
  3. Permission has been given by the leader to the coach.

Honestly, the temptation to give advice is always present.  But I know deep down that “struggle” is the best teacher!

What do you do when you come to that juncture in your coaching?  Under what circumstances do you give advice?  I would love to hear what you do.

If you are interested to hear about a different approach to doing church, watch this 17 minute video with Dave Ferguson interviewing Ralph Moore.  Ralph discusses some of the tensions accompanying church planting as a movement leader.  Learn how a church committed to reproducing disciples, leaders and churches keeps the main thing, the MAIN thing!.



Leadership Tip #2 – measure what matters

Leadership Tip #2 – measure what matters

What about you?  

It is easy to measure the low lying fruit.  For instance, church leadership will measure things like worship attendance, offerings, and baptisms.  But what if you looked below the surface.  At my home church an important metric we track is the percentage of adults who regularly participate in a small group.  Annual engagement in 2016 was 94% (click Crosspoint Church for report).  The church launched over a decade ago with the goal of focusing resources (time, energy, people) to do a few things well; which has paid off at Crosspoint – a church of small groups vs. a church with small groups!

Consider the following challenge:  

  • Reflect on the measures below the surface that will have the greatest impact on the health and growth of your:
    • leadership
    • team
    • organization
  • Then tie those to outcomes you are striving to achieve e.g. making small groups a priority in my example.
  • Brainstorm ideas of how you can impact that area over the course of the next 30-60-90 days.

Effective leaders understand the principle: “Say No – to say Yes to What Matters!”  Leaders who focus their time, energy and people; regularly assess their ministry, make adjustments and forecast the future with a high degree of accuracy.  This surfaces the strategic question: What are you measuring?

Remember – you measure what matters!

What is your Return on Investment for coaching and training?

What is your Return on Investment for coaching and training?

It is easy to get excited about coaching or a training initiative without understanding the true impact.

How many times have you heard colleagues discuss a new training process or coaching resource?  And then get partway through the experience without understanding the impact on you or your organization.  Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to consider the potential Return on Investment (ROI) before you start?

Consider a coaching relationship.  When you or I establish a coach agreement we ask the leader to create goals.  Over the course of the next year we work towards achieving those goals and assess the progress at the conclusion of our time together.  Using the six levels described below you can see that we moved from Level 0 (scope, in my example) to Level 1 (reaction to the coaching process) to Level 2 (learning that occurred) to level 3 (applying the knowledge to the leader’s ministry).

There is a process to measure the ROI on training and coaching.  Most of the coaching and training done in organizations settle for Level 1 or Level 2 evaluation – a few take it to Level 3.  Here are the six levels:

  • Level 0: Inputs 
  • Level 1: Reaction 
  • Level 2: Learning 
  • Level 3: Application 
  • Level 4: Impact 
  • Level 5: Return on Investment (ROI)

Review the descriptions above and consider a coaching or training process you are leading.  Let’s say it is a leader development process that involves quarterly workshops with coaching in-between.  Whatever it is that you are currently working on (developing small group leaders), or anticipate in the near future – what level of measurement are you incorporating in your process.

I’ve discovered that leaders are eager to know the ROI on some of the training and coaching that they are engaged.  When they realize that it is possible to calculate and monetize the impact of their investment, it transforms the significance of the training/coaching because they are clear “why” they are making the investment.

Places where ROI is helpful:

  • Organization-wide leader development training
  • Coaching pastors, church planters, regional network leaders and movement leaders
  • Coach training for church planting, parent church coaches or disciple-making movements

A helpful book on ROI, entitled “Show Me the Money” provides a more complete explanation.  If you have questions, please e-mail InFocus for more information.




Coaching Question for January 2017

Coaching Question for January 2017

To kick-off the New Year, I propose a guiding question for you and those you coach to further the work of catalyzing disciplemaking movements:

What is your most fruitful activity this year to catalyze disciplemaking movements in your community?

Reflect on that for a moment.  What is your strategic focus for 2017?  …for those you coach?

I look forward to reading your response below.

A comprehensive coaching process – anchored in Christ

A comprehensive coaching process – anchored in Christ

I’ve trained leaders around the world in the coaching process (commonly known as the 5 Rs – see below) who are catalyzing disciple making movements, planting churches, empowering leaders, leading teams and pioneering networks.  A conversation with one missionary reminded me that the five elements of the coaching process are more descriptive than prescriptive.  It was evident this gifted woman was wrestling with the process.  When I gave her freedom to come up with her own language to describe the process she uses, she lit-up!

  • RELATE – Establishing a coaching relationship and agenda
  • REFLECT – Discover and explore key issues
  • REFOCUS – Determine priorities and action steps
  • RESOURCE – Provide support and encouragement
  • REVIEW – Evaluate, celebrate and revise plans

That is the way I present the 5-R coaching process.  Once people become familiar with the five elements then I challenge them to personalize it so that is fits their context.  Find language that captures the essence of what they do and how they do it.  And most of all – begin using it!

Below are five questions to help you identify the coaching process you use:

  1. How do I connect with people I coach?
  2. How do I help people analyze their situation?
  3. How do I help them envision the future?
  4. How do I help people identify resources to implement their plans?
  5. How do I help people I coach review their plans, celebrate success and capture insights?

Answers to these questions will help you uncover your coaching process.  The more transferable, the better.  If you have a process you’ve created, I’d appreciate you e-mailing me or sharing it with the InFocus coaching community below.


Level 5 Multiplying Church

Level 5 Multiplying Church

In 1988 I was a young seminary student engaged in church planting when my life intersected with an even younger college student named Tim Vink.  Tim and I met as short-term missionaries with Youth With a Mission in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  We participated in street evangelism, ministered to young adults in night clubs and connected with a variety of people in the famed Red Light District to share the life-transforming message of the Gospel.  Many late nights were spent discussing the adventures of the day, challenges of the unique spiritual dynamics in the city and our dreams for the future.  One conversation stands out to me.  When asked what he felt God had called him to do with his life, Tim’s response was to lead a church multiplication movement (his actual answer was to “disciple a denomination” but I didn’t have a category that fit that vision).

When I caught up with Tim in 1999 he was leading a church that was in the early stages of planting new churches.  Tulare Community Church is a church planting church.  Presently. Tim serves in a national capacity for his denomination where he is helping leaders embrace a church multiplication DNA.  I asked Tim recently how many churches Tulare has planted, and as of Spring 2016 the number was around 35 – and still counting.  Some of the churches that Tulare has planted are planting into the third generation.  As a network, the denomination has planted over 360 churches to-date.

Tulare Community Church is a Level 5 Church – bent on multiplying, releasing and sending.

Previously, I introduced the book “Becoming a Level FIVE Multiplying Church Field Guide” (by Todd Wilson and Dave Ferguson with Alan Hirsch) and five levels of church multiplication as follows:

  1. The primary characterization of Level 1 churches are “subtraction, scarcity, and survival.”
  2. The primary characterization of Level 2 churches are “tension, scarcity, survival, and growth.”
  3. The primary characterization of Level 3 churches are “addition, growth and accumulation.”
  4. The primary characterization of Level 4 churches are “discontent, new scorecards and reproducing at all levels.”
  5. The primary characterization of Level 5 churches are “multiplying, releasing and sending.”

I found the book with the self-assessment helpful to determine where congregations are on the multiplication continuum. Read “Becoming a Level FIVE Multiplying Church Field Guide” and administer the self-assessment to determine where you are on the multiplication continuum.  Here are a few questions to help a Level 5 church reflect and reproduce church planting movements:

  • What changes can we make to raise the bar on discipleship and lower the bar on leadership?
  • What aspects of our disciple-making and leader development processes are easily reproducible?
  • What aspects of our disciple-making and leader development processes are challenging to reproduce?
  • What steps can we take to reproduce disciples more effectively and efficiently?
  • What steps will we take?

I’ve observed that when leaders have the right DNA and are willing to remove human barriers to church multiplication, the Holy Spirit is able and willing to move rapidly in people’s hearts so that His church is empowered to fulfill the mission to disciple the nations.