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By Sherri Dodd
Founder and CEO
Advance Global Coaching

“Stephanie is very discouraged,” her husband updated everyone in a newsletter. “She lost so much in the change – her hometown, native culture, stability, career, identity, and children that were left behind at college. Please pray that God will help her trust His calling....

The Need
Why is Advance Global Coaching needed? First of all, missionaries are only human. Yet, they are often perceived as spiritual heroes with a protective force field around them. Unfortunately, this perception is not founded on truth. Missionaries are normal people with normal flaws trying to serve God in a corrupt world. They experience major transitions that require extra resources to survive. They are often targeted by the enemy and attacked in many ways. Satan definitely seeks to steal, kill and destroy those who would honor God by serving Him in any capacity in mission work. Seventy-one percent of missionaries who leave the field each year leave for preventable reasons. Every single one of these reasons is a target area for coaching.

Second, the stress of cross-cultural living takes an enormous toll. Missionaries often serve in roles that isolate them and drain them emotionally and spiritually. This can leave them battling life’s challenges alone. The Bible mandates that we care for the body of Christ. Why not provide care for these servants of Christ with excellence through coaching? They need encouragement. They need someone to listen to them without judgment. They need someone who is solely interested in their wellbeing and success, who regards them highly, and who is trained and willing to draw out the best in them.

Attrition rates are unacceptably high in missions. The upfront cost to send a worker overseas demands that we continue the investment through good maintenance. We, at AGC view coaching as the “missing link” in support services for missionaries. Most sending agencies give or require some form of training. Yet, there is little ongoing personal support thereafter. Regular contact with a qualified coach especially during critical times of transition can make the difference between attrition and retention.

Coaching is a very effective form of ongoing learning and on-the-field development. It is a valuable opportunity to “sharpen the saw”. Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” Coaching truly helps people listen to the Spirit of God and achieve what they would not achieve on their own - whether it be reconciling relationships or discerning ministry priorities.

Young missionaries are growing up in a society where commitment comes in short time spans. The pure grin-and-bear-it, until-death mentality that endured the Great Depression is long gone from today’s American society. We have the awesome opportunity to coach the new generation of missionaries through their challenges and help influence them to stay on the field and not give up. After investing so much to send each worker, it only makes sense to continue the investment so that each worker can thrive.

A flagpole analogy serves us well here. What keeps a flagpole upright and functional? It is the support base. Missionaries have prayer partners and financial donors who provide their support. A skilled coach filled with God’s Spirit can strengthen the support base. A coach joins the prayer partners and financial donors to serve in an added capacity. A coach deeply listens and asks powerful questions that allow the individual missionary to process life’s experiences in a safe environment. A coach helps the missionary continue to learn, grow and be fruitful.

Most sending churches and sending agencies seek to provide the best training and support possible for their missionaries. Advance Global Coaching desires to come alongside mission minded churches and sending agencies to provide objective, confidential, and proactive coaching. Through modern technology we can do this. No other time in history has presented us with this opportunity. Through affordable telephone rates and internet services such as “Skype”, we can now communicate easily and inexpensively with missionaries in almost any part of the world.

In summary, coaching is a strategic service in forwarding the gospel of Christ around the world. It is proactive, objective and cost effective. Advance Global Coaching is a pioneer in this field, on the front line blazing the trail. May there rise up many other coaching organizations for those in the missions community.

By Sherri Dodd
Founder and CEO
Advance Global Coaching

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