How many coaches does the average NFL team have? The answer is 23! Why is that? Certainly professional football players know how to play the game. The answer is that everyone needs a coach for them to excel. Every pastor also needs a coach to be as effective as possible.

Pastors work hard, but don’t always get the results they want to see. Having a ministry coach can greatly help.

Eric Miller, director of ministry operations for CE National, talks with Ed Short, CE National’s ministry coach and consultant.

Ed is not only the ministry coach and consultant for CE National, he is the lead pastor of Crosspointe Church in Pennsylvania. Ed’s been a youth pastor, an executive pastor, and the lead pastor in churches ranging in size from 75 to 1600.

Ed is currently coaching and consulting 24 pastors and churches. He is passionate about helping pastors lead their churches to the next level of effectiveness.

What do you do for churches?

Ed Short went from being a youth pastor to an executive pastor in one step. During his executive pastor days, he was in charge of staff, but also mission and vision. Ed loved it and sharpened his coaching skills by coaching the people on his team. This is the very same thing he does for other churches. Ed is someone who helps ministry leaders get unstuck. He doesn’t tell church leaders what to do, but gives ideas they can try.

As a consultant, Ed helps a church assess how their ministry is effective and ways that it is not effective. “If you think you’re a visionary, but not good at assessment, you’ll never get there,” says Ed. The benefit is two-fold. The person develops as a ministry leader and the church develops.

Ed is passionate about pastors and churches and wants to have the opportunity to be a listening ear. It helps to have someone not emotionally involved in the ministry to determine what steps to take.

What is a ministry coach?

The discipling piece is what every Christ-follower needs to do. Discipleship and evangelism are the key.  Coaching is the idea of coming behind a leader and taking them up a notch from where they are now. Ed remembers the first Monday as a pastor thinking to himself, “‘What do I do now?”  As leaders develop in ministry they run into challenges. A ministry coach and consultant can help a church leader strategically think through options and give insights.

Every pastor overseeing other pastors should coach them up. But that might not be in the lead pastor’s wheelhouse. So lead pastors need someone else to coach their associate pastors.

A consultant looks at the effectiveness of an area of ministry and how a pastor can be more effective. An example is that 95% of those in ministry during coronavirus thought they should livestream services. Most pastors thought they should do this to get the message out to their people. That was a mistake. The opportunity is there to see livestream as a second campus. All a pastor needs to do is figure out how to do the connecting piece and he could develop a following of people who have never been to church. The leaders Ed is working with have picked up a lot of people through online services because they aren’t just looking to reach their own people.

What’s key to finding a good ministry coach?

A good ministry coach:

  • matches the leader’s philosophy of ministry.
  • Listens well.
  • Is an idea-person.
  • Understands systems and can strategize.

A good ministry coach is someone that philosophically agrees with the church leader because they’re going to lead him in a direction. They listen well because a good listener can make good assessments. They are an idea-person and can understand systems and can strategize.

Everybody in ministry wants people in their town to come to know Jesus. But pastors can become frustrated when they don’t see that on a high enough level. If a pastor is in a church of 100 and each person is interested in seeing friends come to know Jesus, at the end of two years he could, maybe, see 100 people come to know Jesus. That would be amazing, but what if he could fish in a bigger pool? The ministry coach can help him find the bigger pool.

What about mission statements?

Mission is what every ministry is called to do. Churches are to make disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples. The problem with a mission statement is that a church spends a lot of time making it up, but doesn’t  practice it. The church has a mission statement that says, for example, it’s going north. That’s still fairly nebulous. A mission statement gives the church direction but doesn’t tell how to get there.

The vision statement is how the church is going to fulfill their mission statement. A church does that differently than a church down the road. Churches need to reach lost people. But most churches aren’t doing an effective job. It’s important to teach the Christ followers to follow Jesus.

How do people define ministry?

The average person defines ministry as serving in a program. What if all of our churches began to redefine ministry as one person impacting another person? What if people in churches realized that ministry happens outside of the building? Most pastors aren’t taught to think that way. If people in a church aren’t doing evangelism effectively, some of that needs to rest on the pastor’s shoulders.

Ed feels the key to evangelism is listening not speaking. “You do have to talk at some point,” says Ed. “But if you listen to people’s heart needs, you can bring Jesus into the conversation.” It helps to go to on an Urban Hope Training Center mission trip. At Urban Hope people learn principles that are transferable back home.

What can a ministry leader expect if they’re interested in your coaching and consulting?

Ed uses an intake form to help understand a leader’s situation. He also offers the first hour free in order to get a good idea of where he can help. This hour helps to see the strong points and the areas that need improvement.

Ed has also developed a process to help a church through a pastoral change. The average church has difficulty with candidate selection. Ed helps a church assess where the church is currently, decide where the church wants to go, then helps the church find the right person to get them there.

Ed has learned that you don’t treat everybody the same. As a leader, pastors need to know their staff well enough to know what’s going to encourage them and discourage them. They have to understand who they’re working with.

What are other resources that help with the equipping process?

Just going to a training conference gives a ministry leader notes, but doesn’t necessarily change their ministry. If they have questions about small groups, find a great small group conference. Pastorpedia is great insight, but if a leader just watches but doesn’t do anything with it or bounce it around with a ministry coach, it probably won’t help.

If a church is looking for good information on livestreaming their service, talk with Jay Kranda who is the expert at Saddleback church (Jaykranda.com). Krand’s podcast isn’t going to change a life, but if a ministry leader can talk with someone about the principle that’s been learned, that will change his life.

If you or someone you know is interested in coaching with Ed Short, email him at edshort@cenational.org or visit www.cenational.org/CandC.

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