Youth. Talent. Drive. We are inclined to think that these three ingredients are essential to success. But, with the NFL and NCAA Football seasons starting up, it's a good time to watch that assumption play out. On both levels there are dozens of extremely talented men who are in the prime of their life and athletic career. For those in college, their dream is to make it to the NFL. For those already in the NFL, they want to maintain (or attain) a starting position and get to the Super Bowl and the Hall of Fame. While youth, talent and drive are key to success in athletics, they don't guarantee it. Some people are inclined to think that what you are is all you will be. For pastors, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones believed that teaching homiletics (preaching) was an abomination. He believed that the Spirit made each man a particular kind of preacher and that was that. Lloyd-Jones was a brilliant man and a godly pastor, but I think he makes a terrible error at this point. We fall prey to a kind of determinism if we think that we can only be as effective as the skill sets we were born with.
Now, with so many young, talented men filling the rosters of NCAA and NFL Football teams, why is it that some excel and others do not? I'm convinced that the determining factor is coaching. A good coach makes all the difference. The right coach can turn a mediocre player into a force to be reckoned with. A mediocre coach can make the all-time best, worse. Yet, the player doomed for failure - regardless of of talent and drive - is the one who thinks he doesn't need a coach. He's the one who thinks he's going to change the future of the team and the game all on his own. It's the coach who needs to listen to him. What does all this have to do with a book on ministry coaches? Because most pastors are that player. Most pastors think that they're going to change the future of their church and ministry all on their own. They don't recognize their need for a more mature believer who is far more seasoned in ministry to coach them. I'm convinced that the future health and effectiveness of the church hangs on this ever-pressing need.
Scott Thomas is the President of the Network Director Board of the Acts 29 Network. Tom Wood is the President of Church Multiplication Ministries. Both of these men have served as pastors and now they both serve in their respective ministries to raise up and train the current and up-coming generation of pastors and leaders. They recognize that both scripture and experience teach that those who minister alone are not truly ministering. Even the pastor who leads the church as the only staff member ought to be raising up godly men to share the burden of leading and ministry (Elders, Deacons, Sunday School teachers, Small Group leaders, etc.). Peter, James, and John had Jesus; Barnabas had Mark; Paul had Timothy; Elijah had Elisha; Moses had Joshua. If these saints of old needed coaching, mentoring and discipleship, why are we so arrogant to assume that we don't?
If you recognize the need for a Gospel Coach and you have the desire to be a Gospel Coach, then you need to read this book. The theology is sound and the wisdom is practical. Thomas and Wood have created a faithful and viable vision for leadership development that will impact future generations of pastors and churches for the glory of God. You need this book on your shelf!