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:

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.

Scotland Prayer Requests


2015-04-24 15.53.43I am so privileged to be asked to assist pastors and Young Life staff in the UK. This May I’ll spend nine days running workshops and interacting with key leadership of the country. My daughter will be joining me too, which is a thrill to have her with me.

The big dream is that a new wave of generations of disciples and leaders would flow from our time together. Clearly no one is that good or skilled enough to pull that off.

Would you join me in praying for these things? May God do even greater things than we would consider!

Prayer Requests for May 8-17
  1. Pray for travel mercies for Kate and I. Pray for all our connections would be made.125px-Flag_of_Scotland.svg
  2. Pray Kate & I would be aware and sensitive to every conversation we have. That we would encourage and strengthen each person.
  3. Pray that the leadership in YL staff would be raising up new leadership for the future of The Church in the UK. We will be helping them understand the relational and spiritual dynamics that build disciples. We meet the 14th through the 16th.
  4. Pray the pastors that I interact with would be able to use the material I will be leading them in. We meet in two different cities in Scotland on Monday the 12th & Tuesday the 13th.
  5. Pray for the follow up with a few pastors and YL staff over the next six months. We will be asking a few YL staff to walk through the material the rest of the year. I am praying that a few pastors will also want to integrate these principles deeply into their lives.
  6. Pray for the long-term impact of this trip that it would go way beyond anything Kate and I could accomplish. Pray God would get the glory and that more people in the UK would live out the Great Commission powerfully.


Focusing My Vision

Core Four

Our Core 4 helps you proactively decide how you’ll live out all areas of your personal life. We then assist in setting ministry vision & its implementation.

As a part of my own life coaching I’ve been going through I’ve had to pull away and consider my mission and vision. It’s been a great process. I’m grateful to my coach Bill Mowry and the system setup that enhances clarity.

So after about a year and a half of considering, then coming back to edit a number of times here’s what I have.

My Vision Statement is:

Helping the Church excel at the Great Commission.

There are several reasons why I landed on the phrase. My earlier renditions stated, “helping pastors and churches.” I wanted to shorten the statement down so I felt like I needed to combine pastors and churches. A simpler statement is easier to remember and say.

But I also wanted include one other group of people. Some of the best people at discipling others are everyday people, not necessarily pastors. So I liked the idea even more of using “the Church,” because it included all these folks too.

I used the word “excel” because everyone is doing discipleship and helping others to some degree. Yet we could do so much more. Our impact could greatly increase if we excelled, if we took wise intentional steps.

In my earlier editions of the vision statement I would end with a phrase something like …disciple-making cultures. I liked the compound word disciple-making because it focuses the idea of my mission. I even use that particular phrase a lot in explaining it. What it lacked was that some people did not understand the full impact of being a disciple. I know in my own mind at times that I have truncated discipleship and left off the missional components. When I exchange the words Great Commission at that point it carries a lot more weight toward evangelism and expansion of the gospel. And since the Great Commission is about making disciples it fits nicely into my vision and mission. …Or rather I fit nicely into the Great Commission’s vision.

Next post I’ll continue with how I accomplish this vision.


More of the Story, part 3

This is more from my series of posts following up my newsletter. I couldn’t put all the comments the guys wrote in my Christmas letter, so I thought I’d give the rest of the story here.

Karl, Mike, Aaron and I meet on Saturday for an hour or two …or sometimes three. The focus is how we can propel each other spiritually to greater commitment to Christ. Our mode is bringing our Fresh Bread when we meet. God gave Israel fresh bread every morning in the form of manna. We are pushing ourselves to receive fresh discoveries from the Word and then pass that on to each other.

Here’s Karl’s rest of the story.

kussowMy three friends and I have been meeting off and on for several years now. This fellowship has developed into one of the stabilizing elements in an otherwise chaotic life. Different from other bible study groups I’d participated and lead, this group has always been dedicated to preparing each of us for action. When we started we were very focused on developing the skills needed to teach and lead the small group bible fellowship that we were responsible for that meets at our church after the service each week. Dane has always been the driving force behind our fellowship.  He’s taken the initiative to organize our study and get us motivated.  From the characteristics of a disciple, to memorization, to volunteer service, and daily reading and prayer, he’s always been able to keep gently moving us forward.  I’m embarrassed to say that without him, our group would meet less and be much more of a purely social gathering.  But, he’s kept us rolling with the navigator’s wheel, focusing on developing our character, skills, and habits so that we are continually, noticeably, drawing closer in relationship to God individually and in our ability to reflect his love onto the people we encounter in our lives. For people that are wondering if being part of a small group is worth the time, I’d say that without it, you are wasting time; missing the fan that gives air to the fire that God started with the match of his spirit in each of us. Join a small group this week and feel what I mean.  As you grow, you will feel the positive impact in every aspect of your life.


More of the rest of the Story, part 4

More of the Story, Part 2

One of the first churches I started to work with even before I came of staff with The Navs was Providence Church in Avon. I met with Andy and Tom to talk about their groups ministry and discipleship at the Bob Evans on Rockside Rd. I was still interviewing with The Navs. It was a nice foretaste of what my ministry was going to become.

This past fall we ran a workshop called The Alongsider. It’s based off the book The Ways of the Alongsider. What I like about it is that it’s the relational and biblical principles that build disciples. It’s easy enough for those who’ve never discipled someone, yet there’s plenty of challenges for those who’ve helped mature others for years.

Here’s the rest of the story from Andy Meeker.

MeekerIn Galatians 4:19 the apostle Paul appears to be very candid in his comment about the struggle of seeing “Christ formed” in believers. Christ “formation” or spiritual growth and development in a person’s life, in most cases it seems, is a long-haul marathon. It involves intentional engagement by those, who like Paul, long to see the “Christ forming”. We at Providence Church are grateful for Dane’s heart and engagement among us as we long to see Christ formed in the members of our local body. The training at a recent “Along-siders” half-day training session as well as the one-on-one informal times of encouragement and guidance have been very helpful in keeping us pressing on in the formation process. 


Pray as Providence continues to work hard at making disciples. Pray for Andy, Joe as they work encourage more people to learn the art of being spiritual mentors.

More Rest of the Story, part 3

3 Big Events coming up!

The next three weeks are packed with some very fun events with big opportunities for impact.

  • Saturday Mar 1st. I’ll be leading the Ways of the Alongsider Clinicshapeimage_4 for Maranatha Bible Church. They have fifty folks coming out to learn how to sharpen their disciple-making skills. Jim Creed and Cathy Hogan have been pulling folks into the day. Our prayer is that they each start investing in one other person.
  • Mar 6-8. The Navigators are hosting the African American Congress on Discipleship in Cleveland. Pastors and collegiate students will be joining us for the days together. We will help each one learn new steps discipling others and how to do it in the church & college contexts. My prayer is that a few of the pastors I’m connected with join us.
  • Mar 12. St Paul’s Episcopal is running Alpha in two weeks. We had a rich experience this past fall. Now we’d like those who’ve attended to draw in a few others. It is a super video series for those who have questions about the Christian faith …and it’s a lot of fun together.
  • Ok here’s a fourth event. …April 12th I’m running a Ways of the Alongsider Clinic that is open to the public. We’ll be at LifeStyles in Green. More details to come soon.

My Ministry with The Navs

What do you do all day Dane??

Here’s a great video that highlights what we do in Church Discipleship Ministry in The Navigators. The big vision is building disciple-making cultures in churches that live out the Great Commission one relationship at a time.


Alongsider Clinic On Saturday Oct 26th

I am very excited to host our first Alongsider Clinic in Akron. This is great disciple-making workshop based off the book “The Ways of the Alongsider.” The author Bill Mowry and I will be running the interactive event.

The Nav staff and I have used this book to coach many pastors. It is a helpful tool that lays out simply the biblical and relational principles that help people grow spiritually.

I had the privilege of running my first Clinic for my friend Pastor Doug Clark. Here’s what he thought of the day.

The Alongsider Training that we hosted for our leadership team significantly moved the dougdiscipleship “ball” forward at our church. People were inspired by the idea that everyone is called to walk alongside others for the sake of spiritual growth. Many had a cool Aha moment when they realized coming alongside someone boils down to just five simple points.  1. Being connected to God. 2. Being Connected to others. 3. Reading the Bible Together. 4. Helping another apply the Bible to their life. 5.  Helping others engage in the mission of the Gospel.  I knew it was great day because the time flew by and we together enjoyed ourselves.

Join us Saturday October 26 from 9am to 2:30pm at the Green Giant Eagle’s Community Room. The cost is $25 which covers the workbook and lunch …and of course all the fun. To save your spot send your check made out to “The Navigators” to The Navigators, c/o Marty Ruegg, 1483 Cherry Lane, Uniontown, OH 44685. We only have room for 30 people, so reserve your spot by mailing in your check.

I hope to see you there!


Alongsider Clinic: strengthening your disciple-making


It has been my privilege to walk with pastors and leaders as they consider their impact on others. One of the new tools that I’ve bumped into is the workbook “The Ways of the Alongsider.” What I have really liked about this book is that it is a workbook to process new insights. The Alongsider is about the relational principles that make disciple-making work. I’ve taken a dozen pastors through it. They have taken good skills they can implement right in their context. They have loved the experience.

I want you to be a part of my first workshop on disciple-making here in Akron. I have sent you this email because I know that we share a common vision to increase our spiritual impact on those around us.

Here are the details. Saturday October 26thwe will be meeting in the executive room on the

We had a wonderful time at a recent Alongsider Clinic in Tyler, TX.

We had a wonderful time at a recent Alongsider Clinic in Tyler, TX.

second floor at the Giant Eagle in Green. The event starts promptly at 9am and will conclude at 2:30. The cost is twenty-five dollars, which includes the workbook, lunch and strong new insights you’ll take into your discipling relationships. Bill Mowry, the author of the book, and I will share duties presenting.

I do only have room for thirty folks that day, so to reserve your spot send your check made out to The Navigators and mail to The Navigators, c/o Marty Ruegg, 1483 Cherry Lane, Uniontown, OH 44685.

I hope you can join us! I believe it will be a powerful day of locking arms with others around town who share the same desire to make disciples.