By: Mark Larson

Reaching the non-Christian students of your community is a tall task, and no offense but it’s too big of an endeavor for you to accomplish on your own. At the core of our understanding of ministry is the importance of relationships and the more people in relationship the greater your potential impact. You know that building teams of adults who empower and student leaders is at the center of what we do, but let’s be honest, that can be rough at times!

We’ve all experienced the pain of empowering a leader to lead a game only to watch it descend into an awkward experience of boredom and confusion for everyone. Or we’ve poured into a Christian student hoping to see relational evangelism expand only to watch them dominate a small group discussion and make our non-Christian students wonder what on earth “washed in the blood” means.

As painful as these bumps in the road of leader development are, I have found them to actually be the key for coaching and the ongoing training of our teams.

Your team doesn’t have the time for a Saturday marathon training session each month, but ministry sure can’t wait until everyone is “fully” trained (which never happens anyways!) either, so what to do?

Those painful bumps in the road of a poorly led game or a mismanaged small group are perfect opportunities to coach the members of your team. Ongoing coaching is an essential piece to the leadership development puzzle we’re all trying to figure out.

Just a few reasons that come to mind are:

  • Retention-As great and essential as extended times of training are, your leaders won’t remember all (or half unfortunately) that you discuss. Small doses of situational coaching over the long haul will improve how much they remember. There’s a lot they need to learn and there’s no way they can learn it all in a couple sessions.
  • Application-It’s one thing to hear a principle or concept (Be energetic! Articulate! Be concise!) on how to lead a game, it’s a whole other story for a leader to bomb a game and realize their need for improvement in those areas. Helping them apply these principles to real life situations of need greatly ups the likelihood of growth.
  • Clarity-No one likes to fail, and our leaders know when they drop a ball or don’t live up to our ministry ideals. As a result some struggle with a vague sense of not being good enough or the “right fit” for CL. Giving individual attention in coaching helps them go beyond the fog of not being the “right fit” to the clear application they need.   
  •  Fulfillment-It’s a rough thing to be a part of an organization and feel underutilized, not equipped and unappreciated. Developing the art of ongoing individual coaching will greatly reduce the likelihood of those problems developing as you can address any of those issues as they pop up.
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