I have a pastoral coach. In years past I have had those wonderful relationships with other believers where we walked with each other through the seasons of life. Our iron sharpened each others iron. But this is the first time I have ever had a personal coach - someone who meets with me once a month and coaches my calling.
My coach is Dave Jacobs. For years Dave was a pastoral coach for the Vineyard Churches in the United States. He is still connected to some leaders in that movement - just not on the payroll. God called Dave to reach out to the many pastors who feel disconnected from the large mega-church model of leadership. What I love about Dave is that he purposefully looks at your heart more than prescribing a leadership pill filled with solutions. You can find out about Dave's ministry at: www.smallchurchpastor.com While Living Waters is not a small church, the principles Dave shares transcend the size of a particular ministry. I would recommend Dave to the mega-church pastor and the beginning church planter. Dave has pastors around the globe who view him as a mentor.
Dave attends the church I pastor, Living Waters in Medford, Oregon, along with a large group of family that comprise the wonderful Jacobs clan. Dave approached me a few months ago and offered his services as a coach. I jumped at the idea. Getting some time each month with this great guy is a real bonus. Dave is married to Ellen - a warm, wise and approachable leader in her own right.
A month ago Dave said, "You are healthy spiritually. The church is strong and you have a great staff. This is the perfect time to get away for a 30 day mini-sabbatical. Most guys wait until they are burned out. You should consider taking a mini-sabbatical now." I dismissed it for about 10 seconds until I felt the Holy Spirit say, "Clear the calendar and do it in January." Well....I start tomorrow. I am not sure how to do this except I know God will show me. I have the guest speakers lined up and Dave is one of them. The staff and leadership of the church think it is a great idea. Jan and I will show up at one of our weekend services and simply be there. (We ended up only attending one service which Dave said was wise.) I won't be in the office. My days will be filled with prolonged time in the Word and prayer. Apart from that God has me all to Himself.
In a month I will most likely have some wonderful nuggets of revelation that God will deposit in my heart. Already one struggle has emerged. I need to put to death the blue collar work ethic I grew up with that says "real" work is done with sweat and labor. I think God is trying to show me that the deep and abiding work of His Kingdom is not done with human effort, but rather by the power of His Spirit.
Someone once said to me that 99% of what needs to take place in our lives and ministries will happen if we will simply "show up" and do the right thing. Showing up in those places where we are assigned, and doing the right thing, will open the door for God to do something supernatural.
After note: The mini-sabbatical was fine. I'm not sure I will do it again, but I did learn somethings. One thing I learned was that I have a good schedule already and the time away simply confirmed it. I also got to press deeper into writing and that was a blessing.