We’re looking at distinctions employed coaching pastors and Christian influencers.  I hope coaches find these helpful with their clients. Pastors read this blog to more effectively lead those God’s entrusted to them. So, whether you’re a pastor, a coach to leaders, or both, this is for you.

Christian ministers have a tricky leadership challenge. With the exception of staff members, pastors always lead an all-volunteer armyWhenever you preach, speak, or write, your audience is agreeing and disagreeing with you, point-by-point.

There was a time, in some contexts, when clergypersons were esteemed as being close to God. Some believe they spoke for God. Ministers could wield out-sized influence with parishioners and the surrounding society. Sadly, not all that influence was God-honoring—in some cases the abuses were horrific. Today ministers in the US are far more likely to be viewed with skepticism than reverent trust.

And, this is not all bad! It’s a context very similar to that in which Christ and the apostles ministered.

This brings us to being an invitation. Pastor, if you’re going to successfully advance the influence of Christ in your community and bring people to maturity, it’s imperative that you sharpen the invitation you are.

First of all, who do you want to invite toward you?  What kind of people do you need to be with to best fulfill God’s calling? The game you’re in determines the players you need.

Yesterday I met with a pastor who’s committed to build a powerful, community-impacting regional church. An African-American, he’s attracted a congregation that matches his ethnicity and who are inspired by his preaching. Now, he needs to invite visionary, take-charge leaders representing all three ethnicities that predominate the area the church influences. To do this, Wayne gets to be clear and intentional.

He gets to redefine the invitation he is.

Second, what are you inviting people to?  What “game” are you enrolling them in? Many pastors offer no more compelling invitation than that people sit, tithe, and don’t cause trouble.

That’s a pitifully small game!

Wayne gets to invite capable women and men to lead lay teams to invest their lives, hearts, and talents influentially in the realms of entertainment, education, commerce, government, and arts.

Third, what distinguishes your “heroes”? What do you affirm, venerate, honor?

These last two weeks, both parties held their national conventions, choreographed for TV. It’s easy to see who each side venerates and why.

Pastor, you get to be just that clear.

Fourth, a clear invitation repels what you don’t want. Notice that Jesus had no grace for the religious legalists, the externalists, the rule-enforcers. Jesus’ invitation cut to the core motivations of people’s hearts.

Yours can, too!

Coaching Distinctions 36.doc