Equipping transforming coaches

How do you tap someone’s deepest motivations? How can you best help someone take


Kirk Thomsen leading one of our sessions from The Deep Dive. Six different churches were represented that day. All went home considering how the can coach instead of tell.

smart steps ahead?

These answers were revealed in our coaching workshop called The Deep Dive.

Coaching is an often used word in the world of leadership and business. Some use it as a synonym for mentoring. Others use it in the sense of someone needing readjustment.

In our Deep Dive we spoke of it this way, “Coaches are change experts who help leaders take responsibility and act to maximize their own potential.” *

So our day involved helped the folks gathered to understand these different patterns for helping. We worked on our listening skills, our skill in asking questions and how to allow others to talk. By the end of the day we were pulling all these skills together in what we call the coaching conversation. It starts with someone’s current reality and helps them achieve a path for their intended future. Sounds simple, but it is so hard and even awkward we begin to practice these skills.

I knew the group was connecting when one of our question and answer session kept going on and on. Everyone had great insights and thoughts about what they were learning! That’s great fun when you’re leading it.

Here’s a few comments from three pastors:

Deep Dive really helped our team go to the next level in helping people move forward in their thinking and their lives. I’m grateful for the tools it has given us to offer more competent coaching. – Joe Hunt, Compass North
The deep dive session led by Dane Allphin was very help. It helped me think about how to encourage some of the folks at Hillside Church. It also helped my relationship with the other folks from Hillside deepen. Definitely worth the time spent. – Randy Nickel, Hillside Church
The Deep Dive Coaching Seminar was one of the best leadership seminars I have attended. Not only did I walk away with practical tools necessary to be a better coach and lead other to do the same, I also discovered some new insights into my giftedness as a leader. – Sean Homan, Freshwater Community Church

*Joseph Umidi, quoted by Tony Stoltzfus in Leadership Coaching


Why lead a Coaching Seminar

I am gearing up for our Coaching Seminar called The Deep Dive. I am sold on the coach

Deep Dive Cover copy

Click on the link below to find out more about The Deep Dive Seminar. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-deep-dive-coaching-seminar-tickets-38117257744

approach to leadership. Some of it is because of what I’ve learned. Some because I’ve seen the effect in others. It can be transformative. That’s why I’m running The Deep Dive this October 28th.

Here’s one story..

A pastor I had been coaching was enjoying the process saying, “I wish I had this kind of help 30 years ago when I started in ministry.” He had said that a few times over a number of months, when he told me, “I want you to coach my young associate too.” After a year of coaching that associate the pastor said, “Would you coach our youth director?” Six months after that this senior 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.

Join us on the 28th. You’ll gain leadership skills in listening, asking questions and helping people move towards their deepest desires and dreams.

Why I like Life Coaching


The Best from my Regional Leader Prep

September 1st I add to my role in Nav Church Ministries. In addition to equipping pastors and churches I’ll begin to lead the other Nav Staff in our four state region. As they asked me to consider the role I began my training for it. I has been a great learning experience for me. Here’s where I benefitted most.

  • Each chapter in 1 Samuel contains strong leadership principles from the life of David. It’s a book of contrasts: Eli & Samuel, Saul & David …or bad example leadership compared to a good example. Chapter three has a verse that has echoed in my mind since last November. Samuel speaks to the Lord for the first time by saying, “Speak Lord your servant is listening.” From that time on Samuel knew the voice of the Lord. That’s where spiritual leadership starts.
  • From a completely different angle on leadership I read “It’s Your Ship.” by Abrashoff. He was a captain of a Navy ship. The leadership principles are so powerful: listen aggressively …believe in people …build up your people. Among the best quotes is listen like, “Every encounter, every opportunity was the most important conversation I had that day,” in chapter four. I am reviewing my notes from the book regularly.
  • Another leadership book I’ve benefitted from is the “Emotionally Healthy Leader” by Peter Scazerro. He addresses many of the difficult emotional areas we ignore or bury. You cannot plow through the principles he’s written without some careful thought. In his chapter Facing your Shadow is about becoming aware of the natural weaknesses or wounds that many of us carry and lead from. These are destructive patterns that hurt not only us but those who serve with us. Another great chapter is on power. He pushes us to consider the power that each of us has. Sometimes we are aware of it. “And the more power we have, the greater impact we exert – intentional or not -on those around us. …We must learn what it means to use our power and then how to establish wise and healthy boundaries.” p. 247

I’d love to hear your favorite leadership book.

Here’s more about the Great Lakes Region…

Regional Numbers &  What We are About

Our Region by the Numbers

As I step into my new as the Regional Leader of the Great Lakes. Here’s a way NCM Logo singleto look at our team.

GLR by the numbers …

  • 4 States: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio
  • 11 Navigator Reps
  • 8 Nav Life Coaches
  • 8 Church Disciplemaking Coaches
  • 76 Churches being influenced
  • 24 Leaders being Life Coached
  • 122 disciplemaking laborers equipped


My announcement letter

What we are About

This September I start my new role in the Navigators. Much remains the same but now I’ll also serve the Navstaff as they work to build disciplemaking cultures in churches.

I’ve been a part of the team since I started in 2011. Now my duties will expand to lead our team to continue building The Church.

Isaiah 58:12 says a lot about what we are involved with churches. “Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age old foundations. You will be called repairer of broken walls restorer of streets with dwellings.” ESV

The church unfortunately is broken down, walls need repair, foundations need to be relaid. You’ve probably seen and heard about it too. One recent stat that came out from The Barna Group’s “State of Pastors” survey that startled me was that the average church attender now come 1.14 times a month. Wow. How does a church have any kind of impact in a life once a month?

Another stat I saw as I was reviewing a church’s Reveal Survey that 34% of the congregation believed in salvation by grace. Yikes! How can we miss this core truth in the gospel? This church also only had 12% of its people engaged in the Bible everyday! You may think I’m picking on this church. The sad fact is that’s not out of the norm with the churches I serve.

We’ve have lots broken walls.

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.

That’s why I am so enthused about the role we have in our region!

Three areas we work at to rebuild The Church are: Life Coaching, Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Cultures & building laborers.

  1. Our life coaching is a fantastic tool to create whole and intentional church leaders. One of my pastors says all the time about it, “Where was this 30 years ago when I started in the ministry.” This pastor has not only gone through the process but has had his staff at two churches go through it too. To learn more see my post on Life Coaching.
  2. Growing Intentional Disciplemaking Cultures (GiDC) is our three year process that helps a church or organization build a disciplemaking culture. Pastor Jerry is almost finished with his church’s process. He is thrilled to see the Bible being read and discussed, discipleship triads being formed AND he knows there are new leaders within the present triads. See the post on the GiDC.
  3. Building laborers comes from Matthew 9:37, 38. Jesus notes that the harvest is abundant and we were told to pray that the Lord would send out laborers. This is people like you and me to work in his harvest, shedding light, speaking truth, building up strong roots of faith. As a region we each will be discipling others, helping them take strong steps of transformation. The big dream is that many of these would also become one of Jesus’ laborers too propelling others to join in the harvest.

GiDC Process

In good company in disbelief

Not believing really is part of it.

From the very start everyone struggled with thinking Easter was true. The disciples did not start there. Just look at where they were at immediately following Jesus’ death.

Luke 24 brings out disbelief in the closest of Jesus’ followers. We see it first in the women who went to the tomb. Mary, Joanna and another Mary they were going to anoint the dead body of Jesus, as was the custom. They saw him die on the cross. They saw them put the body in the cave and the stone rolled shut. There was now no belief in him being the Messiah.

Yet as they encounter the angel he retells them what Jesus had numerous times told them, “The Son of Man must betrayed, delivered into Pilate, crucified and on the third day raised to life.” The women had missed this each time he had told them about the cross.   It hadn’t sunk in to their souls and begun to form into faith.

“Then they remembered his words.” NIV. At that point they moved from disbelief to belief. They recalled the moments Jesus had foretold them about these events and chose to consider it true.

However, they were hardly the only ones not believing. They were in good company with the Apostles.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had given up the dream. They were walking when under stealth Jesus came alongside and engaged them in conversation. In their dejection they stated, “But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:21 NIV. They surmised their was no reason to continue with fantasies of Jesus’ greatness. They too had sunk into disbelief, joining the women.

That’s not the end of the account because when Jesus breaks bread with them he opens their eyes and they recognize him. Pumped they run to the other disciples to attest what the women had told them!

There’s one more group that was holding on to disbelief. The very night that all these encounters happened, the other Apostles were in doors when Christ appeared before them. You might think that would be enough for them to move from disbelief to belief.

It wasn’t. At this point, they had the word from three women that an angel said Jesus was alive and they had the two Emmaus hikers attesting they walked with Jesus that day.

So the other disciples that night first think Jesus is a ghost. Still unconvinced they weren’t able to get to faith when Jesus showed his hands and feet. Touching him was not going to get them there.

Finally, Jesus proves it to them by eating a fish.

The women and the men’s testimony didn’t help, the appearance of Christ himself didn’t, Jesus talking to them didn’t and the nail holes in his hands and feet, all these could get them to believe. But eating a fish did. Weird.

All this tells us how hard it is for us to move from disbelief to belief. We stubbornly hold on to only what see and of what we are convinced. Christ’s words to us are the same one he spoke then, “Why are your troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” Lk 24:38 NIV

We all start together by not buying in to the faith. If you don’t believe the truth of Easter, you are in good company. Everyone starts there. Some folks move on.

Where are your doubts? …that Jesus existed? …that he rose from the grave? …that he truly took care of all your sin? …that there is purpose for you today?

May the Lord Jesus continue to remove all of our doubts so that you and I can have the kind of Easter Sunday these men and women on that day. Happy Easter!

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.

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