Coaching Your Church the Way It Needs by Mike Connaway

Pastor, did you know that you are your church’s coach? You are! Your church needs help to achieve its God-given assignment, and it starts with you. There are five ways listed below that you can help your church and its people become all they were meant to be. Are you willing to do them?

Sadly, many pastors spend their time trying to duplicate strategies in the church world. That can lead to failure. I’m asking you that for today, consider not duplicating. Instead, glean from what you’re doing and learn how to maximize your resources to achieve your church’s God-given goals.

Maximize Resources.  

When I started my church in McKinney, Texas, I bought and remodeled a 100-year-old building. We wanted to add a coffee shop, so we looked at what we had, trying to match people and resources. Today, I have incredible baristas. We afforded a different type of professional machine that demands you really know how to work it. We only had a roughly $15,0000 dollar budget to put our shop coffee shop together, and we still got voted “best cappuccino latte in McKinney,” of all places, not just in churches – and the reality of it is we only make 100 to 200 cups of coffee on Sunday mornings!

Now, your church might not be the place to start a coffee shop. Like any good coach, you need to adjust your strategy. You need to stop trying to be like someone else. You need to think about what you have: the people, the finances, the resources, the location, and what kind of “game” you can run with them. Maximizing your resources like this makes ministry doable at every size. Don’t think, “If I only had this or that, I could do…” You have the resources you need for this season if you will just take stock and be flexible in your approach. 

As a side note, I want you to be aware that you can train your people to develop willpower.  It takes tremendous willpower to hang in there and be tough when things get tough. If your team is under great stress or pressure, teach them that quitting isn’t an option, not because it’s immoral to quit, but because we all need to develop the willpower to stay when pressure turns up. If your people have this mindset, you’ll get through anything together as a team.

Be Creative. 
Creatives are probably the toughest people to work with in your church but the most important in many ways. The great psychologist Jordan Peterson teaches that creatives are not great in middle management or below, but they are very valuable in any organization towards the top. Most companies hire a non-creatives because if all you need is someone to complete a process, non-creatives are better; but creatives are the only ones who can push your ministry or business to the next level.

As your church grows, pay attention to your volunteers at every level. Bring your teams together and help them to build relationship. I know it can seem that creatives are less than useful sometimes (non-conformists). A musician is probably not going to excel at clerical work. Expect that there will be times you have to keep your creatives happy when you don’t actively need their support because they’re the only people who can get you to the next level when the time’s right. Train yourself to realize both creatives and non-creatives are necessary to push through the hard times and create unique ministry opportunities. 

Have Courage.
Courage is imparted really by being courageous yourself. I told a young pastor recently that he got to pull off a miracle. He asked what I meant. I said, “What you did was like when I bought a 100-year-old building that no one thought I could buy and then fixed it up in a way no one thought was possible. It was condemned twice by the city, and now it’s worth five times what I paid for it in just eight years.” I pulled off a miracle! Now it inspires courage in people who come to my church. Pastor, I know it’s tough at times, but as you get older, if you’re not careful, you can think that pulling of these Jesus-miracles are for the younger guys, but you still have to pull off a miracle every once in a while because it stirs courage in your congregation.

Show Faith and Determination.
Fred Akers was a gem. He passed away this year, and it was a little tough on me. He was like a father to me. One of the things he often said as I taught him about faith was, “You mean determination.”  I would say, “No, Fred. I’m talking about faith.” This went on time and time again. Then it clicked. When you go through hard things, it produces patience, and patience produces faith, right? Well, determination, that not quitting that attitude of determination, that “if I’m going to stick with this thing, if I know God told me to do something” mindset, that was his way of expressing faith in football terms. When he took over the University of Texas, it was in a mess. The number one question most people asked him was, “Are you going to beat Oklahoma (rival)?” He told those who hired him, “I have to build a program. The program will do the winning.” Fred didn’t sign up to win just one game each year. He signed up to win all the games, which required him to build a winning program. We too need to let our faith become something that determines our outcome as a winner.

Set and Celebrate Your Achieved Goals. 

Goal-setting is awesome. Something we don’t do well as pastors is celebrate achieved goals and mark them as part of our legacy. Israelite shepherds would mark on their staff the wins they experienced in life as a daily reminder. Likewise, when you hit a rough patch, it will help to remember that the Lord healed your body, paid your bills, and performed a miracle for you. 
Let your goals inspire you. God has bigger goals than you do, so make sure they’re God-breathed. Make sure they’re big! Make sure they’re beyond what your church could do without His help. And when those goals are achieved, celebrate them. Celebrate the victory. Celebrate God’s mighty working in your ministry. Let your celebration inspire your people to believe for greater things! My prayer for you, pastor, is that every desire God has placed within you will come to pass in your lifetime. I pray you rise up in courage, and that people will come to the call of your church and the vision in your heart, that God will have His great awakening in your members’ hearts and minds. May God awaken our nation and from it speak to the darkest corners of this earth!