Do you have fond memories of watching late night television in your grandmother’s basement? No? Me either. But if I did, those memories would include the show “Coach.” I remember how Coach became so involved with his players and assistant coaches. He seemed like the kind of coach you or I would love to have as our, well, coach. Don’t you sometimes wish you had someone who could serve as your coach in all areas of life? A person who would show you a game plan and point out strengths, as well as opportunities for growth, in your game skills?
By the age of 18, I had played on organized teams in the sports of baseball, basketball, soccer, football, track, wrestling, swimming, and lacrosse. I’ve had a lot of coaches. Some of them were incredible and I hope to always remember the wisdom I received through their coaching. One coach of whom I have very fond memories extended grace to me at a critical point in my life. I had been arrested and expelled from school (a story for another post). When I returned to school, this coach made a space for me on the varsity baseball team. Sometimes love is best exhibited by simply making space for another, especially someone completely undeserving (again, a topic for another post).
I am now receiving wisdom from a new coach. His name is Brian Zehr and he hails from Chicago. I just returned from spending three days with Brian in the Windy City and I gained incredible clarity in regards to my next steps as we look to launch the 801South ministry early next year. Brian is someone who has been there and done that–both in life and in established church work. He is a solid figure in my life who extends grace when I say or do the wrong thing, or maybe not wrong, but still not the most beneficial word or action toward my desired goals. There are moments on this journey of starting something new when I choose the wrong language or when I get the steps out of order. In those moments, Brian helps me work through the process of understanding when I’m on the right track and when perhaps I’ve veering somewhere I ought not veer. He helps clarify and narrow the game plan, as well as sharpening my skills for playing the game.
Despite reading lots and lots of books and blogs and speaking to other church starters, the use of a coach is still my greatest resource. In whatever you do in life, I highly recommend finding a reputable coach who shares your values. Whatever the cost, developing this type of resource will be well worth it. If there is alignment of values, basic chemistry, and adequate investment from both sides, having a coach will help you get the most and best out yourself. It might not make for good late night television, but many will benefit in the long run.