Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Life Coach?

I was in a party a couple of years back. Since the host happened to be a Christian, there were lots of pastors in the party, so they sat me there at the table with a handful of pastors around. So I got to talking and exchanging pleasantries. I normally like to listen than talk, don't wonder, I am really like that!

Anyway, I had a could talk with the pastor beside me, he has a growing congregation in the city where the party was being held. So in the middle of the party, we got to talk about contact numbers and better yet we exchanged calling cards, business cards that is. I looked at his card and at one face of the card was his pastoral title, and location of his church etc, but I happened to flipped the card over and it said there that he was a life coach. It says that he is available for consultation on how to get your life organized, in order and successful. Life coach. Hmmm, interesting.

That passed. I was in another meeting and again with some pastors. Same thing happened, I exchanged calling cards with one fellow I met. I flipped over his card and there again - a Life Consultant of some title like that.

I got to thinking, if a pastor wants to burn out and run his time so thin he is counselling people one after another, then that is what he should bill himself - a Life Coach and present the Bible as the manual for successful living. Pretty soon, he would be so flooded by people wanting to see him for consultation he has to hire a secretary. No doubt the church will grow, but I got bad news. Don't think it is growing because of the Gospel, because the notion that the Bible is there for successful living...well that is not the Gospel. That is a baby boomer understanding of the Bible and Christianity. The ancient Christians knew no such a thing.


J. K. Jones said...

Good post. This is a problem I have with much of what I hear within my own church. When we get away from the idea that all of the Bible is about Christ, we get into trouble fast.

The Bible is clear on its intent (Luke 1:4, John 21:24, Luke 24:25-26). The intent is for us to know certain facts about Christ. There is a reason for this. Our salvation; our right standing before God, eternal life, fellowship with God, and everything else that goes with it; was earned for us in the past by Christ.

Martin Luther ws right when he said that our salvation was extra nos, outside of us. Earned by Christ. Accomplished 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem. We add nothing to this work. We through our faith are credited with what Christ did, and He is credited with our sin to suffer for (2 Cor. 5:21, Romans 3:21-4:8). If the Bible is not primarily about what happened in the past, then it is not about what Christ did for us in the past. If the Bible is primarily about our here and now, it is not about those things which earn our salvation.

S. D. G.

L P Cruz said...


Good point in what you say.

I really like to hear the pastor tell me what my problem is - sin and what God did to solve it. I do not like him to act like Dr. Phil, since I can get that kind of input from some where else. We hold the most important thing in the world - where a sinner can find forgiveness.

You got Cross Theology !


Kelly Klages said...

I think the "life coach" language is just another form of the bait-and-switch so prevalent in today's churches. If we don't come out and tell people what we really are and what we truly stand for, using plain English, we think that we can trick unbelievers into liking us and listening to us. How stupid do we take people to be? Even when the results come in, such a tactic is phony and dishonest, not to mention a terrible misunderstanding of the point of the church and the pastoral office.

But we think that clever language and turns of phrase will solve all of our problems. If only people stopped calling themselves Christians and used other terms like "Christ-follower," people will like us more and not have that nasty connotation. If only we no longer had churches but only "community centers," people would come flocking in! If only we took the denomination off our church sign, people would think us more accepting and the negative bits of our church history would be hidden from them. If only...

But ultimately, even for the most sincere people propagating these ideas, it all ends up meaning dishonesty and trickery in the name of greater numbers.

L P Cruz said...

Thanks Kelly,

You know, as I remember my conversation with these pastors, I came with the impression that believe that Christianity was really about that - that Jesus is our life coach! The Bible is the manual for success.

When I first saw these calling cards/business cards with those fancy printing, I choked a bit and did not know what to think of it. I was so stunned I never had such an idea the pastor can have a side job.