A few months ago, I wrote about my recent expereinces with a counselor. The money we’ve spent in counseling has been the best the best investment we’ve made in our family in a decade. One thing I’ve learned in almost 20 years of ministry is that ministry can crush your soul. Okay, that sounds a little extreme. However, I meet fellow student and children’s pastors every week and the common story is the hurts and frustrations inflicted by ministry. For the sake of your physical, emotional and spiritual help; and for the sake of your family, go find a counselor.

Another often neglected relationship ministry leaders need in their life is a good coach. This summer, I began meeting with a life coach and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a personal experience of this type. I was on sabbatical this summer and my church offered to send me to a conference or pay for coaching and I selected coaching since there aren’t really many conference options in the summer. I’m about half-way through my sessions and I’m so pumped about the things we’re uncovering.

I went into this coaching relationship with a “problem.” About 6 months ago, a coworker asked me, “where do you see yourself in 5 years.” For the first time in my life, I couldn’t answer that question and it bothered me to the core. I have all these ideas and dreams in my head, but I was having difficulty sorting though them to see what needed to be prioritized and what needed to be discarded. Fortunately, I’m in a process of rediscovering how I am wired and what I was made to do and dreaming new dreams of how to put my gifts in actions. Before I finished my first session, I wondered, “why did I wait so long to find a coach?”

I’m convinced that everyone needs a coach. What kind of coach you need might depend on the season you are in or the area you’re wanting to grow. I spent two years in Jim Wideman’s infuse learning from him about leadership and ministry. It was a powerful expereince that I’ve since sent many people that way. I’ve had informal mentors over the years that have helped me with specific projects or challenges. Good coaching could be the result of asking someone you know and respect to help you with a specific area.

However, this is one thing I’ve learned. Few people are disciplined enough to get the most out of a casual coaching relationship. It’s worth investing $500 or $1,000 into a specific coaching experience or relationship. The financial investment causes you to make it a priority and you’ll likely get far more from the experience.

Find a good coach and get where you’re trying to go faster.