“One of the dangers of the focus on making disciples can be forgetting how we need to continually be growing as disciples ourselves,“ Tom says. “A coaching approach fits hand in glove with our call to make disciples, as it allows us to contribute to the discipleship of our Encompass colleagues. The stronger they are as disciples, the more fruitful they will be in making disciples.”
:: Watch the video to hear Tom’s heart for Ministry Coaching ::
A companion for the journey Coaching has always been a part of Encompass’ approach to missions and care for those working in the field. And it’s a key element of what it means to value individuals and empower teams, one of our core values. This new focus ensures that it’s delivered more consistently. The ultimate goal is for every Encompass worker to have a ministry coach.
“I want to make sure no one has to journey alone,” Tom emphasizes. “Working long-term as a cross-cultural worker can be hard and lonely. Ministry coaching provides a way for every Encompass colleague to have someone to journey with them.”
As the Director of Ministry Coaching, Tom has the opportunity to combine his gifts, passions, and 30 years of field experience with Encompass to lead and coach others:
“I’m able to use what I’ve observed in Encompass since 1985 and put systems in place to make the journey better for those who will join Encompass in the future.”
Grounded in good practice, guided by the Holy Spirit Ministry coaching is much more than a monthly “rah rah” Skype chat or coffee date. It’s an intentional conversation that’s focused on specific outcomes—with the Holy Spirit guiding the process.
“About 80% of the time, most of us in ministry roles know more or less what we should be doing,” Tom explains. “But something is preventing us from implementing or following through. A ministry coach helps to identify the real obstacles, and prayerfully works toward action steps—initiated not by the coach, but by the person being coached.”
Coaching creates fruitful disciplemakers While coaching serves to support Encompass workers in their ministries endeavors, it also does something so much more: it keeps them filled.
Ministry is difficult work. Cross-cultural ministry adds a layer of complexity on top of that.
“Doing ministry as an occupation can mean you are constantly giving, pouring yourself into others’ lives,” says Tom. “That can result in being drained, drying up on the vine. I’ve seen it in the lives of colleagues over the years. Ministry coaching is a way to keep that from happening. It provides someone—for everyone in Encompass—to pour into the other’s life to help ensure more vitality and less isolation.”
“From what I can tell, we are the first mission of our size sowing ministry coaching at every level of the organization,” relates Tom. “It will be an integral part of who we are and what we can offer to anyone who joins Encompass.”
BELOW: Watch Director of Ministry Coaching Tom Barlow share more about the work and practice of this vital ministry.
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