This week I want to introduce you to the perspective that the practice of Coaching holds central. In some ways this view is markedly different from the traditional Presbyterian Pastoral view. As a pastor, I have been trained to look at the world through the reality of sin. That sounds so strange to say, but it is true. Routinely, I am faced with the fact that my ministry and peoples lives intersect at disappointing and painful times. Often, struggles with bad choices and sinful behavior lead people to spiritual conversations. Couple this practical reality with the over arching theological belief of total depravity, and one could easily find themselves in a dark and desperate place.
Being in the dark places with people and helping believers address the sin of their lives through surrender can be extremely powerful. It wasn’t until I fully understood my sinful nature that I could embrace the amazing grace of God in Christ. There is also an unfortunate belief that I, as a Minister, dispense absolution. Of course our tradition doesn’t hold to that belief, but we do see all believers playing a role in awareness making. Yet, the extent to which we “brow beat” ourselves with regard to our sin can also render us impotent in our lives. If we only focus on the brokenness of our lives, and overlook the healing that Christ brings, we do ourselves a disservice.
In coaching, the relationship starts in a different place. A coach begins, not at the broken sinful part of a person, but rather with the belief that the coachee is creative, resourceful and whole. The creative and resourceful parts of this equation are easy for us to accept in the theoretical. After all we know that God has given us gifts to be used in the world. We often use these God-given gifts in creative manners. This is true for all. Medical professionals, painters, housewives, right down the line, use what God has given them to accomplish their calling. Of course, we also forget this fact and doubt our ability. It is the coaches role to come alongside the coachee and be their champion. Now I’m not talking about a shallow, self-help understanding. I have a deep commitment to the idea that everyone is able to change their thinking to change their lives. This is amplified by the fact that I believe that everyone has a unique connection to God, and that connection is transformative in nature.
By believing that everyone is creative, resourceful and whole, we affirm that people aren’t a problem to be solved or fixed. For some, this is a very different view of the people around us. In fact, I would contend that much of what the church does is geared to fixing the problem that is people. There is a great freedom when we realize that God and the individual are the ones who make life changes and not us. This puts us in a place of loving and partnering with others towards becoming the best self we can be. Of course I would add, the best self that God is leading us to be.
Yet, there is the problem of sin. If we affirm that sin touches everything we do, can we really call ourselves whole? I would say we can. Not because we are perfect or sinless. We are whole because God has initiated something new when we become Christ’s own. The Spirit of God works in and through us in such a way that when we are in touch with the Spirit, goodness and mercy prevail over sin and death. It is easier to simply hold on to the view that says, “we are all junk and cannot accomplish any good.” That mindset gives us an out when it comes to changing our lives and behavior. There is great power in the idea that, through the creative love of God, we are able to become more than our sin.
In coaching, it is of critical importance to help the coachee discover and embrace the ways they are creative, resourceful and whole. Those who have been part of the Christ Presbyterian Church congregation know that this is something we have been working at for almost eight years. As pastor, I have been trying to help our congregation discover the creative, resourceful and whole reality that God has placed in our midst. We are so much more than our past. The course of our vital future is plotted, not by the past, but by the God who is creative, resourceful and whole.
This mindset is truly beneficial for both individual and the organization. Perhaps we can give up on our inferiority complexes and realize that God is working through us. I look forward to continuing to build up the positive reality of our lives together.
- What are some of the ways you see yourself as being creative, resourceful and whole?
- What are some of the ways you see the Congregation you are in as being creative, resourceful and whole?