Former Beyond board member, Chris Galanos has said: “I’ve always been a big fan of coaching. I think everyone needs a coach. Coaches make you better at whatever you do.”  And we agree. Recently, we have begun implementing coaching circles with our field workers, and with their national partners. In these circles, small groups of about five people gather weekly to share the journey of making disciples. 

Our mission catalysts in the Mekong share why coaching circles are so valuable:

In the four short months since our coaching circle began, we’ve seen God encourage us when we’re down, challenge us to stay engaged with local people, and reinforce best practices for multiplication. One circle member gained an important insight about keeping Shema conversations* focused:

We are new to the field and have found it hard to keep Shema conversations going. We would meet someone, start talking, make a comment to direct the conversation to God/spiritual matters, then, if we got a “green light,” we would tell a related Bible story.  Afterward, we’d say,  “Did you like that story?” People would say yes or no, and then everything would grind to a halt.  We brought this issue to our coaching circle. Together we talked about the difference between yes/no questions which tend to shut conversations down and open-ended questions which keep conversations going.  We brainstormed alternate questions to ask: “What did you like in that story?” “What new ideas did that bring up for you?” “How does that story make you feel?”   We agreed to take the next week and come up with more open-ended questions. Wow! Did that help! Now when we engage local people, we can keep conversations going longer while learning so much more about what people are thinking. Thank you, coaching circle!

Another of our members had some difficult interactions with local people- strangers on the street- that made him not want to go to his daily language class.  Each day at the time for him to leave for class, our group prayed and sent him encouraging text messages.  A week later, he had a sense of breakthrough, and the problem was entirely dispelled! 

These are just a couple of examples. Everyone in our group will say the same- our circle has been helpful and encouraging in many ways.

*A shema conversation is when someone prayerfully and intentionally begins a spiritual conversation with someone to see if they are open to hearing more about God. It is not the sharing of the gospel, but rather a tool to reveal people’s potential interest in the gospel.  Learn more about shema conversations, read this story.