“Every church leader needs a coach,” according to Gospel Coach, a book by Scott Thomas and Tom Wood. “And every church leader needs to be coaching other leaders.”
Most church leaders would agree. But most would also say that it’s hard to find a coach, and that lack a model for how to train others. Gospel Coach provides the model.
We need help to become competent, but we also need someone to shepherd our souls. “The truth is, you can pay someone $300 an hour to coach you in making decisions about budgets, bylaws, buildings, boards, and Bible studies. But even after finding solutions to these technical challenges, a leader can still feel miserable, living in a state of hopeless anxiety that is devoid of God’s power and presence,” write Thomas and Wood.
As the title suggests, this book focuses on applying the gospel. “It is an intentional relationship for working out the implications of the gospel in a person’s life.” Scott and Thomas unpack the gospel, and make a strong case for coaching in the gospel, by the gospel, through the gospel, and for the sake of Christ. Gospel Coach helps us identify common ministry idols, and avoid the dangers of a performance-centered life. The gospel applies in three area’s of the leader’s life: personal, spiritual, and missional.
The central section of the book describes a biblical model of coaching, based on the ancient image of shepherding. A good shepherd knows, feeds, leads, and protects. This section of the book by itself makes the book worth buying. It applies not just to our coaching relationships, but to the way we pastor and serve our families.
The final section gives practical guidance on the coaching sessions. It helps the coach lead disciples to create a gospel life plan. The plan covers four areas: calling, goals, action steps, and stewardship. The authors describe the structure of a coaching session, and give practical resources that a coach can begin to use.
Since publishing Gospel Coach, Thomas has released a supplemental workbook with more resources.
Gospel Coach is a practical guide for how we can disciple others. It’s one of the most rooted and practical books I’ve read, and it’s on one of the most important topics for any pastor or leader.
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