While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?”—Luke 24:15-17
Having just celebrated Easter brought my attention back to this passage about two disciples and their encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus right after his death and resurrection. I’d like to share this in connection with an important and growing need for church planters: coaching, or walking alongside them well after their churches are launched.
Our first urban church planter coach training was completed in New York City at the end of February. Ten participants representing several different, regional church planting networks within the U.S. completed a nine-month process of learning and practicing coaching based on the principles and process of training developed by Church Multiplication Ministries and Redeemer City to City. The model of coaching we used was “an intentional gospel conversation with focused discussions about a church planter’s relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life.” This is what we see going on with Jesus coming alongside the two disciples in Luke 24, and this is what we desire in training church planter coaches.
Shortly afterward we saw the start of the same coach training in Sydney—the first for us in an international city context. There were eight participants in that training, which coincided with a two-day church planting conference in Sydney to cast a gospel-centered vision and create a coalition for church planting.
“Coaching is just a more intentional form of discipleship,” as one of our training colleagues aptly described it. Church leaders and planters have expressed a great need for this in the cities where we work, where they are seeing a growing number of church planters, but not enough coaches to support them. Research by Dr. Steve Childers at Global Church Advancement has shown that good coaching has a significant impact on planters, doubling or tripling their effectiveness.
As our global network grows, we are hoping to be able to support it through coaching. Please pray for the coach training begun in Sydney and new programs we hope to launch later this year in New York and Latin America.