I’ve invited you to consider that, regardless of your personality, you are an invitation. All day every day, you invite … something.

To discover what you invite, notice what keeps coming your way.

Why would you want to know?  If you’re not intentional about it, you’re likely inviting what you don’t even want.

I coach pastors. Lots of them. Last month a client lamented that his office door is like a turnstile – bringing a never-ending string of parishioners and staff members to him, eating his time and keeping him from what’s most important.

“What do they want?”

Thinking for several moments he answered: “They want me to do something to either ease their distress, change someone else, or make their lives better.”

“Why do they come to you for that?”

He didn’t know.

I do. It’s an occupational hazard for ministers. Somebody re-wrote the playbook generations ago. Rather than equipping God’s people to live mature, influential lives, clergy became an invitation to calm member’s fears, quell their disquiet, relieve their suffering, and ease their distress.


Instead of provoking mature faith—like Jesus did—ministers run with Kleenex and band-aids, wiping noses and bandaging boo-boos… of Christians who’ve been called by God to be wiping the noses and bandaging the knees of the people who aren’t yet following Christ. [Eph 4:11-13]

Stand as an interruption to this popular and unscriptural notion or you will be conscripted into the ministry of the Kleenex box to the religious.The best way to interrupt it is to get very clear about what you are inviting people to.

Ministry, fundamentally, is about people-development and Kingdom-advance.

Jesus developed people into mature disciples and advanced God’s reign: healing, delivering, liberating, and forgiving … mostly for those outside his circle of disciples. Jesus invited people to give their lives away in the service of the King. To surrender self-interest and follow him into ministry … to benefit those outside the commonwealth of faith.

What if you invited people to that?

With his disciples, Jesus provoked them to get off themselves and onto advancing God’s Kingdom. He frustrated them when they wanted him to minister to them.  He directed them into challenges so they’d grow strong trusting God.

Pastor, I invite you into the game Jesus modeled.

Call people to that.

Without apology.

Like he did.


Coaching Distinctions 35.doc