missional community

Coaching Missional Communities – Philosophy

I am beginning a series of posts on coaching, specifically as it applies to missional communities. Primarily, I will be discussing:


Philosophy of Coaching

In order to understand our philosophy of coaching at The Austin Stone, I need to zoom out and provide some understanding of our view on equipping and discipleship.  In order to equip the whole person, we believe that you must instruct with knowledge, shepherd the heart, and provide tangible direction regarding application and skills.

We typically frame this idea around “head, heart, hands” – to faithfully equip someone for ministry you must teach the head, connect with the heart, and provide tangible steps for the hands. 

I summarize how these different aspects of equipping play out in the chart below:

  Head Heart Hands
Faculties of Discipleship Intellect Emotion/Desire Will/Action
Functions of Discipleship Teaching Shepherding Coaching
Content of Discipleship Doctrine Character Skill
Systems of Discipleship Training Relational Care Assessment

As we develop missional communities, our philosophy of coaching is focused primarily on coaching skills or the application of knowledge and desire. We have found that the primary need for many of our leaders is practical and situational advice on leadership and implementation.

We still pastor and shepherd the heart, and are always instructing in proper doctrine, but primarily what we are utilizing the coaching structure for is reinforcing the practices of missional community and skills in leadership. 

One critical piece of coaching, however, is understanding how our struggles in applying things practically is real a “gospel” issue.  I will work through that conviction in the next post.

In your experience, what is critical in helping people pursue missional communities?

By Todd Engstrom

Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth.

God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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