Iron sharpens iron

Peer coaches prepare to coach church planters in Montréal

By Dino Senesi

“Darkness thrives in murky conditions of isolation … The dark prince understands that mankind, without the aid of honest community, is on a one-way journey to desperate misery.”

– Jeff Christopherson, Kingdom Matrix


Church planters are with people constantly, yet they often feel isolated. The pressure to get results is never-ending, which often leads to disappointment. And when the mission is to push back darkness, the battle is not merely human, but involves confronting the very forces of darkness. Having coaches who consistently meet with church planters is crucial. The Send Network is committed to come alongside local coaches to help them deliver great coaching to every church planter. No planter should be left to process his journey alone.

Learn to coach by coaching and being coached

“Too many times we try to teach people to swim in a classroom.” I have heard my coach and mentor, Bob Logan, say this often. The Send Network coach development process is built on practical coaching experience. Peer coaching is one example of developing church planter coaches beyond the classroom.

Peer coaching assignments are established at the One Day Coaching Map training. During the 60 days following, peer coaches continue with four one-hour coaching conversations by phone or video conference.

Woody Wilson is a Mission Service Corp missionary and Send Montréal coach. He and his wife, Judy, moved to Montréal in 2015. Woody has provided the majority of church planter coaching in Montréal over the past year, but he cannot meet the need alone.

Woody described the significance of peer coaching as part of the process: “Peer coaching allows our church planters to experience the benefits of coaching from both sides of the equation: being coached and getting to coach.”

Peer coaching influences more than skill development—it helps coaches grow in life and ministry. “There are huge blessings on both sides,” Woody added. Woody visited a peer-coaching meeting between Christian Lachance and Josias Laporte to offer feedback and encouragement.

Developing new skills

New coaches focus on asking and listening skills. In their book, TransforMissional Coaching, Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl wrote, “Coaches ask questions no one else is

asking.” During Montréal’s peer coaching process I heard coaches ask important questions like:

•   What do you need to work on?

•   How can I pray for you?

•   How is your heart and mind?

•   How are you going to keep balance?

•   What is your next step?

Montréal peer coaches like Benoit Marcoux and Jose Laurentiono, quickly established deeper relationships and a high level of personal accountability.

Iron sharpens iron

A well-known proverb described the potential of our relationships: “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (Proverbs 27:17, ESV). One piece of iron rubbing against another: this image is used to illustrate the value of close relationships.

Having Graeme Dyck as a peer coach has sharpened Ben Johnston. Ben said his coaching relationship with Graeme “allowed me to focus and made me more intentional.” Ben was Graeme’s coach as well. Ben gave his perspective on being a coach: “It can’t be about you but about the other person and the Holy Spirit.”

Graeme reported the value of being accountable to Ben, noting areas of improvement. Graeme added, “It was good to have someone to listen and not just say ‘You should do this, and you should do that.’”

Eight coaches are now part of the Montréal coaching pod. Most of them will get church planter coaching assignments before the end of 2016. More coaches will be trained in February 2017.

“The future is bright here in Montréal, and yet coaching is desperately needed,” said Wilson. “We have young pastoral leadership and church planters with limited experience. Coaching will take our planters to the next level.”

Dino Senesi is the director of coaching for the Send Network at the North American Mission Board.

*This article originally posted in Horizon, the publication of the Canadian National Baptist Convention. Learn more about Horizon here


Published March 28, 2017