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Gospel Coach: Shepherding Leaders to Glorify God Paperback – April 28, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
As I first read the book I was impressed with the pastoral heart and the focus on the Gospel as the agent of transformation in our daily lives. We should never underestimate the power of the Gospel, but it happens nonetheless, even to pastors. This book brings that back clearly into focus and adds in some very practical ways to move Gospel knowledge to Gospel action and transformation.
This book is in a sense a road map for life coaching with the Gospel as the lens through which we view that process. While the book is fantastic, getting to one of the trainings will take it to a whole new level beyond that. While the intent of both the book and the training is for coaching others, it goes beyond that and had a great impact on pushing me to examine my own faith and how to better live a life that reflects the good news of Jesus Christ in all that I do. It pushes the user to make things actionable - it isn't enough to know you need to change, you have to take action.
I also appreciate that this book is more than just pious spirituality. It intends to change all areas and aspects of life. It has been helping me re-frame my need to get into better shape for instance.
If you are a pastor this is almost in the "must read" category in my opinion. If you lead other people it fits that same category as well. If you simply want to grow in your day-to-day living out your faith in Jesus Christ this is an exceptional tool as well.
Coaching is a key tool in disciple making, equipping new leaders, and growing existing leaders/staff. This book is a great aid to those ends. It is infinitely practical and immediately applicable throughout the process. Not even a third of the way through the process with the first person I am coaching and we are starting to see some wonderful progress in their application of the Gospel to their life and growth.
The book starts out making a compelling argument that every church leader needs a coach. It then spends a good chunk of pages on the Gospel and how sin effects the Church and its leaders. From there it moves into showing how Gospel transformation is different than performance-driven leadership. It pushes us as Christians to take the focus off of ourselves.
Much of the rest of the book is focused on apply the Gospel to our lives (and/or the lives of those we are coaching) using the biblical shepherding analogy to great effect.
Thomas and Wood tell us why we need coaches and provide a bunch of helfpul/practical ways to help our coaches do their job. However the thing that makes this book stand out is that it isn’t simply practical adivce, its practical advice rooted in the truth of the gospel. Coaching in light of the gospel; “A gospel coach provides Christian leaders a theological foundation and a practical system to develop and equip other leaders in the local church to make disciples and to shepherd them to glorify God and to effectively lead.” If you want to raise up these kinds of leaders read this book. If you want to raise up leaders who not only make other disciples but make other leaders, read this book.
(Note: This was my top "Ministry" book of 2012)
Scott and Wood give another approach to coaching described as "gospel coaching" where the good news of the gospel permeates both the coach and the person being mentored. Instead of "performance-centered living" (63), the person being mentored moves to "gospel-centered living" (69-70) where the roots are found in our being in Christ. This means realizing all that I have in Christ and living on that identity.
This does not lead to a passive life style since this "gospel-centered life" has as its goal the worship of God and is empowered by the Holy Spirit (77).
The effective coach is a "shepherd-leader" (chapter six) and out of this flows the four qualities of a shepherd: knowing, feeding, leading, and protecting the disciple leader.
The coach is also concerned to help those being mentored to avoid the idols of power, approval, comfort, and security (69). The authors state their concern that "ministry leaders often drink a poisonous cocktail of narcissism and isolation" (69). Gospel-centered mentoring deals with the person, spiritual, and mission aspects of the disciple-leader (97).
There are six appendices where this type of gospel-centered coaching is worked out in practice.
How much I wish I would have had this help when seeking to help other church planters and pastors as well as seeing how this works out in my life. It will certainly make a difference as I help in mentoring church planters in the future.