Every leader needs a coach!

Every leader needs a coach!

The problem church planters, pastors & leaders face is understanding the value of having a coach.

  • Read this 2009 article from the Harvard Business Review entitled: “What Can Coaches Do For You?”
  • If you are seeking a coach; this article provides research on the do’s and don’ts of a good coach.
  • CAUTION – don’t get distracted by the context the article is written from, nor with the business-side of coaching.

If you would like to connect with InFocus please click here to schedule an appointment.

4 Compelling Words to Create Movement

4 Compelling Words to Create Movement

For the past two years I’ve had the privilege of coaching Mike McDonald of Grace Anglican Church in Fleming Island, FL. His education and background in civil engineering has served him well prior to moving into ministry. After graduating from Trinity Seminary in Pittsburgh in December of 2007 he took the call to lead Grace Anglican Church on January 1, 2008.

On January 6, 2019 Mike preached on Luke 4:42-44. In the sermon he wove the vision for Grace to move from a season of “survival” into a season of “abundance”. This is what he shared that Sunday.

After praying for the Lord to give me a word or phrase for 2019, I felt like the Lord gave me this phrase: “Abundance for Others”. I think this is significant because we need to change our corporate narrative from “Are we going to make it?” to “What should we do with it?”  Things were really tight for our church in the early years, but we’ve grown quite strong.  I believe the Lord wants us to use this abundance for others.

In Luke 4:42-44, Jesus tells his home town that he must go to other towns as well.  He came to preach the Good News to them also.  The Lord is on mission and we should be too.

Over the past six months, the staff and I have been refining our vision statement to be even clearer and nuanced to us specifically.  We’ve narrowed it down to four words, which are mostly actual (meaning who we already are) but also aspirational (who we want to become).

Extending Grace

Extending means pushing the reach of our ministries out further.

Grace is our message about Good News for sinners.

Discipling Generations

Discipling is intentionally helping faith along in others, per Matthew 28:18-20.

Generations means that our ministry reaches all ages.

The most “aspirational” of the words is the first, extending.  It’s time to reach further than our island.  There are two practical applications here.  The first is that we must start making practical plans to plant some new churches in our rapidly-growing area.  Our diocese is asking for our help in this regard.  The second is that we start to see the Alpha course as the tool we use to share the gospel with those who are not yet here.

Leaders want to know how to move from survival to abundance. Mike has spent considerable time in prayer, reflection, discernment, research, conversations and envisioning the future. The sermon was the culmination of all of the things mentioned above. It marks the beginning of Grace’s church planting journey.

Let me suggest five questions to help you move the dream of extending your reach through church planting from an aspiration, to reality:

  1. Reflect – “Why does our city/region need another church like ours?”
  2. Ask the Lord – “Are we being asked to plant?”
  3. Respond – “If we are not being asked to plant, who is?”
  4. Discern – “How can we participate?”
  5. Act – “What is the next step?”

Develop the Leaders Around You

Develop the Leaders Around You

Over the last 6 weeks we have been reviewing the 6 steps of the leadership development process: LEARN-EMPOWER-ASSESS-DECIDE-EVALUATE-REVIEW. To take the complimentary “6 Steps Effective Leaders Take” Assessment CLICK HERE. In this guide you will find a self-assessment for each of the 6 steps with a planning exercise at the end for you to use with your team

At InFocus we know you want to be an effective leader.

The problem for many is feeling overwhelmed, afraid and doubtful you might not have what it takes to develop the leaders around you. We believe it shouldn’t be a heart-rending struggle to fulfill the Great Commission, especially when God is in it. We understand how challenging and lonely it can feel which is why for over thirty years we’ve been getting in the trenches with pastors, church planters and business leaders to equip them with the tools to be successful.

In response to feedback we’ve received from leaders, InFocus is piloting an Online Course on the Leadership Development process that we have been highlighting the last several weeks. If you missed that series click Develop Your Leadership Effectiveness to read each of the last 6 blogs. Also, if you have not downloaded the assessment mentioned above – CLICK HERE.

If you want to learn more on being en effective leader and developing the leaders around you, join me on January 28 for a free, 25 minute FaceBook Live Event. CLICK HERE to register.

#6 Develop your Leadership Effectiveness – REVIEW

#6 Develop your Leadership Effectiveness – REVIEW


Life-long learners constantly cycle through a developmental process to sharpen their leadership skills. It may be intuitive or it may be intentional. But the 6 steps are real: LEARN-EMPOWER-ASSESS-DECIDE-EVALUATE-REVIEW.  The sixth step in the leadership developmental process is REVIEW: review the progress, people and success of a project.

It is important to pause and review. The three aspects of review mentioned above will help the team improve their performance in the future.

  • Progress – what changed?
  • People – who contributed?
  • Success – how to celebrate?

The most important aspect of the REVIEW process is to identify ways to improve in the future. They may be tiny adjustments or large scale interventions. The idea is that over time, significant change is possible.

Here is a real and present project that InFocus is involved in called COLLECTIVES, which are focused learning intensives to train you, and the leaders around you.

The first Collective was launched last Spring. After launching our first one on Disciplemaking and the second on Church Planting, we considered ways to improve. One of the changes we are introducing in January is our pilot Online Leadership Development Course. That means we will not only have the live course; but we will make a training kit available to leaders who want their entire team to experience the training together, through a series of videos.

We arrived at the idea when a need in the Collectives surfaced. It has been extremely helpful for leaders to go through the course. However, when the leader attempts to introduce the concepts to their team, there is a gap. That gap can be filled when the team engages in the Leadership Development process together! For more information on what is coming up, please click here.

The discipline of reviewing each Collective and surfacing needs along the way have accelerated our development. Without the important aspect of capturing the learnings and incorporating new ideas, most teams will keep doing the same things over and over again – expecting different results!

REVIEW is one way leaders create high-performing team.

This brings our blog series, Developing Your Leadership Effectiveness, to an end. As a gesture of appreciation in next week’s blog I will post an assessment for your use based on the six developmental steps we’ve been discussing: LEARN-EMPOWER-ASSESS-DECIDE-EVALUATE-REVIEW. Look for that next week.

Until then, I wish you a very Happy New Year!

#3 Develop Your Leadership Effectiveness – ASSESS

#3 Develop Your Leadership Effectiveness – ASSESS


Life-long learners constantly cycle through a developmental process to sharpen their leadership skills. It may be intuitive or it may be intentional. But the 6 steps are real: LEARN-EMPOWER-ASSESS-DECIDE-EVALUATE-REVIEW.  The third step in the leadership developmental process is ASSESS. The word assess refers to that need for leaders to assess the vision, their goals and the team members performance.

Over the last several decades a lot has been written about vision. I like to draw on Joel Barker’s quote:

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.

Vision includes three elements. More importantly, these three elements must be inextricably connected to the vision. The larger the gap, the greater disparity between your vision and your team members – the higher the probability is that your team will NOT produce the expected outcomes you desire. Here are the three elements:

  • Strategies
  • Goals
  • Targets

As a leader, you are constantly addressing the proximity of the vision to your strategies, goals and targets.  Here are five questions to ask team members to assess that gap:

  1. Where is our team positioned currently?
  2. What is the gap between our current position and our vision?
  3. What do we need to do in the short-term that will help us to achieve that vision?
  4. In the medium-term?
  5. In the long-term?

Assessing is an important step in the Leadership Development Process. But Assessing in itself is not enough. In fact, going to a workshop, listening to a podcast or even receiving a degree in leadership does not guarantee a person can lead. I’ve found that many people have knowledge but lack the experience of actually leading a team. Applying the knowledge and learning from success as well as failure is critical in the development process.

Questions for your reflection:

  1. When was the last time you assessed your team’s current vision?
  2. When was the last time you assessed your team member’s performance?
  3. What steps do you need to take to close the gap between your vision and the actions of your team?

The next step in the journey to develop as a leader is – Decide.  What are you going to measure and how will it be measured? This is where we will pick-up next week.

InFocus is responding to the need to help leaders empower their team through our Live Courses called Collectives.  Learn about the 2019 Collectives.  Each Collective will engage you in the 6 Step Leadership Development process above.

Related Leadership Development Resource:

Effective Leadership Storyboard