Monday, September 28, 2009


You can’t cheat drag. “Drag” refers to a force that opposes the forward motion of an object. The word comes from the world of aerodynamics. To locate drag and determine the aerodynamic profile of an object, the object is typically placed in a wind tunnel, where these areas of drag can be profiled and examined so that they might be modified to reduce drag and improve performance and efficiency. The focus is generally on the overall shape of the object. Typically, the areas that are sticking out too much create the most drag.

The key to improving performance is to locate the areas of drag of an existing design.

For example, in the 1950’s car windshields were designed upright, but windshields on today’s cars are more angled to reduce drag. Consider the Olympics. The swimmer’s “skin” is patterned after sharkskin in order to reduce drag. Likewise, the winter Olympic bobsleds and speed skating suits are designed to reduce drag.

Some attempt to defeat drag. Runners and elite athletes often try to cheat drag by running with a small parachute attached at their waists. The purpose is to create resistance (drag) as they run, which increases their stamina and strength. But one of the clear facts from the laws of aerodynamics is that you can’t cheat drag.[1]

Just like runners can’t cheat drag, leaders can’t cheat drag. Leaders cannot reach their potential or maximize their effectiveness by carrying around a drag parachute comprised of significant social and emotional skill set and organizational deficients.

But organizational, emotional, and spiritual drag can be reduced.

Coaching can help do just that. The Church Multiplication Network (CMN), a ministry of the Assemblies of God for church planting, believes that the use of coaching will reduce drag and lead to healthier ministers and healthier church plants. Coaching is not the only tool that can be used to reduce drag, CMN trained coaches help persons being coached determine how to implement the use of other tools such as mentors, consultants and counseling in the journey of reducing drag from their personal and ministry lives.

The Church Multiplication Network has partnered with Purdue University to train, assess, evaluate and report on the impact of coaches’ work with church plants. Coaches are being trained using International Coach Federation competencies. They are then assessed to determine when their coaching skills are at a predetermined quality level and given a certificate as Assemblies of God certified coaches. Coaches start working with church plant pastors during pre-launch and continue working with the team for at least the first three years of the church’s life. Church Multiplication Network has partnered to help coach 79 churches plants thus far in 09. Through these 79 churches, 2,126 persons have given their lives to Christ; and over $314,000 has been given to missions. CMN’s goal is to plant 500 churches each year.

CMN Coaches are being trained with skills to help ministry leaders discover areas of skill set drag, which impact performance and efficiency, both personally and organizationally. Coaches use Christian coaching listening and questioning skills, which include an ear that hears not only the person being coached but also the Holy Spirit, helping ministers establish personal plans for intervention and accountability systems. These God-birthed plans lead not only to more efficient performance but also less personal friction, a by-product of drag that can lead to damaging emotional and spiritual drain.

Church Multiplication Network has also been asked by the Assemblies of God to train and certify coaches for the Church Transformation Network. Training includes specific coaching skills in the area of change, transition and transformation and the coaching of teams. These coaches are being used with pastors who are working in older, established churches to revitalize missional focus, develop vision for the future, and overcome obstacles that cloud decisions or keep them from growing. The coaches work as well with these pastors helping them move forward as leaders and personally in their spiritual, emotional, and relational lives.

[1] Rich Handley, “Advanced EQ-I Interpretation Techniques: The Concepts of Drag, Balance, and Leverage,” in Handbook for Developing Emotional and Social Intelligence: Best Practices, Case Studies, and Strategies, ed. by Marcia Hughes, Henry L. Thompson, and James Bradford Terrell (San Francisco: Pfeiffer, 2006), 97-110.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fearless in Prayer

In the introduction to Catherine Marshall’s A Closer Walk, her husband of twenty-three years, Leonard LeSourd, writes about their marriage in 1959: Catherine had huge adjustments to make. She sold her Washington dream house to move to Chappaqua, forty miles north of New York City, so that I could continue to commute to my job at Guideposts in the city. My children–Linda, ten; Chester, six; Jeffry, three–had been through a deeply unsettling two years, adjusting to a variety of housekeepers. They had mixed feelings toward moving into a new house, and especially toward “the new Mommie that Daddy’s bringing home.” Catherine’s son, Peter John, nineteen, was going through a period of rebellion at Yale. Catherine and I had so many things to pray about that each morning to read the Bible and seek answers together. Her current journal lay open beside us in these pre-dawn prayer times, recording our changing needs, His unchanging faithfulness.

From Catherine Marshall, A Closer Walk (Ada, MI: Fleming H. Revel Co., 1986), 102-103.

“When you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and your Father who knows your secrets, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 TLB

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fearless with Money

Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value. - Matthew 6:19-20 TLB

A film editor once said, “ I had this date the other night with woman who wanted to walk along the beach. I’m wearing a twelve-hundred-dollar suit, a seventy-dollar tie, a hundred-and-fifty-dollar shirt, and a pair of two-hundred-dollar shoes. It costs me fifteen dollars to clean my suit and six dollars to have my shirt hand-washed.

“I don’t even want to think about what it would cost if I would get a drop of spaghetti sauce on my tie. And this woman wants me to roll up my pants and walk along the beach! All I can think about is how much it’s going to cost me if she wants to sit down on the sand. Here’s the bottom line that I have to ask myself: Can I afford to wear my own clothes?”

Another man, a lawyer, once said, “I don’t think I’m trapped on this treadmill forever, but I’m certainly involved with it right now....It’s the old merry-go-round of how much money is enough money? And it’s never enough.”

From Steven Carter and Julia Sokol's
Lives Without Balance (New York, NY: Villard Books, Random House Inc. 1991), 125, 194.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fearless Against Impure Thoughts

Norman Vincent Peale once stayed home for a month while his wife and children went on vacation. About midway through that month, Peale met a beautiful girl looking for excitement. When she made it clear that she would like to go on a date with Peale, he “put his conscience in mothballs” and arranged to meet her on Saturday night.

Peale awoke on Saturday morning and decided to take a walk on the beach. He took an old ax along to chop some rope away from the wreck of an old barge that had washed up on the shore. Due to the freshness of the morning and the rhythm of the ax, Peale began to chop in earnest.

As he chopped, a strange thing began to happen. He said, “I felt as if I were outside myself, looking at myself through a kind of fog that was gradually clearing. Suddenly I knew that what I had been planning for that evening was so wrong, so out of keeping with the innermost me.” Peale promptly canceled the date.

God’s Little Lessons for Leaders (p. 95).

"To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Romans 8:6 KJV

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cutting Out Criticism

Below is an excerpt from Catherine Marshall's A Closer Walk.

"One morning last week He [God] gave me an assignment: for one day I was to go on a “fast” from criticism. I was not to criticize anybody about anything. For the first half of the day, I simply felt a void, almost as if I had been wiped out as a person. This was especially true at lunch....I listened to the others and kept silent....In our talkative family no one seemed to notice. Bemused, I noticed that my comments were not missed. The federal government, the judicial system, and the institutional church could apparently get along fine without my penetrating observations. But still I didn’t see what this fast on criticism was accomplishing–until mid-afternoon. That afternoon, a specific, positive vision for this life was dropped into my mind with God’s unmistakable hallmark on it–joy! Ideas began to flow in a way I had not experienced in years. Now it was apparent what the Lord wanted me to see. My critical nature had not corrected a single one of the multitudinous things I found fault with. What it had done was stifle my own creativity."

What a challenge for us today, but what a freedom that comes with it!

"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me." Psalm 25:4-5

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mastering Anger

Bobby Jones, one of golf’s greatest players, was only five years old when he first swung a golf club. By the age of twelve, he was winning club tournaments. During this time, he was known for his hot temper, and he soon had the nickname “Club Thrower.”

Jones became friends with a man named Grandpa Bart, who worked part-time in the club pro shop. Bart had been an excellent golfer but had retired when arthritis gripped his hands. After Bobby lost the National Amateur Tournament at the age of fourteen, he said, “Bobby, you are good enough to win that tournament, but you’ll never win until you can control your temper. You miss a shot - you get upset - then you lose.”

Bobby knew Grandpa Bart was right, and he became determined to improve - not his golf swings - his mood swings. When Bobby won a major tournament at age twenty one, Grandpa Bart said, “Bobby was fourteen when he mastered to game of golf, but he was twenty one when he mastered himself.”

"Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." James 1:19-20 KJV

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharing Encouragement

Back-to-back victories by the Dallas Cowboys at the Super Bowl in 1993 and 1994 mask the fact that Jimmy Johnson, the team’s legendary former coach, knew as much about losing as he did about winning. In 1989, his first season in Dallas, Johnson’s team had only one win and fifteen losses! However, this overwhelming losing season was still not as humiliating as his first year as a high-school defensive coach, when his team finished the season with no wins and ten losses.

Johnson said about that first season in Dallas, “We had the worst team in the NFL, but I wouldn’t accept anything but being in the Super Bowl.”

Johnson kept a positive attitude. If a running back had the ball, he shouted, “Protect the ball,” rather than “Don’t fumble.” To his field-goal kickers he’d say, “Make this,” not “Don’t miss.” After a loss, he’d spend his post-game time plotting the next win, rather than second-guessing what had gone wrong.

The Cowboys responded and improved. It took four seasons of hard work, but then Super Bowl rings were on their fingers.

From Fortune (May 1, 1995) pg. 32.