partners or pariah to the church?
Inspired by yet another provocative Twitter post/Blog teaser, I’m compelled to respond to the question posed by “Life Coaching Trends” on April 27th (http://tinyurl.com/c6xqwv) questioning the validity of the profession of Christian Life Coaching, it’s role in the church and whether this is a service that is fee-worthy or if it should be provided for free as part of a ministry.
All fair and relatively benign questions that can all be answered with a firm “it depends.”
What challenged me were the two responders’ comments. In summary, they expressed (angrily) that anyone who would charge for or even provide such a service was “scum” because God is our Life Coach and he doesn’t charge a dime. Reading the Bible, going to church and praying are free and that’s all we need.
As a credentialed Biblical Counselor and certified Professional Life Coach … who also happens to be a Christian, I have some strong feelings on the topic.
I strongly agree that there is no better Life Coach for us than God. I strongly agree that the Bible is the best resource to find the answers to life’s questions. I strongly agree that going to church and praying should be all we need… and it’s free!
I strongly disagree that every average person in need (or even every Christian in need) knows how to utilize those amazing God-given, free resources without any guidance whatsoever. Isn’t that part of what pastoral staff do for us? Teach us, guide us, focus us on Jesus when we stray from the Truth?
An old pastor of mine once told me that a single pastor cannot effectively minister to more than 25 people at a time (that’s why small group ministries are so important). This is an opportunity for Life Coaches to be of value in a church setting. Of course in that kind of circumstance, the lay helper should be a “Christian” Life Coach to ensure the guidance given is aligned with the church’s beliefs… and no, I would not charge for these services.
The bigger flaw in the posed questions and responses is the assumption that the “Christian” in Christian Life Coaching is about who is being coached or where they’re being coached as opposed to foundation from which they coach – a foundation of biblical principles that shape the coaching practices to provide life tools that keep our eyes on Jesus.
Personally, I work in a secular profession – not in a church – and provide a lot of coaching and counseling to business managers and leaders. Having a Christian foundation to my Life Coach training allows me to integrate Christian principles when coaching executives through difficult business decisions and, from time to time, has opened windows to "witness" in an otherwise godless environment… and yes, I do get paid for that.
Praise God for Christian Life Coaching and the opportunities to use it for His glory... in any setting!!!