When church planters need coaching the most
No one likes feeling stuck. Coaching church planters when they are at critical sticking points helps them move forward with clarity and confidence. 

Written By Robert E Logan

Christian Coaching Pioneer, Strategic Ministry Catalyst, Resource Developer, Empowering Consultant : Logan Leadership

There is no better point of leverage than when someone runs up against a real-life barrier. That’s when they feel most motivated. Church planters are no different. 

When they are just starting out, you can say, “There will be times when you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and are questioning whether you should give up. Here’s what to do then.” They may nod and take polite notes, but what are they really thinking? “That will never happen to me. I’m in a great place and I’m really excited about this new venture!” 

When’s the best time to speak into that dilemma? When they’re facing it. 

3 Common Sticking Points Church Planters Encounter

coaching church planters through sticking points

The way you speak to, or think about, yourself is a good clue to discovering sticking points. These are the places where church planters commonly get stuck. Along with the critical issues, you’ll need to coach them through in order to help them move forward effectively. 

1. “I must be doing something wrong.” 

This thought arises when the planter is not getting the positive response they expected from the community they’re trying to reach. There seems to be some kind of misalignment between the vision for the plant and the community. 

In this case, the coach will need to help the planter slow down and address issues such as learning more about the culture, building relational bridges, and understanding the real needs. 

2. “Maybe this is too much for me.” 

Every planter will have this thought at some time or other. Planting a church is hard, and there will be resistance and even spiritual attack. Planters particularly face this thought when they feel overworked, when their personal relationships are strained, and when they begin wondering about long-term burnout. 

At this point, some of the issues a coach needs to be able to surface and address include self-care, boundaries, setting expectations, dealing with conflict, establishing work/life balance, and practicing delegation. 

3. “I don’t know what to do.”  

For many planters, the end vision is clear, but the path from here to there isn’t. They just don’t seem to be getting the traction they hoped for and they’re not sure what steps to take next. The most common culprit here is a “ready, fire, aim” approach. Action is only good when it’s the right action. 

Here’s when a coach will need to help the planter with specific and measurable goal setting and action planning.  It doesn’t come naturally to most people, but is the only way to get from here to there.

Resources for Coaching Church Planters

You don’t need to have planted a church yourself in order to be an effective coach to church planters. That’s the beauty of coaching—it’s about their journey not yours. However, familiarizing yourself with what your church planter is up against is a wise way to come alongside them. 

The Church Planting Journey is a fantastic resource to have on hand. It’s a one-stop-shop for looking up any of the individual issues that commonly arise during the journey of planting a church. Check out this listing of chapter titles to get a sense of all the issues you can quickly flip to on an as-needed basis when those in-the-moment problems arise for your planter clients. 

  • Developing Vision and Values
  • Confirming Your Calling.
  • Maximizing Your Learning 
  • Understanding the Planting Process
  • Preparing for Challenges and Discouragement
  • Building Your Core Team
  • Knowing Who You’re Reaching
  • Designing Effective Ministry
  • Establishing Financial Support
  • Developing Your Proposal
  • Casting Vision
  • Engaging Culture
  • Making Disciples
  • Multiplying Disciplemaking Communities
  • Launching Public Worship
  • Developing Leaders
  • Organizational Evaluation and Development
  • Planning Strategically
  • Navigating Growth and Change
  • Multiplying Movements

Christian Coaching Essentials

How many of the outcomes above could be accomplished more effectively using coaching techniques? Your church planter clients would benefit from learning coaching basics. Christian Coaching Essentials is easy to read, actionable, and biblically based. The perfect companion for ministry leaders.

Cover Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Harsh Gupta on Unsplash

Healthy, Effective Teams

In the short term, an unhealthy team may be able to get things done. But there will be a time when they can no longer hold it together. When that happens, any progress made is lost. Here are 5 qualities of healthy, effective teams and how to coach your leader to build them. 

The Volunteers Pastors Need

Volunteers are at the core of getting ministry done and moving vision forward. Recruiting and training volunteers can be a full time job… and everything can still fall apart. Here’s how to coach your ministry leaders to spot, train, and mobilize volunteers that get the job done and come back to serve again. 

Is your client working with an unhealthy team?

Recruiting volunteers has always been a touchy ministry subject. But since the pandemic recruiting and keeping volunteers and lay leaders necessary to run a ministry has become increasingly difficult. Here’s 5 reasons why. 

Coaching through Scandal

If you stay in the coaching game long enough, at some point you will coach leaders on how to deal with division in the body, disciplinary issues, and, well, scandal. Sadly, these issues are a part of life. As a coach, you have an opportunity to help leaders rise above the problem and take the higher ground.

Getting revitalization right 

Your client’s church is in a slump. Whether it’s just a feeling or a steadying decline in attendance the word that is in the back of your head is revitalization. It’s clearly time to do something new. Here are 4 revitalization strategies to help your client make the right changes.

Set effective—and reachable—goals 

Your client has a big vision. To help them see that vision become reality means strategically breaking up that vision into manageable goals. Easier said than done…

Is your board functioning well?

Being stuck with a dysfunctional board can feel like a being out to sea, alone on a sailboat, without wind. You can’t get anywhere and it feels like there is nothing you can do about it. But there is!

Is timidity in the way? 

Timidity can feel like a major obstacle to overcome. The good news is that assertiveness is a skill that can be learned. Here’s a good place to start.

Level Up To Transformational Learning 

Your goal as a coach is greater than the tasks at hand. Excellent coaching moves a client through reflection to action to transformational learning. 

How good are you at time management… really? 

You’ve thought it. You might even recall (with a pit in your stomach) of a time you’ve been told to “get your priorities straight”. We’ve all been there. Either way, it’s a red flag that you aren’t managing your time well. The good news is, prioritizing is the first step in the right direction.