Barnabas-Style Coaching (Part 2)


Barnabas-Style coaching is wrapped up in a simple, two-sentence Bible story about Barnabas.

“When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.”

Acts 11:23-24 NIV

In a previous blog, Kevin (guest contributor), introduced Barnabas and his coaching style. This week we continue to learn about the important role of coaching in Disciple Making Movements and some simple, reproducible tips on how to get coaching started in your own network.

There are 3 simple tips to Barnabas-Style Coaching. Last time we looked at Tip #1: Ask Questions.

Barnabas-Style Coaching Tip #2: Listen Carefully

“He…saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad…”

Barnabas focused attention upon the people he was sent to help. He asked good questions. Next came listening. I can imagine each question he asked opening a floodgate of stories. Faces lit up as they talked about Jesus and what He did in their lives, families, and neighborhoods. Hearing how they actively made new disciples, Barnabas saw them through God’s eyes more and more. “Evidence of the grace of God” mounted as he listened. read more

Barnabas-Style Coaching (Part 1)


Morale was at an all-time low. My European friends were participants at a Harvest Multiplication Training event I helped organize in North India. Though the training was practical, my friends wondered if this—or anything—would help them in their setting. They had worked for over 15 years within an Unreached People Group in South Asia, yet still had seen no fruit.

Together we hoped that follow-up coaching after this training would make a difference. In my organization’s Frontier Missions work, we have discovered the power of combining effective training with mentoring and/or coaching.

So we made a commitment to talk every two or three weeks for an hour, focusing on putting DMM principles into practice. After three months of follow-up coaching, they asked me to continue as their coach.  Our relationship has grown over the years even though we are now on opposite sides of the planet.

It’s working! More accurately, Jesus is working, and they joyfully work at His side.  

Gathering into a Group

One morning, we talked about plans to gather the new disciples into a fellowship and help them catch a vision for making disciples and reproducing more new fellowships. Toward the end of our call, suddenly they received a text message from a very new believer. read more

Who Is Best Qualified to Effectively Train Others?

qualified to train

I don’t feel qualified to train others in DMM,” she said to me. “I haven’t started a movement yet.” Her face was downcast and sad. This active, field practitioner felt unworthy to speak to others about Disciple Making Movements. They hadn’t yet seen multiplication as they hoped. Who is qualified to train others?

The reverse is also common. “This is the way you should do it,” he declared. His speech was dogmatic. “Without this (fill in the blank) you’re wasting your time.” When asked about the fruit of his ministry, it became clear. This person was a theorist, not a practitioner. I find it hard to listen to people who teach but don’t do.

DMM trainers need to speak from real experience. Our worthiness to speak on this topic does not come from our fruitfulness in the field alone, however. DMM principles are worth teaching because they are biblical. The worthiness comes from the content, not from your fruit. Yet, our commitment must be to stay personally engaged with disciple-making ourselves. This needs to happen before, and as, we train others. read more

How to Set Up a Peer Coaching Relationship

peer coaching

Peer Coaching is a way disciple-makers offer and receive “friendly accountability.” Jesus told His disciples: “You are My friends….if you do what I command.” Friends of Jesus express their friendship with Him through their loving obedience to Him. This guest post about peer coaching by K. Sutter will help you understand how this can work for those pursuing Disciple Making Movements (DMMs).

More Than Information

“Not only are we friends with Jesus we are friends with one another. As friends, we can help one another—our peers—stay obedient to Jesus,” says Sutter.

“Disciples are called to be doers of the Word, not hearers only. Although teaching is helpful, often it isn’t more information we need—it’s more motivation. Peer coaching keeps us motivated to bear fruit as we show ourselves to be accountable and to provide accountability for others.

By practicing peer coaching, we can create environments of intentional friendly accountability where people are urged to freely ask and answer questions like: What has God been speaking to you? How is your progress on that project you told me about? What are your next steps? Who can help you? read more

Coaching and Disciple Making Movements

coaching disciple making movements

Coaches can be scary! I remember one I had when playing American baseball as a kid. He had a good heart, but he intimidated us a lot! Just knowing he was watching me try to hit the ball made me strike out. Coaching in disciple-making movements, however, shouldn’t be frightening.

Similar to me, many people have bad experiences with coaches or teachers. These so-called mentors have been harsh, have scolded them or expected more than they were capable of. Even worse, some have shamed them when they failed. These negative experiences affect how we think about coaching. It doesn’t have to be like that. Coaching is a very fruitful and helpful practice in Disciple Making Movements (DMMs).


Having a good DMM coach makes a major difference. It can be a major factor in whether or not you see a movement get started and be sustained. Coaching provides friendly accountability. This helps us move toward our goals step by step. Good coaches assist us in thinking about how to overcome obstacles so we don’t get stuck.

Why Peter Needed A Coach

His name was Peter*. He was charismatic and dynamic. His church members loved him and he knew how to inspire and motivate people. He had an obvious natural gift. Passionate about reaching his own people group, he was a man of extraordinary faith. Growth in the number of disciples had been happening, but it was not consistent. People would come and people would go. He was stuck in addition rather than multiplication growth. Though deeply committed, he didn’t know how to see his work become a multiplying movement.

Then, by God’s grace, he got a DMM coach and started attending regular Just In Time Trainings. His movement suddenly sprang into multiplication growth! Rather than only adding new fellowships and believers, they started seeing generational growth. In the following year, thousands believed and more than 15 new teams were launched.

As Peter had regular coaching and accountability, his progress became more consistent. He overcame challenges he faced and addressed them in proactive ways.

He also received encouragement and affirmation from his coach. The coach helped him stay on track and not drift in his focus. The result? The Kingdom of God grew. Lives and communities were transformed as people met Jesus! Glory be to God!

That is the power of coaching in disciple-making movements!

“Without consultation plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” Prov. 15:22 NASB

3 Specific Ways DMM Coaches Help

1. Listen & Encourage.

A good coach spends a lot of time listening to you share what is happening in your disciple-making work. This verbal processing helps you gain perspective and see what is happening yourself as well. As with Peter, they also provide encouragement and affirmation.

Working with the unreached can be a lonely ministry. We don’t always have people who understand what we are trying to do and who believe in our vision. A coach will encourage you and help you celebrate small victories along the way.

2. Ask Questions & Help You Consider Options.

A coach asks skillful questions that allow you to consider the pathway forward. It helps you pause from the fast pace of ministry, take a moment and think about what you are doing and why. This is extremely valuable.

We all get stuck at different points on the journey toward seeing a sustainable disciple making movements. We hit obstacles and plateaus where growth slows down or seems to stop completely. A coach helps you think through options to move forward.

Coaching in Disciple-making Movements

Don’t stay stuck. You don’t need to. You may need help to get moving again. That is the job of a DMM coach.

3. Provide Accountability for Action Steps & Goals.

I am a pretty goal oriented person. I set goals and I like to fulfill them. Usually, I do my action steps.

In spite of this, without friendly accountability, when I get busy it’s easy to put off doing what I know is needed. Knowing that I am meeting with my coach and he/she will ask me how much progress I have made on my action steps, motivates me to do what I need to do.

A good coach never scolds when we fail to complete all our action steps. Instead, they ask, “What would you like to do about that now?” This helps us refocus and get back on track.

Do you have a Disciple-Making coach? Have you been meeting with them regularly?

Even those of us who coach and train others, need to have our own coach too. Coaches who are also coached are better coaches!

Make an appointment with a coach today! It’s time to move forward and through those obstacles and places where you are stuck.