Let’s give better thanks

Giving thanks many times isn’t our first response to life. In Luke 17 ten folks benefitted and only one gave thanks to Jesus. That’s not a great percentage …ten percent. I hope that’s not my percentage in my my life!

So to counter this tendency here’s some good things this year I’ve seen happen in my ministry…

  1. I’m grateful for some neat steps two churches are taking in Shelton, CT. They are working to be more intentional as they disciple one another. Groups of three and four are reading the Bible and encouraging each other to live out those words.
  2. I’m grateful that those two churches this year started another wave of people going through the disciplemaking training workbook called, “The Ways of the Alongsider.”
  3. I’m thankful to see the courage of a young pastor move from being an associate pastor to the senior pastor at his church. It’s a big step. He’s thought much, faced his issues, prayed much and asked a lot of great questions on our coach calls.
  4. I’m thankful for two new Life and Leadership Coaching clients this fall. One in is a difficult country overseas, that I cannot mention. The other is the discipleship pastor at a church in St Clairsville. They are both eager to move ahead in their life.
  5. Hey… this is fun being thankful. Thanks Lord for telling us to do it.
  6. I’m thankful I’m coaching eight men through our Life Coaching process.
  7. It is so good to be coaching eight congregations in the art of building disciplemaking cultures. Each are so different.
  8. It is so good to be in conversation with two other churches about starting that disciplemaking process.
  9. It’s fun to start with Mark this week in the Alongsider workbook as he is considering how he can impact his church. He’s also thinking about whether Navstaff is something in his future.
  10. I love my Tuesday Lunch Study at St Paul’s Episcopal. This is a great group with lots of good questions and a sense of humor. We’ve had deep theological discussions and real life difficulties. Right now we’ve just started going through “The Story.” Book that weaves the narrative of the Bible into 31 easy to read chapters.
  11. Community Meal at St Paul’s is great way the church serves the under-resourced. I help with pastoral care for the evening. I am so impressed with how this church puts this home cooked meal on each week. It’s good to a part of it.
  12. I was thrilled to serve two churches that completed our Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Cultures this fall. I learned so much through Pastors Eric and Bob as they did the hard work to help their congregation learn new ways to be The Church.
  13. I was surprised how well our Cluster meeting with four churches went on November 12th. They shared honestly and connected deeply as they worked on their picture of a disciple and how to run better triad discussions. It was one of our best ones!
  14. I am grateful for my boss Bill Mowry, who helps all of us in the region by equipping us, encouraging and helping us to think.
  15. I was glad for our good start to our Home Group. It’s a warm group of folks sharing life and being challenged by God’s Word.
  16. I’m really thankful for my wife, Helen, who allows so much of this to happen and partners with me in ministry.

How about you? How many things can you find to be thankful for this year? Share one.

Want to partner with me in this ministry to help The Church excel at the Great Commission? Click here to launch me into 2017.    https://mynavs.org/give/dane2017

Next Steps in Coaching

Coaching helps develop leaders, helps folks take action, helps people think well about their life. I’ve personally benefitted and have thoroughly enjoyed watching my clients take bold new steps.

Here’s a few ways The Navs can help you learn how to help others more deeply through the coach approach.

  1. Learn the Coaching Conversation basics. In a half hour we can explain to you some quick start insights to help you take a first step.
  2. Attend a Deep Dive workshop. This four hour workshop will augment what you’ve learned with the coaching conversation. You’ll practice these skills with others and strengthen your coaching.
  3. Be coached in our Core Four process. This year long coaching relationship will help you personally. You’ll take the DiSC personality profile. You’ll put together your personal vision statement. Twenty-six coaching calls will enhance your life and leadership.

Contact me for more information.

Why I like Life Coaching

One of the very fun parts of my week is the opportunity to walk with others in our Life Coaching process. I am grateful for the fantastic training I’ve received in the Navs. A lot of people use the word “coaching” to mean a variety of things. Let explain what we mean by coaching through the good things I’m seeing each week.

I like Life and Leadership Coaching because …

  1. DSCF1148.jpgIt’s a different tool to help others. Mentoring, Counseling, Discipling all are disciplines to aid people. Coaching goes at it completely different. I want to have as many tool on my tool belt. Coaching gives me one more.
  2. I’m not the expert but the change agent. I don’t have to know everything about their world or their vocation but by asking questions, I can help others understand their present situation and envision the desired future. They know much better what their deepest needs and desires are than I do.6cr6RbxEi.png
  3. Coachees are motivated to action. By hitting on what their motivations they are much more likely to follow through. They have a deeper desire to life out their dreams.
  4. People share, think and strategize at their deepest core issues. Inevitably on each call we stumble upon a challenge. Over the course of months we end on the pesky areas in their life they’ve just not gotten around to. It’s a privilege to help them look square into a challenge and think smartly about possible strategies to rectify it.
  5. You know you’ve helped them. I get lots of cues it is benefitting them when they say, “Ooh that’s a good question,” and we launch into another conversation about their topic. It also comes at the end of a coach call when they say, “Thanks that was so helpful today.”
  6. You know you’ve really helped them. A pastor I had been coaching was enjoying the

    Coaching is about helping someone move to a better place, a better day.

    process saying, “I wish I had these kind of help 30 years ago when I started in ministry.” After he had said a few times he told me, “I want you to coach my young associate too.” After a year of coach that associate the pastor said, “Would you coach our youth director.” Six months after that this pastor was taking a call to another church. If anytime he could have easily moved on from coaching it would be at this point. Yet he told me, “Would you continue coaching me during my first year at the new church? I’m going to need another voice, an outside voice to help me think smartly.” I’m grateful to help my friend that way.


Here’s some links about coaching:

My Ten Year Mission

I’m excited to consider what could be done in the next ten years. As I’ve moved through my first years with The Navigators I’ve learned even more what I am to do.

At first, I was learning new skills of the ministry. It then moved to understanding what are the building blocks of my calling to the Navigators Church Ministry. This last year it clarified further by considering what I can set myself to do in the next ten years.

The first building block is our Life and Leadership Coaching. This is a year long process

Core Four

that helps a coachee excel in their personal life and their vocation. It is sort of like Steven Covey based on the Christian faith. Through asking questions the coachee can begin to understand where they are at and how they can get to where they want to go.

Does it work? Yes! One pastor has loved the experience so much that asked me to lead his associate through it and now he had me start with his youth pastor. His comment a number of times has been, “I wish I had this coaching when I first started out in ministry! It would have saved me so many times.”

The second building block is our three year Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Cultures. We focus on a different group in each year. The first year we work with a small core team to GiDC-Overviewgain discipleship and disciplemaking skills and understanding. As this team makes personal gains the move into the second year where we begin to build a unified discipleship culture. We work on how they can have shared language, values and vision for disciplemaking. So if you poked the average guy in the pew they’d be able explain what a disciple is and how to go about making one. The final year the church begins to reach outside the walls of the church with the gospel.

I’m thrilled to have eight churches working through the GiDC right now. Two of my churches will finish our three year process. It has been a joyful journey, but each knows the work has just begun. Pastor Bob has said, “We are just beginning to implement these principles. Our core team is starting to lead discipleship triads. My hope is two or three years from now we triple the size of our core team and start seeing the Lord change them and change our church.”

In 10 years I am trusting the Lord that I could take 50 men through Life Coaching & take 35 churches through our GiDC process. 

See my Prezi explaining how I got to this point.

Our 3 year Disciplemaking process

You may have heard me talk about a three year disciplemaking process. The Navigators have been working at this process for 25 years. My predecessor Dave Johnson helped test it.




In the “Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Churches” or GiDC, we start with the pastor meeting every other week to coach them on life and discipling. As the pastor gains insights and skills, they pull in a few others in their congregation to widen the learning. At the beginning of the second year this little group each invites a few others to practice what they’ve been learning. As we round out the their third year more and more folks from the congregation begin experiencing these biblical principles. By the end of the process the church has made significant gains in: discovering truth from the scriptures, learning to connect more deeply with each other, defining a disciple, increasing the number of individuals who know how to mentor spiritually and living on mission.
The goal of the three years is to help churches be disciplemaking entities. I’m thrilled to see the excitement already in the churches who’ve just completed their first year. To read more at this link on one of these congregations.

GiDC illustration

What’s My Mission

As I’ve moved through my years with The Navigators it has become clearer what I am to do. It has been energizing to consider how I am to accomplish the vision. It’s taken the accumulation of experiences, training and time to consider to add clarity to these things.

We want clarity because we don’t want to “run aimlessly” as the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 9.

So I have enjoyed the process that got me to my ministry mission. Check this Prezi presentation that explains it. I hope you enjoy it too.


P.S. btw this prezi does much better on a laptop than a phone.

See the two big ways I’m accomplishing my Mission.

  1. What is Life Coaching?
  2. What is Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Cultures?

My Ten Year Goals


The spiritual discipline I didn’t like

I remember when I was living in Charleston hearing about a someone journaling. I thought that sounds so awful, like a writing in a diary. I was reminded little book with a locket that I would write everything from the day. Today I …_____. Yuck.

It just didn’t sound like something I’d want to do.

But like many things that I didn’t like at first, it has become something I’ve gained a taste for over time. Slowly over years I had a change of heart.

First, a friend shared with me how to use a journal. He told me not to write everything down, only the important ideas. That opened up a whole new way of thinking about a journal. My first attempts were a bit awkward. Sometimes I picked up the habit for a bit and then dropped it for months.

As the years went by it slowly became a more significant spiritual discipline. Here’s why I am committed to journaling regularly.

  1. When I write I am more active in my thinking. There is something so much more solid when I see it written out than simply in my head.
  2. When I journal I can write down my application. By having it on paper I find I can prompt myself to live it out. Eugene Peterson said in his Twitter feed, “The most important question we ask of this text [the Bible] is not, “What does this mean?” but “What can I obey?” When I write down an action step I’m much more apt to obey.
  3. I have found that journaling slows me down. When I slow down I think more deeply. 2016-03-29 14.55.33.jpgThis process is very satisfying. It’s working in the not urgent but important quadrant which Steven Covey says is the most enriching type of work we do.
  4. A journal is a great way to write out your prayers. If you’ve never prayed this way try it. I use the acronym Knute Larson encourages P-R-A-Y. …Praise, Repent, Ask, Yield. Just write your praises, confessions and petitions. Don’t worry about punctuation or spelling it perfectly. Just get your prayers on paper.
  5. It also is a great place to write down prayer requests others ask you to lift up. I got this idea from Steve Bucy, who I served with at The Chapel. I noticed when I shared a request he wrote it down on his journal. Sometimes a month later he’d come back and ask, “How did ________ go?” I was stunned I hardly remembered I had asked him to pray this way.
  6. Using a journal will give you your spiritual story. When I review my journal I remember what I’ve been thinking about, my joys, what I’ve struggled with, what I’m learning. I quickly forget what God has been trying to teach me, so journaling helps me.
  7. When I review I begin to see the ups and downs between day to day. I recently reviewed my writings. I was surprised to see one day I was full of faith and trust. Then the very next day I was stumbling and struggling. Those two days teach me life is a battle with lots of twists and turns.
  8. As I look back in my journal I find that recurring themes pop up. I find I bump into the same ideas over and over again. That keeps me humble at times and reminds me of the important things God is teaching. I found as I reviewed this past week that worship kept coming up in my writing over the last four months. I found it in the verses that were significant. I saw it in my written out prayers. Some days I sensed my ability to worship was lacking. I learned looking back that the Lord has been working to teach me about worship over these few months.
  9. Finally when I look back I find I can learn something new, something I didn’t get the first time around. When Matua Mahiaini, the International President of The Navigators spoke at the National Staff Conference I wrote some notes down from his talk. It wasn’t until a few months later that I returned to it and considered it again in light of what God was teaching to me about worship that it popped off the page for me. I was grateful I took the time write my notes in my journal and came back to it. God taught me what I missed the first time.


Meditation insight from Shelton

This morning I was leading a monthly video conference with two churches in Shelton, CT. We were focusing on the seventh chapter in The Ways of the Alongsider. The question we proposed was, “How do we love and live the Scriptures?”

Hand Illustration.jpgDawson Trotman years ago used the hand illustration to teach how we incorporate the Word into our lives. See the attached document. There’s five ways to do it. One for each finger of our hand. The idea is to work at each of these to more fully engaged with God’s thoughts.

Meditation is one that for many of us is underused. We think of sitting down cross-legged and humming. :^) Pastor Ken today had the best comment on meditation this morning. Ken quoted Rick Warren, “If you know how to worry you can meditate.” Wow most already can do it. A part of the human experience is to worry.

Which finger do you do well at? Is there and underdeveloped digit in your life? Jump into it today. I’d love to hear your best ways of doing each: Hear, Read, Study, Memorize & Meditate.

My Ten

Click here for the ten churches I’m serving!

State of the Ministry Jan2016   


Life Coaching

There’s a lot of people throwing out the term “coaching.” It is used in a variety of ways. I’ve had a lot of training in my first four years to ramp me up to coaching.

A coach works with pastors and church leaders in helping them move from current reality to their desired outcome. The GAP between reality and desired outcome in the world of ministry can be foggy, stressful, confusing and full of rabbit trails. As a result many pastors and church leaders are frustrated, discouraged and struggling with priorities, family responsibilities and personal spiritual growth. Many are seeking to survive rather than thrive. Coaches enter that GAP with the pastor to

  • Greater understanding of their current reality and desired outcome
  • Action steps toward their desired future
  • Plans for growth personally and professionally.



In the coaching process we focus on a Christ centered life of

The Core Four is the process we walk men and women through. They consider deeply who they want to be and where they are at today. Then they take steps. That's when the fun begins! Ask me for a 20 minute to experience it.

The Core Four is the process we walk men and women through. They consider deeply who they want to be and where they are at today. Then they take steps. That’s when the fun begins! Ask me for a 20 minute to experience it.

faith, priorities, health, family, finances, service and relationships. Through asking questions a coach helps the pastor focus on current reality, desired future, and action plan. Then the coach provides support, accountability and encouragement for life transformation. The coaching process concludes with the pastor developing a vision, ministry plan and priority management toward their desired future.

It is exciting to help pastors and church leaders think and consider, to help them open up new insights and find steps they can implement to begin to transform their lives. One of my favorite coaching calls is with Pastor Gary. He has made huge strides. Almost every time we get off the phone he says thanks this is helping me renew and revive my life and ministry. What a privilege.

We coach pastors, church leaders and actually we can coach anyone who wants to walk through the process. Ask me for a 20 minute coaching call to experience it.