Practicing Distinctively Christian Life Coaching by Tony StoltzfusJun 10th, 2013 | By Tony Stoltzfus | Category: Coaching and Discipleship Guest Posts, Featured Content
While most coaches talk about things like passion, design and calling, living your destiny as a Christ-follower is much more than simply looking inward to follow your bliss or find fulfillment. To create a uniquely Christian definition of life purpose, we need to reference our relationship to our Creator:
A Christian’s Life Purpose is the energy of Passion, channeled through Experience and Design in Allegiance to a God-given Calling.
While I can look inward to discover what I am Passionate about and what my Design and Experience have prepared me for, Calling is something that comes from outside of me. Calling is from God, for others. It must be revealed to me, and it is about giving and serving, not getting. Integrating Calling into our understanding of life purpose is what keeps it from being all about me.
Allegiance is another crucial concept. It means that I have signed ownership of my life over to the lordship of Christ, and my fulfillment lies in a Kingdom that is not of this world. The idea of letting go of what we can gain in life and living to serve God is one of the distinctives of Christian coaching.
Another distinction is that Christian life purpose is founded on the idea of the eternal. We believe that there is a real, ultimate reward and ultimate judgment in the next life. This leads us to coach what I call “living toward heaven”—aligning our lives to maximize the eternal payoff instead of the temporal one.
One of the most serious errors among those who coach Christians on life purpose is concentrating exclusively on creating temporal blessings and improving this life. Making the focus aligning with your passions and design to create a significant, satisfying life in the here and now falls far short of God’s plan for you. Jesus did not spend his life seeking a better existence on earth—he was seeking to do on earth what created a better future for many others in heaven. And in that way, every Christian’s life purpose resembles Jesus’—it is about doing what creates a better future for many in heaven, not about making a better life for me on earth.
There are many situations where we coach people in practical ways toward a great life in the here and now. But for coaching to be distinctively Christian, that ideal of the “great life” must be grounded in the primacy of the eternal as the ultimate objective.
A final distinctive for Christian life coaching is the idea of purpose as being. Our primary calling in life is not to do a certain task, but to incarnate the person of Christ through that task. In other words, we are first called to be something, then to do something that communicates that being to others.
Defining calling in being terms is a huge win for the client. While the stars may never align for you to do all you dream, nothing and no one can ever stop you from becoming the unique embodiment of Christ you are called to be.
So let’s summarize five crucial distinctives of uniquely Christian life purpose coaching:
We foster alignment with the Kingdom through allegiance to Jesus, viewing believers as stewards who have chosen to order their lives for his purposes.
We help people discover God’s unique, revealed call on their life and learn how to steward that life for the Kingdom instead of spending it on self.
We understand that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that the giving, serving life is not only the best life, but the greatest life.
- Eternal Rewards
We seek to help coachees to find practical ways to live for lasting, eternal rewards instead of only creating temporary benefits in this life.
We help people find the heart of their calling: that their primary purpose is not to do something for the world, but to be Christ to the world through what they do.
Tony Stoltzfus is an author, leadership coach and master coach trainer. For more information on this subject check out Tony’s best-selling coaching book, the Christian Life Coaching Handbook.