Posted by: whereintheworldismike | December 7, 2012

Paradigm Shift Needed

First I want to say that we are all devastated by what happened while MJ and I were in Sapporo. It snowed a lot and was very cold but the big news was finding out that A2’s Hokkaido Team Leader’s son Hero has leukemia. We are all praying daily for the little guy (2 years old) to get well and be able to hold up during what one friend who also had cancer called, “A God-filled horror.”Paradigm shift

The theme of the JCGI Network Pastors’ Graduation assembly is in the title. In Japan the traditional church is withering.  Japan is not post-Modern–never having been Modern. And Japan is not post-Christian because it was never Christian. However, evangelism in America is looking more and more like evangelism in Japan–even though America is both post-modern and post-Christian. But more and more people I encounter in southern California have a worldview similar to the Japanese I encounter when I’m over there. Neither have a monotheistic worldview. Neither likes the exclusivity of Jesus. Such people must “taste and see the Lord is good.” They must experience the reality of God through Spirit-filled Christians who display the fruit of the Spirit and are not shy about the Reason for their peace, joy, etc.

I talked with one pastor in Tokyo who has a good sized church, but the worship service looked like one from the 1960’s. I floated some innovative ideas by him when MJ and I met with him and it was obvious the Holy Spirit was working as we prayed for revival in Japan and America. A scientist in his congregation was interested in my UFO seminar on PowerPoint so I sent it to him with advice of how to run it for pre-evangelism.  I also sent him the survey we run after every presentation. An interesting result from attender responses is that they are very interested in knowing the God who made the Universe. However, not one of them expresses interest in studying the Bible to know God. Hence the conclusion that Christians need to approach their unbelieving friends with a lifestyle testimony first and then application of the Word to fit the situation. Personal transformation is another big theme for the uninitiated. Our lives are speaking so loudly that others cannot hear our words…

Every believer is a priest or priestess of the Church Universal called to declare the excellencies of the One who called them (1 Peter 2:9). Unfortunately, so much of the Church in developed countries including the USA has used lecture to impart head knowledge almost exclusively resulting in pew sitters who don’t reach out–or at least, don’t reach out effectively–to those outside the camp. One solution is to incorporate more coaching in discipleship. Coaching helps people discover the truth for themselves so then they have a vested interest in applying what they’ve discovered.

Here’s some cool stuff from Bob Logan re: Coaching: is it biblical?

Coaching assumes that each believer has the capacity to hear from the Holy Spirit for themselves. The Apostle Paul modeled that listening and discernment process for us: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9:1). We are to respect others enough to assume that they too can hear from the Holy Spirit and do not need us to tell them what to do.

Coaching provides a safe environment in which people are actively encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit. Set aside time for listening to God has always been a priority for those who believe. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Just as Jesus spent time listening to the Father, we too need to set aside time and space that will allow us to listen for the voice of God.

Coaching provides a way to hear from God in the context of community and relationship. We weren’t designed to go it alone. We need others to bounce our ideas off. Others play a role in our hearing from God: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25).

Coaching mirrors the method of Jesus. Jesus listened and asked questions in the context of relationships, allowing them to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly:  “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’  Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matt. 16:13-16).

Coaching assumes that God has different plans for different people.  Coaching isn’t one-size-fits-all. All plans are tailor made and flexible. What one person is supposed to do isn’t necessarily the same as what another person is supposed to do: “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” (Mark 5:18-19)

Coaching assumes that each believer has the capacity to hear from the Holy Spirit for themselves. The Apostle Paul modeled that listening and discernment process for us: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 9:1). We are to respect others enough to assume that they too can hear from the Holy Spirit and do not need us to tell them what to do.

Coaching provides a safe environment in which people are actively encouraged to listen to the Holy Spirit. Set aside time for listening to God has always been a priority for those who believe. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Just as Jesus spent time listening to the Father, we too need to set aside time and space that will allow us to listen for the voice of God.

Coaching provides a way to hear from God in the context of community and relationship. We weren’t designed to go it alone. We need others to bounce our ideas off. Others play a role in our hearing from God: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb 10:24-25).

Coaching mirrors the method of Jesus. Jesus listened and asked questions in the context of relationships, allowing them to draw their own conclusions and act accordingly:  “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say the Son of Man is?’ They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ ‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’  Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God’” (Matt. 16:13-16).

Coaching assumes that God has different plans for different people.  Coaching isn’t one-size-fits-all. All plans are tailor made and flexible. What one person is supposed to do isn’t necessarily the same as what another person is supposed to do: “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, ‘Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’” (Mark 5:18-19)

When we coach pastors, church planters, and sometimes cp team members, we use the acrostic GROW:

First, we start with questions to help the one we’re coaching get a handle on their Goals (What would you do for God if you could not fail?)

Second, we ask questions about their Reality (Would your spouse support your goal to _____?)

Third, we ask questions about their Options (What factors weigh in against your goal? What factors support your pursuit of your goal?)

Finally, we ask question about their Will Do (What step will you take toward your goal?)

A2 church planting missionaries are always exchanging coaching questions. My friend and  colleague J in Okinawa simplified and came up with these 5 coaching questions that he claims work in any coaching situation. I’m eager to try them. How about you?

1. What’s working?

2. What’s not working?

3. What are you learning?

4. What needs to change? (this is a huge one calling for honesty and a will to follow through)

5. What are the next steps?

If the church would just focus on developing obedient, empowered believers, Jesus would build his church–he promised.

 

 


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