“Transitional” Coaching

Last week, I referred to a Missional Map that Demarick Patton with the 100%Sent Team developed. It is helpful when someone has a small sphere of influence and they are looking for ways to engage spiritually with each person. It helps you to know what is the next appropriate step for each person on their spiritual journey toward faith?

Today I want to introduce you to my wife, Chris. She has been doing what the 100%Sent Team calls “Transitional” Coaching. I’ll let her explain what that is.

This spring our campus ministries throughout the country will see over 10,000 seniors graduate.  Approximately 10% will join us as staff, stinters, and interns.  That means 90% will be pursuing another direction…grad school, military, the marketplace.  And as they make that transition, navigating a new ministry perspective can be tough.

I am one of several staff who coach graduates as well as former interns and stinters as they transition out of our direct ministries and into the marketplace.  It can be a very different environment for them, especially if they thought they would just do more of the same ministry in their new workplace.

Let’s look at a typical office setting.  Our young grad may only have regular contact with 15-20 people.  She may initially find no one interested.  So then she’s stuck.  She may think the only way to have a ministry then is to teach 3 year old Sunday School class at church.

Now there is nothing wrong with teaching a 3 year old Sunday School class.  But I liken it to someone who is a skilled surgeon being relegated to taking temperatures.  Our graduates have far more training and we want to help them use that training in their new situation.

So what does my coaching entail?  Our students talk about “doing ministry”.  What they really mean by that is doing ministry activity…leading a Bible study, participating in the weekly meeting, following up on an evangelistic contact.  When they find themselves in the marketplace, they quickly realize that their time is not their own.  40 hour work weeks balloon into 50 hours…weekends are filled with completing reports that are due on Monday…doing the minutiae of life takes over their free time rather than “doing ministry”.  So I suggest they make a paradigm shift.  They are no longer “doing ministry”, their entire life is ministry.  It’s how they do their job, it’s how they treat people at the grocery store, it’s how they relate to their co-workers.

On the job, I tell them to work hard…they need to give their best effort…don’t get involved in office gossip.  One person I’m coaching said she hadn’t really said much about being a Christian.  One night she was working late with a co-worker.  As they were talking, he made an observation about her and said he figured it was because she was a Christian.  She was surprised.  How did he knew she was a Christian?  He said it was obvious because of the way she treated others in the office.

I suggest finding ways to serve others at work, going the extra mile to make friends.  When they do and others recognize it, indicate in some way, if the opportunity arises, that they are motivated to because they are a Christian.  If there are places they frequent (grocery store, gym, etc.) try to build friendships.  Learn how to ask questions.

One final thing.  I talk a lot about “raising the spiritual flag”.  I want them to look for ways to say a brief sentence or two about their faith and then watch people’s reaction.  This will help them determine the next step with the person.

As Chris and I were editing this tip, we kept saying that ministry happens as an overflow of who we are in Christ. If we see our whole life as a ministry, it creates anticipation that God will show up. But we shouldn’t feel the pressure of making something happen.  After all, it is God’s ministry.

Chris recommends:  About My Father’s Business. There is a study guide in the back to help others engage spiritually in the workplace.



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