Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Every solution doesn't need a proof text

It's human nature for people to spend too much time focusing on their critics, and I am human. I came across such a critic who complained that my book on coaching bivocational ministers didn't make use of the Bible. He didn't elaborate on what he meant so I can't respond to specific concerns he might have had. Recognizing that assumptions are dangerous things I will still assume he thinks that every problem requires a "Thus saith the Lord" response. They don't.

Of course, Scripture should serve as the basis for our core values in life and everything we do should be God-centered and done in such a way that will glorify Him. At the same time, the Bible does not specifically address every issue that comes up in our lives. Every solution does not require a proof text.

In the book I mentioned one bivocational minister I coached whose wife was upset that some repairs and maintenance on the house were being neglected. He was struggling to find the time to do that while working a full-time job and pastoring a church.  Sound familiar?  However, there was an even deeper issue at work in his life. He wasn't convinced he was effective as a pastor, and as we dug deeper into this he admitted that he lacked a strong personal spiritual life.

As we looked at possible solutions he was able to identify two problems that he felt were major hindrances: finding the time to focus on his spiritual development and finding something that would help him start on this journey. We began looking at his schedule to find ways to create enough margin in his life to focus on his own spiritual growth. Finally, he decided to ask his wife to help hold him accountable. The remainder of that chapter reveals how this developed over the next several months. By the end of our coaching relationship his spiritual life had improved, he felt better about his ministry, and as our final coaching call was being done, some individuals from his church were there helping him make some repairs to his house.

He didn't need 30 scriptures on the need for spiritual growth. He already knew he needed to grow spiritually. He had enough guilt; he needed practical solutions around time management and how to pursue spiritual growth. He needed a coach who could help him realize that he needed to do what he would have told anyone else to do who came to him with the same needs in his or her life.

The book includes case studies of ministers, mostly bivocational, I have coached. It examines the issues they raised and some of the solutions we helped them identify. I believe every one of those solutions were God-honoring and scriptural even if they didn't come with a proof text.

I have found coaching to be a very helpful tool for ministers who are stuck or who want to develop even more effective ministries. I have found it especially helpful for bivocational ministers as it can fit in their busy lifestyles. This book was written to serve as a tool for ministers to see how others in their situations found solutions to their problems. My prayer is that you will find help in overcoming your own challenges from these case studies.  You can order the book here.

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