The longer I swim in the sea of church leadership, the more I discover new and helpful skills that all lead to one thing … helping others know God. Often, when I’m in a conversation with someone, and they are expecting me to fulfill a role, I will pause in the middle of the conversation and say something like. Let me take my Pastor hat off and put my coaching hat on. It keeps me centered as well as expectations and understandings. The hats are different … and to know their shape is helpful as well. Steve Murrell once pondered the difference of four hats that I use … and here is his definitions in lite of the vocation of Pastor.
Consultant = an expert adviser
Pastors do not need to be experts; they just need to find experts and listen to them. Over the years, we have sought and listened to expert consultants in the following areas: kid’s ministry, campus ministry, worship, admin, partnership development, communications, IT, law and finance. Pastors should become experts at listening to experts.
Mentor = an experienced adviser
A consultant has expertise; a mentor has experience. Experience and trust are the keys in an mentoring relationship. My marriage and the way I raised my sons has been greatly influenced by trusted mentors. I listened to them b/c of their experience.
Coach = a life guide
Consultants and mentors lead and give input; coaches guide and draw out. A coach does not need expertise or experience to help you. Coaches need listening skills that lead to good questions that draw out and help clarify dreams, goals and passions.
Discipler = a spiritual adviser
Discipleship is the process of helping someone follow Jesus, fish for people and fellowship with others while carrying their cross. Therefore a discipler is a spiritual adviser. Developing consulting, coaching and mentoring skills can be a huge help in the discipleship process. Like coaching, discipleship does not require expertise or experience. It is simply helping people find and follow Jesus.
Having a understanding of the shape of these hats and when to use them is helpful to me so that the end game will be fulfilled … that being that people will know God more then they did just moments ago.