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:

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.


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.


The Christmas Truce

This year marks the 100th year of the Christmas Truce. World War I was in it’s first year. The overwhelming horrors of the war had not become full blown. This was the war when trench warfare became so important.

In the fall of 1914 both sides tried to out flank each other until trenches stretched from the French Alps to the North Se8386150_f520a. The enemies were separated only by a football field in length. The shot at each other and yelled at each other. In the middle was no man’s land where those who ventured risked their lives. Each side would attempt to overwhelm the other line yet no man’s land was an equalizer.

Occasionally, the sides would allow troops to collect their death. A gruesome task and all the while terrifying wondering if the other side would start shooting again. As Cheshire_Regiment_trench_Somme_1916Christmas approached something very surprising happened.

It is hard to figure out what exactly happened. Stories are told that they called out to each other and encouraged the other side to meet in the middle. “It’s Christmas we won’t shoot if you don’t.” There in no man’s land where hundreds of their comrades had perished these two sides met. They exchanged cigarettes, wine, chocolate and the best of their land.

Christmas_Truce_1914_IWM_HU_35801Their are stories of the two lines singing Christmas chorals. Silent Night and O Come all ye Faithful. One side might sing Silent Night in French, then the German might echo in their language, followed by a few verses in English.

The truce went on for a number of weeks. It didn’t happen everywhere along the lines but it was happening a lot. The common story of Jesus’ birth, their shared faith, their shared worship brought them together. It actually became a problem for the military leadership. The two sides now did not want to fight. So troops had to be pulled out and new troops brought in.

The power of the Advent story was still transforming in the midst of this horrible war. We too need Christ’s birth to heal us. We have so many sides in our country battling each other. We have factions, groups fighting each other. How will we move to a place of racial peace …of ceasing from violence? We need help today.

May Christ himself move each of us to be agents of peace for our nation. May Christ’s peace reign in our hearts.

More of the Story

You may have already bumped into the latest newsletter from December. I thought you might like to read the rest of what the four folks wrote to me. This first story Pastor Bob Quaintance shares his journey into engaging more deeply with the scriptures.

Bob and I have been in a coaching relationship since the start of the year. He has been a delight to walk with as he goes through our Life Coaching process and our Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Church process. He’s in the secon15d380d33e70ae5758c3c312d4e7c138d year of this three year commitment and at a critical time of launching discipleship groups with his core team.

Here’s the rest of the story.

I’ve read the Bible through countless times and I’ve preached and taught the Bible for 33 years as a pastor.  I’ve loved the word of God and I’ve always seen it as THE source of guidance for my life.  Recently, I’ve been reading Luke for my devotions.  When I came to Luke 5 it ended with Jesus’ teaching about new wine and old wineskins and the final verse stood out to me.  I’d never noticed it before and don’t remember it.  Here’s what it said, “And no one, after drinking old wine wishes for new; for he says, ‘the old is good enough.’”  As I read those words I immediately thought, “Wow, that’s me in a nutshell.”  I am very comfortable with the familiar and I don’t like change.  I heard the Lord challenging me to move beyond what is “good enough” to what is “better”, to His current plan for me.

Being a part of the Intentional Discipleship Church process, and receiving personal coaching over the last year, has opened me to hearing God’s word afresh.  It has opened me to not being satisfied with the old ways of doing things.  I’m ready to grow, to be challenged, and move forward.  This verse has continued to come back to me as I sense God’s challenge and leading in my life and ministry.  Dane, I’m thankful for the ministry of the Navigators and your coaching.  May God continue to bless your ministry.




Pastor Bob

Join me in praying for Bob’s church Good Hope Lutheran as they endeavor to connect deeply with the Lord through His Word and as they launch their discipleship triads this January!

See More of the Story, part 2

Charging up your time with God

I bumped into my friend Jordan and Panera this morning. We chit chatted about life and the early morning. We got onto the topic of our walk with Christ. He shared, “I am stuck. I’m just not connecting with Jesus.” Like most of us from time to time we found we are stuck in our life with Christ.

How do we get moving again spiritually?

CURRICULUMOne of the best ways is being engaged with the Scriptures. We need to hear God’s directions and insights. We need to hear him encourage us and tell us where we are askew.

Digging into the Bible can powerfully move us ahead.

Digging into the Bible can powerfully move us ahead.

Here’s a great definition that expresses this engagement with the Word.

A regular time of fellowship with God, marked by communication and intimacy, where a person learns to listen to Gods Spirit for daily insight and direction.

We connect with the Lord. We sensitively listen to what his Spirit wants to teach us. Then we take practical action steps. If we master this we will never be void of wisdom and knowledge we need to live life well.

Here’s a helpful method I’ve run into. ….Stop ….Look ….Listen ….Respond.

In Stop we ask, “Lord where’s my heart today?” As we start a time in the Word we assess where is our heart. What am I worried about, excited about, distracted about. The Lord knows where we are. We may not be so aware. We admit to Him these things. We openly confess how we get off the path. We thank him for who He is. Passages like Ps 46:10, Ps 139 help me assess where I’m at. Then I can take a brief time to remember where God is and who he is. Ps 103 is a favorite of mine.

Next we Look. “What do you want to teach me today in your Word?” Here we dig into a passage to find as many facts as we can. We ask questions with: who, what, where, when, why. Who are the characters? What was going on in the story? Who is the example? What is the sin to avoid? Once you’ve gathered the facts consider their meaning. A powerful passage help here is Proverbs 2:1-5. Look at all the ways these verses describe this process of investigating God’s Word.

This leads us to Listen. We ask the question, “What does the Lord want me to do?” Here we consider what the Lord is asking us to focus on. What’s the one thing he wants me to do. Prayer is helpful here. It is usually the obvious theme that is jumping off the page. That is the one idea the Lord wants you to focus on. However, there are times I really have no idea what the big idea of the day is. On those days I take a stab on one of the facts I found in my Look section.

Finally we Respond. We consider “With God’s help today I will ______________. Make it simple enough you can start today. Today I will remind myself after each meal that I am completely redeemed by the Lord. Or today I will remember he has swept away all my transgressions.

 Here’s a document that I’ve used to help in this practice. QT sheet

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.

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.

Day 233 One Year Bible

Here’s some powerful verses from Ps 37. I must think and consider these…

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
…fretting one of my worst habit. …yikes I must stop it
22, 23 If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumbles he will not fall for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
…we do stumble. …we fall and mess up. …but God will pick us up, even in tough things.
25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging for bread.
…God doesn’t forget us.  …he’ll take care of our children
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way, he will exalt you to inherit the land.
…waiting is so hard, I’d rather not do it. …but I must wait for the Lord to move
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in times of trouble.
…we wait for God because he alone is our rescuer …we wait for his timing of his leadership and care.