Christian Life Coaching Bookstore

Barnabas: A Biblical Role Model for Coaching by Katie Brazelton PhD, MDiv, MA

Apr 6th, 2009 | By | Category: Training & Certification Guest Posts, [None]

Coach trainer and founder of Life Purpose Coaching Centers International, Katie Brazelton, writes about a biblical example of  life coaching.

Some of the greatest achievements in each of our lives can be traced back to a word of encouragement from a loved one, a trusted friend, or an advisor. Encouragement has always been a powerful and motivating resource; today it is a must-have, high priority for those who live treadmill lives. Encouragement, as a deliverable, is one of the hottest commodities in the marketplace. That is why Life Coaching is a rapidly growing field, especially for mental health professionals, pastors, and lay counselors – many of whom already have the spiritual gift of exhortation and simply wish to expand their core services to clients who are more emotionally stable, hopeful, and poised for action. 

A Life Coach Role Model – Barnabas 

The apostle Paul must have felt discouraged (without courage) when the other apostles spoke skeptically about the validity of his conversion. I imagine some of the excitement of his conversion wore off when he was alone and face-to-face with the “bigness” of the new life purpose God had given him. He must have asked: “How will I follow God’s will? How will I find my way?” But God had the situation under control; he already had a plan in place that included a man named Barnabas, the “Son of Encouragement” (Acts 4:36). Barnabas linked arms with Paul; he was God’s instrument of encouragement to Paul. 

And as we all know, Paul not only developed Christ-like character, but he went on to write thirteen Epistles and provide crucial leadership to the early church. I would have loved to have been a “fly on the wall” to listen in on the many hours of conversation between Barnabas and Paul during those early years of Paul’s spiritual formation and vision-casting. 

A Christian Life Coach is a modern-day Barnabas, an encourager who comes alongside clients to help them where they are in their life race. Many Christians today dream of one day being crowned by God with a victor’s wreath, but they are saddened by questions like “Why was I even born? What is my life mission? What are my gifts, talents, passions? How can I obey God?” They are facing mega-challenges and major road blocks. They desperately desire to move forward, but they are stuck. These clients crave discipling, mentoring, and accountability for their character development; they are hungry, too, for a service-driven, surrendered life that glorifies God. Those who have been tracking this palpable Life Coaching trend for more than two decades now see enormous evidence that more and more Christians are ready to make that practical, logical, and relational investment in themselves a top priority. 

A Cord of Three Strands 

It is a humbling privilege for a Christian Life Coach to have an on-going, collaborative partnership that encourages a client to take action steps. But, it is a three-dimensional relationship among the Holy Spirit, the Life Coach, and the client. The Holy Spirit is always invited to guide the coaching sessions. 

A chord of three strands in not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (TNIV)

This prayerful, effective dialogue creates a momentum and a synergistic focus that allows clients to do substantially more than they would do on their own toward fulfilling their God-designed life plan, whether that is from a financial, relational, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, vocational, or physical perspective.

Finish Well – A Reminder to Ourselves

Before we become a Barnabas to someone else, we want to make sure that we personally are on course to finish the race well by living an authentic, Spirit-led life in which our walk matches our talk.  If you need a Life Coach to help you “run in sucha a way as to get the prize” (I Corinthians 9:24 TNIV), or even to just further explore this burgeoning field that God may be calling you to investigate, today is a great day to take that step.

Reprinted from Christian Counseling Connection, A publication of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Volume 15, Issue 3 with permission.

katie-brazelton-2007-color-press-photos-for-ch-makeover-iiKatie Brazelton, Ph.D., M.Div., M.A., Founder of Life Purpose Coaching Centers International®, is a professor at Rockbridge Seminary and bestselling author of the Pathway to Purpose for Women series, each book being translated into three to ten languages. Katie, who is often a featured radio and television guest, was Director of Women’s Bible Studies and a licensed minister for years at the purpose driven Saddleback Church. To read about her dream of opening 200 Life Purpose Coaching Centers worldwide, please visit her website:, or email her at

Tags: ,


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.