31 Days to Become a Better Pastor: Get a Coach

This post in the series is by guest blogger Dave Jacobs. Dave coaches pastors and you can find out more about him in the bio at the end of this post.


Why you need a coach

I’m a coach. I don’t coach athletes, I coach pastors. In fact, I’m into my eleventh year as a full-time pastoral coach. Not only that, but I specialize in smaller churches. I love my job but whenever I begin a new coaching relationship with a pastor I feel a need to clarify what exactly a coach is, or isn’t. You see, coaching means different things to different people.

Coaching is different than pastoring. Coaching is different than mentoring. Coaching is different than counseling. Coaching is different than consulting. There are similarities between coaching and the above, but coaching is different, significantly different.

A pastoral coach, typically, has past (or present) experience being a pastor. For example, prior to becoming a coach I was a pastor for twenty-eight years. A coach is someone who is great at asking thought-provoking questions that draws out of the pastor ideas and solutions that reside in the pastor. You see, I am an optimist when it comes to pastors. I believe that God has already put good options, ideas, and solutions into the pastor for them to use in dealing with the challenges they are facing in their personal life or the congregation in which they serve. A good coach knows how to draw these things out.

A coach provides objective, honest, practical, and safe feedback while walking with you through your personal challenges.

Here are some reasons why you might want to partner with a coach.

  • If you feel stuck in a certain area of your life or ministry
  • If you need help in a certain ministry-skill, i.e. counseling, preaching, administrating, goal-setting, etc.
  • If you are considering transitioning out of ministry or to another church.
  • If you are a new pastor or first time church planter.
  • If you are faced with a crisis, either personal or professional.
  • If you are preparing to select your first board.
  • If you want to better your preaching skills.

The rule of thumb is…when you feel stuck in any area of life or ministry it’s good to partner with a coach.


Dave JacobsDave Jacobs was a pastor for twenty-eight years before retiring in 2006 and founding Small Church Pastor, an organization that provides encouragement, coaching, consulting, and resources for pastors and leaders of churches of all sizes, but with a focus on smaller churches.  Dave is the author of ‘NAKED MAN RUNNING: 100 ideas that work in a small church,’ ‘Mile Wide, Inch Deep: Experiencing God Beyond the Shallows, Soul Care for Busy Pastors and the Rest of Us,’ and ‘Belligerent Believers.’ Along with coaching pastors, Dave moderates the Small Church Pastor group page on Facebook that provides more than 2200 senior pastors a safe place to exchange ideas, laughs, and encouragement.

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