“Coach training has given me a practical road map for conversations with others to help them discern where God is at work in, through and around them.” This is how one participant described her experience at a recent L2L two-day coach training event.
“It’s giving me tools to be intentional in all my discipleship conversations,” responded another.
Jesus’ disciple-making mission lies at the heart of what L2L is and does in Canada and beyond. The word “transformissional,” coined by Ogne and Roehl in their book TransforMissional Coaching: Empowering Leaders in a Changing Ministry World, captures our desire to facilitate transformation, which in turn leads to missional ministry, joining Christ on his redemptive mission.
As a relatively new ministry of MB churches in Canada, L2L sensed momentum building throughout 2014 and give God thanks for the transformissional capacity building that has developed. The words discernment, discovery, innovation and dependence express what we’ve cultivated and implemented this year.
Whether people click the Coach Me button at L2Lnet.org, secure an L2L coach, or attend an APEX or personal ReFocusing retreat – as did a cumulative 420 people in 2014 – our heart for them is the same: to help leaders become attentive to God’s shaping processes in their lives and discern their next step(s) on mission.
Pastor Josh* felt stuck, unproductive as a leader, and said the only thing that kept him in his current role was his fear of stepping out to find another ministry position. He clicked the Coach Me button to complete an online assessment, secured a coach and entered a coaching relationship through L2L.
Together with his coach, Josh began to discern afresh where God was at work in his life, gained new perspective and hope, and took practical steps to become more effective in his current ministry. While there are still issues in the church, Josh is newly centred in Jesus, framing opportunities through the lens of Scripture and guiding the church toward mission.
In 2014, nearly 40 churches engaged in L2L’s Coach Us and church Refocusing processes, including 850 individuals who completed the Coach Us online assessment. When L2L works with churches, our goal is to facilitate their discovery of what it means to know, love and follow Jesus afresh, and we pay special attention to their commitment to discipleship and being on mission in their context.
When one particular church hit a wall, there was a lot of mess. A sizeable group of leaders and other believers clicked the Coach Us button. As L2L reflected their findings back to them, church leaders almost immediately had clarity regarding matters that had long vexed them. These discoveries gave them the ability to seek God anew and decide how they would respond. The church is back on mission.
There are still many things that need to be tackled over the coming months, but their discoveries have given them fresh clarity on how they can join in what God is doing.
We also prayerfully innovate. Assessment makes us aware of different needs, and we know one size doesn’t fit all. Nor does information alone transform.
L2L is uniquely positioned to be a premier resource locator and multiplier, providing leaders and churches with resources that fit their needs and context. Canadians posted nearly 200 resources to our resource library at www.L2Lnet.org last year. The library welcomes leaders to contribute resources they have developed or discovered to be helpful.
Pastor Francine contacted L2L looking for resources that would help her congregation think and pray through the possibility of merging with another faith community. We directed her to relevant articles in our online resource library. The church is still prayerfully discerning but found that when we stand on the shoulders of others, we see further and pray with greater clarity.
We also have a growing number of practical video resources at our coaches’ disposal.
Tammy was wondering how to lead someone through a transition in ministry. She used a short, 16-minute video on transitions – available through L2L – to provide the leader with a framework for what she was experiencing. Tammy then followed up with several coaching conversations. The leader gained greater clarity on what she was experiencing and discovered how to “lean in” to what God was doing in and through her during the transition.
For those who have never used the L2L website before, we offer how-to videos with step-by-step instructions for using the site. These can be accessed directly through L2Lnet.org or on L2L’s Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/
In all our efforts toward transformissional capacity building, we recognize our joyful dependence on God. We can’t bring about transformation. We can only create opportunities for leaders to stop, listen to God and lean in to his desires and purposes.
We also recognize our dependence on others. In the creation of a coaching culture, for example, we used Terry Walling of Leader Breakthru to train 140 coaches across Canada in the COACH Model system and to further equip 20 of them to train coaches – thereby building our capacity to function effectively without Terry. Provinces, camps, post-secondary schools, transitional pastors and MB Mission now all have access to and are using COACH.
As well, we continue to work intentionally with other CCMBC departments and ministry partners to minimize duplication. L2L is staffed to support provincial conference ministers and executive directors as they serve their constituents. We work with them, not around them. It is crucial to L2L’s mandate that we have strong partnerships with these leaders.
Are we facing a leadership crisis? Or do we simply have a discipleship problem? Canadian Mennonite Brethren have too few pastors and planters, and frequently too few lay leaders in churches and camping ministries.
The problem, however, isn’t leadership development; it is discipleship development. I believe the Spirit is highlighting the urgent need for fully formed disciples in Canada. We need a discipleship that moulds believers who are in love with Jesus, know the Word, love the local church, know how to reach those who live apart from Jesus, live cruciform lives and are journey conscious. That’s true transformissional discipleship for all.
* Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes, and case studies have been compiled from interviews and feedback received.