We often talk about improving the world, but what are we doing to improve ourselves? In Becoming a Coaching Leader, Daniel Harkavy writes:
As a coaching leader, you need to figure out how your product or service connects to some larger contribution. How does it help people to gain a higher quality of life? How does it enable them to operate more efficiently, contribute to their health, improve their outlook, or enrich their relationships? Regardless of your business, you must identify what need you’re serving that helps to improve the world.
Although Harkavy is not specifically writing for a Christian audience or for church leaders, his point is still applicable. How does what we are doing help others move further along on their relationship to God? What is the “value added” dimension of our work as lay or clergy leaders in a faith community?
My suggestion is that one of the most important “services” that we can provide to others is to help them grow in discipleship—becoming the women and men that God is calling to be. This will happen only with encouragement from a significant person in an individual’s life. In Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal states, “Genuine spirituality lives and flourishes only in cultures and relationships of accountability.” Of course, our ultimate accountability is to God, but we can create and accept accountability structures in our lives that will help us to become more mature followers of God.
Those of us who aspire to this role are challenged to “practice what we preach.” Every one who is a spiritual leader needs a mentor, coach, or “spiritual friend” to provide support and accountability for the journey.
As we begin the observance of Lent in preparation for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday, what better time to reflect anew on committing ourselves to becoming the people that God has freed us to be?