The Power of a Good Coaching Question

DrRoyKing_6One of the ministries God has assigned to me for this chapter of my life is to coach congregational and non-profit ministry leaders.  After a recent appointment I was reflecting on what I had contributed.  I recalled what  the person had validated as being very helpful.  I wrote in my journal to remind me to work at getting better at offering effective coaching, “Be very careful to translate inspired intention into concrete action.”

It is so easy to get excited and  enjoying being flush with new thoughts and energy that only spin in one’s head or verbally spew out to those around us but fails to answer the questions, “So what are the next 2 to 3 steps that you need to take?”  and “When will you begin these actions?”

Change only occurs as we act on our intentions.  Faith in the power of God’s Spirit requires we risk; step out.

What has God made clear and stirred up desire to see occur?  What is you next action needed?  WHEN will you begin?

In Honor of Robertson McQuilkin: A Frequent Prayer He Prayed

Robertson McQuilkin

ROBERTSON IS NOW AT HOME… WHAT A JOY HE MUST BE KNOWING THAT WE ONLY TASTE.  

I miss my dear friend, mentor and leader.

I was listening to Robertson pray as we came to the end of our visit.  In his prayer were words that sounded like they were paraphrased from the Bible but I couldn’t identify it specifically.  As best as I can recall, and it is etched clearly in my memory because I heard him offer God the same prayer on several other visits, this is what he prayed.

“Lord, much of life is way too much for me to figure out.  I don’t have very many answers; fewer now than I thought I had years ago.  I have more questions than ever.  But, I do know you and I trust you.  I trust you and you are more than enough.”  His prayer continued as he prayed specifically for me and my family.  

I will miss those prayers.  Do people who pledge to pray for us every day, and keep that promise for many years, continue to pray for us when they arrive in heaven before us?

After my friend closed his prayer that day I confessed my biblical illiteracy and asked him where the passage was that was expressed in his prayer.  He told me it was from Psalm 131.

That day Psalm 131 became a treasure for me.  Here it is in the Amplified translation.

1 LORD, MY heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in matters too great or in things too wonderful for me. 2 Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with his mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me [ceased from fretting]. 3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever.

A few of the encouragements from this song are:

King David is the author of the prayer and extends an invitation to his people in verse 3 to join him in anchoring a frayed anxious heart in confidence in their God.  Here is a great king confessing, before God and his people, that he has humbled his heart and knows that he does not have all of the answers or the power to solve all of the problems.  This is not the image of a strong confident leader often held up as the model of leadership.  I wonder if God defines leadership different from most cultural definitions?

This king has to have a talk with himself and tell his soul to chill out; stop being anxious.  As a parent I know the difference between the nursing child and the weaned child.  To hold that nursing infant in my arms and softly tell her, “Mom is just taking a shower.  She will be out in just a few minutes.  I promise she will feed you and we will not let you starve.”  The babe totally ignores me and screams as though we are the worst parents in the world and care nothing for her nourishment.

Oh, but the weaned child is a different story.  “Daughter, Mom is going to fix lunch soon.  Just let me read you this book and as soon as she returns from the store it is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for all of us.  YEAH!”  And the child, in anticipation, says, “I am so hungry can I have apple sauce too.”  And we return to our book and our waiting.

It seems that most of my Christian life has been spent waiting on God.  I live in the waiting room while waiting for answers, waiting for blessings,  waiting for judgment on the unrighteous, waiting on Jesus to return…. Waiting.  And often my heart does get overwhelmed with how the world is running or not running according to my thoughts. But this song reminds me I do not sit in the waiting room alone.  So King David’s words fuel my hope.

It is OK to need to take one’s heart aside and have a serious chat.  And it is OK to need to have others around me, like this King was to his people, calling me to keep trusting our great God we cannot understand and who refuses to follow my time table.  

Trust the Lord from this moment on.

Trust the Lord in all of the moments he gives me.  

Trust the Lord knowing life is too much for me to handle but not to much for our God.

It is a sweet memory; Robertson showing me a well worn photo album he would pray through daily and my picture with my family was stuck behind the plastic on one of the pages.  Who has God led me to stand with in prayer for daily?  Yes, my children, their spouses and my grandchildren and of course my wife.  But who else?  Who do I pledge to stand as an intercessor for because God has led us together?  Who do I pray Psalm 131 and many other prayers over their life and service?

 

God’s Truth is very often “both/and” NOT “either/or”

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The center of God’s will is often a place of holding 2 truths in tension.

Examples: God is sovereign AND we are accountable for our personal choices.  We are call to love with grace AND truth.

The Bible moves us to leading by managing a tension instead of solving a problem.

Examples: Technology is not the tool of the anti-Christ OR the solution to every problem.  It is possible to hold  a high view of marriage and yet offer a compassionate response to those who have seen marriage die and end in divorce.  There will always be cultural and generational differences on the best ways to worship, especially with music and the performing arts.

adapted from LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP, 2016. (Purchase Here)

What Can Cut the Heart of a Person Open and Read What Is in Inside?

Hebrews 4:12-13 (NLT)
12  For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  13  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

“Anything with great power for good can also become a destructive weapon.  Many leaders have been guilty of using the Bible to drain and rob life, rather than give life.  The Bible helps us to be creative, set goals, discern error, and view situations from a variety of perspectives.  We can, however, turn this knowledge into a weapon when we use it to devalue, attack or manipulate or control another person.”

From: LIFE GIVING LEADERSHIP pg. 42 (Purchase it here)

Summer Reading Suggestions for Leaders

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  1. Peter Scazzero. The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How transforming your inner life will deeply transform your church, team and the world.    Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015.  ISBN: 978-0-310-49457-7.
  2. Andrew Murray.  HUMILITY: THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. (2014). ISBN: 978-1502559562.  You may use any edition of this classic.
  3. Steve Ogne & Tim Roehl. TRANSFORMISSIONAL COACHING: EMPOWERING LEADERS IN A CHANGING MINISTRY WORLD.  B & H Publishing: Nashville (2008).  ISBN 978-0-8054-4781-1.
  4. Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillian, Al Switzler.  INFLUENCER: THE NEW SCIENCE OF LEADING CHANGE, SECOND EDITION.  McGraw Hill (New York). 2013. ISBN: 978-0071808866.
  5.  Patrick Lencioni.  THE ADVANTAGE: WHY ORGANIZATIONAL HEALTH TRUMPS EVERYTHING ELSE IN BUSINESS.  Jossey-Bass (San Francisco). 2012. ISBN: 978-0470941522.
  6. Mark Buchanan.  Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010.  ISBN: 978-0-310-29365-1
  7. Ruth Haley Barton.  Life Together in Christ: Experiencing Transformation in Community.  Downers Grove:  Intervarsity Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0-8308-3586-7.
  8. Stephen R. Covey.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, 25th Anniversary Edition. Rosetta Books, 2013. ISBN: 9780795336416.
  9. Jedd Medefind & Erik Lokkesmoe.  UPENDED: HOW FOLLOWING JESUS REMAKES YOUR WORDS AND WORLD.  Lake Mary, FL: Charisma, 2012.  ISBN: 9781616386054.
  10. Rowland Forman.  The Lost Art of Lingering: Mutual Mentoring for Life Transformation.  Confia Publishers, 2013.  ISBN: 978-0-9839843-7-5 .

These are books I have read or reread recently. They all have value to those interested in leadership and spiritual transformation.  Rowland is a friend in NZ in his late 70s who has written a very practical and motivating guide to lifelong disciple making…don’t miss it!