Blog Post: Change Is Unavoidable. This Will Affect You.


This is a six part series. I’ll put the links to the rest for your convenience.

  1. Change Is Unavoidable. This Will Affect You.
  2. Three Ways You Can Prepare for the Coming Change Storm
  3. What To Do When the Change Tornado Has You Spinning
  4. How to Avoid Drowning in Change
  5. The One Thing Change Requires That We Always Forget. Tears.
  6. The Road Ahead is Littered with Foolish Bones

Change Is Unavoidable. This Will Affect You.

Change is unavoidable. Some major changes have happened in my life that are going to affect you. I want to accomplish three goals in this email.

1.       I want to relate to you the story of my change.

2.       I want to introduce the context for my next five weekly emails that talk about how to navigate change.

3.       I want to let you know how my change is going to affect you.

The Day(s) Everything Changed

A month ago, I had one of the most difficult meetings I’ve ever had. It was time to tell the leaders of the church I founded over 15 years ago it was time for me to move on. When we started the church, I had imagined that she would grow healthy, big, and strong, and that someday I’d seamlessly pass the baton to an incredible young leader who had grown up through the award-winning leadership development program that I had personally started. That’s not how it went.

Some of the leaders saw it coming. Some were caught completely off-guard. Some thought it would be tough, but they would rise to the occasion and go on. Some thought life as they knew it was now over. Overall, the response was two-fold. We’re going to miss you. And we really do wish you the best.

The very next Sunday, I told the full congregation. Between those two days, everything changed. Most of my relationships changed. My influence changed. My identity changed. My youngest son asked me, “Will I still be a pastor’s kid?” We told him yes.

Change can occur in the blink of an eye – a car accident, a diagnosis, a tornado, a transfer order, a Dear John letter, a promotion — the list is endless. But most change occurs over a much longer period.

When Does Change Start?

My change really began twenty-six years ago in the summer of 1989 on a beautiful Sunday morning in Austin, TX. I was complaining to God about the state of the church. I was attending what most everyone would judge a wonderful Baptist church, where I had friends and opportunities and the Word of God was preached every Sunday. However, I was terribly discontent.

I was complaining to God on my drive home from church when God spoke to me as clearly as I’ve ever known. He said, “Do something about it or shut up.” To my surprise, out of the blue a few days later, the president of my tribe’s seminary woke me one morning with a phone call. “I think you’re supposed to come to seminary this fall.” It was already late August. I went to work and told my boss I was leaving.

When I went in to talk to my boss and let him know I was leaving in the summer of 1989, he wasn’t surprised. None of my co-workers were surprised. I was the only one who was surprised. The transition had begun well before God spoke so clearly into my life.

The Transition Starts Before the Change

A transition always happens with change. The transition often starts well before the actual change. It did with me. But even if the change is a complete surprise, the transition takes quite a bit of time following the change.

The transition for my current change started in February, 2011. Our tribe invited me to a Coach Training class. I was asked if might take leadership in developing a coaching culture in our tribe. I said I didn’t even know what a coaching culture was. I took the class and lit up like a Christmas tree. Wow! Every circuit of my body loved everything about this class.

In June of the same year, I went back and took a second coaching class called, “Change, Transition, and Transformation.” All my feelings were confirmed. This is what God has called me to do. How did I know this for sure?

1.       I had an unrelenting compulsion to start coaching.

2.       Several tribal leaders affirmed my direction.

3.       My wife affirmed this direction.

4.       Many opportunities opened up to me very easily.

In September of the very same year, two of us were trained to teach these same two courses. This was my introduction to Bill Copper, who is the Executive Director of Coach Approach Ministries. Bill is exactly like Yoda except taller. Bill took my coaching ability from a three out of ten to a seven out of ten. I hired Bill to mentor coach me, and he would often encourage me with “I don’t know anyone thinking more deeply about coaching and ministry than you are.” I still am amazed at such an encouraging comment.

Before the end of 2011, I had taken a class on how to start my own coaching business and began a 10 hour mentor training with Bill Copper and his partner Chad Hall with Coach Approach Ministries.

Honestly, this completely reinvigorated my joy for ministry. But I started to see coaching pulling me away from local ministry. I was being stretched thinner and thinner.

Entering Into The Point of the Change

Fast forward to this year. I knew it was time for a change. I couldn’t take my church any farther. They needed, in fact deserved, somebody new. Even up until May or even June, I wasn’t sure what direction our journey would take. In March, Bill and Chad called me with a proposal. They wanted me to join Coach Approach as a partner. I loved the idea, but I doubted myself, and I doubted that God would give me such a free and beautiful gift.

Over the summer, we waited to see what other opportunities might pan out. It became clearer to Danelle and I that we were supposed to join Coach Approach Ministries. I told Bill and Chad, “Yes,” but even then I moved toward the transition a little slow, testing the waters.

As I began to realize that everything Bill and Chad had promised was absolutely true, Danelle started pushing me to “move toward the mountain.” She told me that the mountain is where I’m supposed to be and any move I’d make that wasn’t toward the mountain was a move in the wrong direction. So together, we made the decision to resign from the church and go after coaching full-time.

Entering into the point of a change like this is one of the most frightening steps a person ever takes in their life.

Changes You Can Expect To See

As I shift from my business, Coaching Clarity, to my partnership with Coach Approach Ministries, there are several things you can expect.

·         You can expect me to continue coaching leaders. Right now I’m coaching about 10 leaders. I’d love to double that. If you’ve been thinking that you should hire a coach, now may be the best time to do it.

·         You can expect me to continue training coaches. CAM (Coach Approach Ministries) had already certified me to teach 3 courses. Now that I’m a partner, I can teach all the courses. I still plan to take all the courses as they are available and watch others teach the course first, but there are several classes I feel comfortable teaching immediately, including 510 – A Coach Approach to Leading and Managing, 507 – Coaching Groups and Teams, and 504 – Coaching as a Brain Based Learning Catalyst. The next class I long to take is 505 – The Language of Coaching.

·         You can expect me to continue working with churches. I believe coaching is a key to discipleship and that with an intentional plan, a church can take on a coaching culture and fuel their discipleship process.

·         You can expect me to take a larger role in developing a coaching culture in my own church tribe and learning how to develop coaching at higher organizational levels. I love my tribe and am glad that I get this opportunity. I also hope to expand my opportunities into other tribes as well. My hope is to mentor growing coaches throughout God’s Kingdom and help the church harness the God-given resources He has so graciously made available to us.

·         You can expect my wife Danelle to take a larger role in coaching, as she continues to develop a list of coaching clients, helps with training, and plays an administrative role with Coach Approach Ministries.

It took months for me to process this change. I’m giving you six weeks. This is a great reminder for me that everyone around me has much less time to process my change than I had myself. So to demonstrate a coach approach to change, I’m going to help you transition with me over the next six weeks.

My goal is to move all my clients from my email list to the Coach Approach email list. I’m going to make this transition slowly to allow time for you to adjust. Through this transition, I will send an email every week talking about change and transition. If this is not a change you want to make with me, feel free to unsubscribe at any time. Change is a good time to reexamine your priorities.

Next week, I’ll write about the transition time before the point of change.

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