I said it this past Sunday--"you cannot coach yourself"--and yesterday was a living example in my own life of what I meant. I suppose you could call it an "integrity checkpoint" on my preaching. I received both pastoral care and coaching in the same day. Pretty cool.
In the morning I met with my financial coach--he's helping me develop better systems for our household financial management. The meeting was really valuable. The concepts and tools aren't revolutionary but having them applied personally by a skilled outside voice makes appropriating the changes seem more doable. I left feeling really encouraged.
Then in the evening Gil and I met with Peter and Mariette Stott, a couple who are providing periodic pastoral care for our entire pastoral team at New Life. We told our kids, "we're meeting with the Stotts tonight--they're going to pastor us." They weren't quite sure what to do with their pastor dad being pastored which gave us a laugh. But we felt it was important to know that we have people who can speak into our lives from the wisdom of years.
Our meeting with the Stotts was deep (I guess they knew we were in the series.) As a couple in their 60's who've spent most of their life in pastoral ministry and who've raised both children and churches and who also have an uncanny spiritual ability to see and speak into root issues of people's lives, they were able to bring profound spiritual insight to us both. Peter and Mariette made some observations about me and about us that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
It just reminds me again about how impossible it is to grow without the right kind of relationships. We need strong peers who understand us and share our journey of following Jesus. We need mentees--people who need our affirmation, input and guidance so they can grow in Jesus. And we need mentors--people who are further along, know the heart of Jesus and can minister back to us with what we cannot see in our own lives.
That's what church is. A place to find and grow through the right kind of relationships. And if you stay in one place long enough with faith and engagement, I've learned that you'll find those relationships.