My biggest church planting regret

The other day someone asked me a great question, “What’s your biggest regret when you first started your church?”

It was an easy answer: failing to get a church planting coach.

I’m not sure what it was at the time – maybe it was I didn’t fully understand what a coach really is or does or that I felt I had so much to do in starting a church I didn’t think I had the time. Regardless, I wish I would have had someone who would sit with me and intentionally ask questions, press in a little bit and help me navigate through some of the complex dynamics of starting a new faith community. In the long run, it would have been extremely helpful.

I am a big believer in collaboration, learning and reading from other pastors, leaders and church starters who have gone before. I read dozens of books on church planting. Sat down with scores of pastors. Had phone conversations with a lot of church planters across the country. And I thought that would be enough, but it wasn’t.

It wasn’t until I had someone coach me long after we started Renew that I realized how coaching fills a unique role that reading and grabbing coffee with a seasoned pastor couldn’t do (as great as those things are). I finally saw the incredible benefit that having a church/church planting coach could be.

If you are a church planter, pastor or leader in almost any capacity, you are well aware of the need for purposeful and, sometimes, formal direction regarding vision and execution. Let me encourage you not to repeat the mistake I made.

I believe in the value of coaching enough that I went a step further: a while back, I completed an intense training course to become a life coach through Creative Results Management (developed by Keith E. Webb). I had no idea how much I would enjoy it, nor (surprisingly) did I realize how beneficial it would be for those who asked me to coach them.

Over the next several posts I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned both in the training, as well a few lessons I’ve learned while coaching other pastors and church planters.