So, when I turned 40 I decided that I wanted to run a 10-mile race. What better way to welcome in the next decade, right?
In Charlottesville, there is this amazingly supportive running community with training programs, coaches, and so much friendliness. The Track Club offers this training program to “safely guide folks of all abilities to their individual Ten Miler running goals.”
For this race, you start out in October, and run some time in late March. And, get this, they actually encourage first-time out-of-shape folks to come on out. And they’re not kidding.
You meet early every Saturday morning for your “long run” with people whose pace matches your own. Whether your pace is an 8-minute mile or a 14-minute mile, there is a group for you and a captain to lead the way. But before you run, the amazing Mark Lorenzoni gives you a training tip or two.
And usually there’s a “face in the crowd” who shares why he or she is training for this race.
Mark and his team are committed. Whether it’s trackside, through an email, or when you pop into Ragged Mountain, you get the sense that Mark is with you for your personal progress and joy as you train for the race. He wants to see you finish your race.
Mark is motivated to see his runners meet their goals and have fun while they’re doing it. This is what motivates Paul too.
Each of us has our own race to run. We need coaches around us to encourage us to advance in our faith. We need coaches who inspire us to run our race with joy.
We need coaches. And we need to coach others. The Bible calls this discipleship.
Whether you want to grow as a coach, or are looking for someone to coach you, here are some things great coaches do as they lead others to advance in the faith and run the race with joy.
1. Drink deeply
Good coaches spend time in God’s word. Not just reading it and checking it off the list. And they’ll encourage you to be in the Word. At the riverside comes from my desire to help you drink deeply every single day. Drink deeply. (Psalm 1; Jeremiah 17:7-8)
2. Walk humbly
Good coaches choose the low place. Take a clue from James and John. Jockeying for position will never gain influence. Follow Jesus’ example and serve. Be okay with the reality that sometimes you’ll miss it. And when you miss it, admit it. Walk humbly. (Micah 6:8)
3. Welcome warmly
Good coaches make relationship a priority. Some of the most meaningful conversations come at the most inconvenient times. And if you’re coaching teenagers, these conversations usually happen ~ 11:30 at night. Jesus stopped what he was doing and welcomed the children into his arms. When possible, welcome warmly. (Matthew 19:13-15)
4. Love generously
Good coaches love generously. Pour out into the lives of others trusting that God will give you what you needs. Lavish love shows a picture of God’s love to those you’re coaching. Love generously. (Psalm 63:3-4)
5. Affirm specifically
Good coaches intentionally give feedback. They speak the truth in love. When you give specific encouragement, you are showing those you are coaching that you see their progress. Rather than a vague, “Good job,” affirm specifically. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
6. Wrestle openly
Good coaches are okay with honest communication. You don’t need to have all the answers. You don’t need to have it all together. And, it’s a sign of health if those you are coaching don’t agree with you on everything, if they turn to the scriptures to check out what you are saying. Wrestle openly. (Acts 17:11)
7. Live consistently
Good coaches walk the talk. This is a biggie. Although none of us will do this perfectly, work really hard to have your private life match your public life. If there’s a disconnect, that’s called hypocrisy. Get with your coach and work through it. Live consistently. (James 2:14-26)
Whether you are looking for a coach or are coaching the little people in your household, a college student or two, or a friend in the midst of crisis, the motivation should be to disciple them for their progress and joy in the faith.
I ran that 10-mile race and I finished. My goal was simply to cross the finish line. And with the coaching of Mark and his team, I did it.
What characteristics do you look for in a coach, particularly a coach who is discipling you in your faith? Leave a comment and let me know.
Two more days to register for the GIVEAWAY of Tara Furman‘s latest Bible study, Created for Purpose: How to Make a Difference in Your Corner of the World.
Leave a comment to register. Josiah and I will choose a name over the weekend and announce the winner on Monday.
Monday through Friday we’re gathering at the Riverside to walk little bit by little bit through the book of Philippians. The church of Philippi was launched when Paul went looking for people who were praying. He found Lydia and her friends. God opened Lydia’s heart and she heard the words of life that Paul spoke. She and other members of her household were baptized and then welcomed Paul and Timothy to her her house. The book of Philippians is really a letter that Paul is writing to this church to encourage them. At the riverside, we’re getting encouragement too. I’m glad you’ve joined us!
You can subscribe by leaving your email address in the little box up-and-to-the right. This way you won’t miss a post. And, if you’d like to email me directly, my email address is cynthiafin@gmail. com. I’d love to hear from you!