Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Hello everyone,

Pray the holiday season will be comforting and enjoyable.

One of the active systems that we use to support church plants is coaching. We're familiar with coaching in a sports context, but in a church context it's a bit strange to us, so I thought a short bit of background might be helpful.

For the past 5 years we’ve been delving into the church planting systems that have grown up in the US. In the 1980s starting a new church changed from the home based, mom & pop with the kids in the living room to a more public arena activity. It was a rugged activity and failure rates were in the 80% range.

Out of the desire to see the kingdom grow and to minimize the spiritual damage of failed plants, Bob Logan, Steve Ogne, Aubrey Malphurs and others began to explore systems that would reduce some of the risk. The three central systems that have become the heart of a planned approach to church planting are: 1) assessment, 2) training and 3) coaching. The first two are no strangers to us in the foreign missions context. The coaching, however, has not been part of our support agenda. We’ve felt like the sponsoring, supporting churches handled that. We mis-fired on that assumption.

Since 2000 the systems approach to planting churches in the US has grown into a marketable industry. The New Church Conference in Orlando, for example, was an in-house event for Christian Churches just 5 years ago with about 200 people attending. Last year there were 1,800 people from every spectrum of Christianity attending. The systems approach has also turned around the survival rate from 80% failure to 80% success at year 3 (Stetzer, Church Plant Survivability and Health Survey, 2007).

Our experience with Kairos is that the coaching is both the glue that keeps church planters functioning and the edge that helps them be more effective. Our journey into coaching is still fairly young, but we’ve learned a few key ideas.

1) Coaching for a church plant, or for a mission work, is more directed than life coaching. We speak of “coaching towards.”

2) To learn to coach well is a long term growth process, best done by being coached while coaching others.

3) Coaching is a tool that is really cutting away the stubborn, isolationist, “I can do it myself and don’t need anyone else” mentality that I have experienced (and promoted at times) in our fellowship. We our thoroughly enjoying the highly networked, interconnected relationships that our coaching system is developing among the church planters with whom Kairos is working.

Last month we invited MRN to join us for a seminar with Gary Rohrmayer, national church planting director for the Baptist General Conference, at what we called our “Making a Movement Seminar” for the Kairos leadership team and our sponsoring church. Gary challenged us to not only develop our systems (we are developing 10 clearly identified systems), but to be deliberate in infusing all of them with spiritual dynamics.

We’re not claiming expertise with coaching, whatever expertise we have comes from the fact we may be just a few steps further down the path. Nor are we promoting Kairos as a “coaching certification” organization. I do think we have some good insights and experiences to share and we are really keen on deepening our partnership with others.




Jason Campbell said...

Coaching for us has been the difference between success and failure for Cascade Hills. Without an accessible source of wisdom and practical experience, we would have trod down some dangerous paths out of ignorance and inexperience. We have hardly done everything right, but very many of our most successful enterprises have been the result of a systematic discussion with coaches who ask the right questions.

Don't try to plant a church without a coach.

wbsKit said...

Dr. Granberg,
I have been reading your blog for several weeks now. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences, knowledge and wisdom with others. I look forward to reading more as I sit at your feet and learn.

Kit Lawson
World Bible School
VP Internet