A few months ago I started getting a new burden for our students. There had been indication that the students were feeling extremely safe around us and had seen new reasons to trust the Training Center’s leadership. Now, that’s great, and many leaders would whoop with excitement at this kind of report, and I did, but it also made me feel even more alert. There is a hideous history of Christians being abused by people they trusted and around whom they felt safe. We’ve all heard stories, or sadly, have experienced it ourselves. My burden was that the students would truly be safe – that the human tendency to control others would be avoided by me and the leaders at our Training Center. The burden was to create safe guards to ensure that the students truly are safe and free.
The biggest protection that we have installed is to implement a coaching paradigm. Philippians 1: 6 says “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it (the good work) until the day of Christ Jesus,” and this concept is at the heart of the coaching paradigm. Coaching looks at all people as if God already has each one of them on a change path, because He does. A counseling, mentoring, or teaching model assumes that people need the counselor in order to make change. Coaches know that God is changing people, and the coach’s job is to help the person find where that change is happening and to emphasize it!
In order to implement this, all of us on the Training Center staff are reading books about the coaching paradigm, and some on the staff are in the process of becoming certified Life Coaches. Learning the coaching paradigm has already changed my life, my view of ministry, how I love people, and my knowledge of my place in people’s growth process. In the role of teacher, my assumption was “people need me and what I know.” My underlying belief was “I need to help them because they aren’t capable of getting victory without doing what I know they need to do.” Those are ungodly attitudes that could easily lead to my controlling someone! It’s so wonderful to instead be invited in to people’s lives and to look for God’s change plan, then to point them to those areas of victory – to work with God’s revealed change plan instead of assuming I know what is best for another person!
Our classroom setting won’t change because our primary role is as teachers in the Body of Christ. Where you’ll see the biggest difference in us is over coffee. Requests for advice will be met with questions, not statements. You’ll plan action steps to implement your change. You’ll be encouraged, supported and celebrated! You’ll see God at work in your life and follow His lead to bring about more change! And our goal will be met – you’ll be safe and free!
If you want to get together for coffee and experience our new paradigm for yourself, let me know!