The topic of christian leadership has always been a particularly interesting one to me, and as a leader within a church which stands firmly within the Acts 29 network this book was a given for me to get my hands on. I have got to say it did not disappoint.
I loved that this book addressed not only the necessity of having a Gospel coach, but also being a Gospel coach. The Gospel and leadership is not meant for consumption but replication; this was a welcome reminder.
Another aspect of this book that quite rooted with me was the holistic nature of what exactly a “Gospel Coach” is. Scott Thomas describes it through a framework of shepherding by laying out four particular coaching qualities I found helpful. A gospel coach leads through knowing his disciple(s), feeding his disciple(s) [and necessarily pointing them back to their ultimate source of nourishment–the Bible/God Himself], leading his disciple(s), and protecting his disciple(s). This was helpful for me because being a gospel coach involves much more than a weekly session of going through particular curriculum or leading a person through a particular area of their life. Being a Gospel Coach requires a level of investment in the person’s life; a sense of involvement in the person’s gospel growth in all areas of life–not merely the one in which we do as little as possible so we can check our “leading others” box off of our lists.
This being said, I would argue that one of this book’s strengths is it’s practical nature. This book does a good job at tackling potentially vague concepts and providing meat to them; setting out a framework of not only the idea of leadership, but what it would look like to tangible do this leadership. Put simply, this book’s strength lies within it’s ability to be implemented, not studied.
Central to the Gospel is relationship, and I believe that Gospel Coach drives us deeper into a relational model of leadership, where vulnerability, risk, and authenticity is present–and which I would argue that leadership ought to look like.
Lastly, one thing I thought as I was diving into the book is “how is this idea of a gospel coach different from a life coach?” This can be answered quite simply: for a Gospel Coach, the Gospel is always central and primary. This changes everything because the focus of meeting up and fleshing things out is not on self-improvement or rule-keeping; rather, the focus is on Gospel transformation, implementation, and growing into a deeper understanding of Grace and what that means for each of us personally.
In summary, Gospel Coach not only laid out a helpful framework of what it looks like to invest, love, and care for those you are leading/discipling, but it also provides a tangible look at what it may look like as you work it out in practice. Again, the beauty of the book is not in the content it provides but the implementation of said content, and if the Gospel remains central, I believe this book propels us in the right direction towards gospel fruitfulness and the glorification of Jesus, and not ourselves.