Turning truth into action: How coaches help church planters

By Dino Senesi

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 ESV).

Ridesharing describes a wave of new businesses where a person uses their personal automobile to help someone get somewhere. Most of us think of sports when we hear the word coach. But when you think of a church planter coach, think ridesharing. Here is a simple definition: coaching is a vehicle to help people get to the place where God wants them.

A coach helps you get to God’s destination in your life and ministry. Has coaching become a new wave meant to replace learning best practices and proven formulas?

Absolutely not. Coaching builds on this valuable information to help a church planter process, implement and be accountable for what he is learning. We say it this way: Great coaches help leaders turn truth into action.

Inside the Car

Coaching is a relationship that involves intentional, ongoing conversations. The value of coaching increases based on two important factors: how many conversations you have and how often you have them.

We prescribe a one-hour conversation, twice a month, for four consecutive months. Random conversations with a great coach a few times a year would not be as valuable as consistent meetings. Think of church planter coaching as one conversation in eight scheduled installments. A coach rides alongside a church planter offering great questions, encouragement and feedback like: “Look at what God is doing through you and around you.” “Way to go!” “Watch out!”

Here are four simple ways a coach helps:






Where do you need to go next?



How do you need to get there?



What do you need?

Who can help you?



How is your plan working?


Planters Affirm the Value of Coaching

Church planters are discovering how valuable coaching can be amidst the multiple challenges of living out their calling:

My coach helps me by encouraging me, helping me to set goals, developing strategies, evaluating effort and staying focused.

– Derrick Wilhelmus, The Bridge

I have so many different voices speaking to me as a church planter … It’s refreshing to be able to stand back and evaluate what they are saying and what direction I need

to take to honour the Lord and what He is saying to me through all of this!

– Terry Branscombe, The Refuge

Iron sharpens iron: coaching has sharpened my focus on fulfilling the vision God has given me as a church planter on Vancouver Island.

– Matthew Bond, Ekklesia Baptist Church

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 14, 2017