Lessons learned from 2022 (1): Addressing written communication gap and coaching

Helping church planters and disciple makers to start businesses in Africa, Asia and the Middle-East can be messy! Not everything is going on well. We encounter challenges beyond our control, like COVID measures, high inflation or political instability, but we also have to deal with mindsets and strongholds that are holding people back in being fruitful for the Kingdom. We have to be honest about these challenges, face them, pray about them and come up with strategies to adapt, improvise and overcome. 

In this article I want to share the first 2 challenges we faced in 2022 and what we are doing to overcome them. In a follow up article I will share more about the challenges we encounter regarding finances.

Let’s dive in!

1. Addressing the written communication gap

A significant number of the trainees we work with come from backgrounds where written communication is not strongly emphasized. We have noticed a recurring problem: after completing the Pioneer Business Planting training, participants frequently have a hard time writing a business plan. This delays the process and demotivates the people. To tackle this issue, we have incorporated the Business Model Canvas from Strategyzer into our training program. This tool offers a visual simple alternative to conventional business planning by condensing the creating of a business plan in a visual way and on a single page. This doesn’t mean that business plans aren’t necessary. But it helps the trainees a lot by mapping their ideas on one piece of paper. The participants have responded positively to its simplicity and user-friendly approach. See an example below of a Business Model Canvas of a carwash business in Kenya that we are starting.

2. Building strong coaching relationships

Providing training in Pioneer Business Planting is just one aspect of the overall process. In order to enable church planters to achieve self-sustainability and establish Kingdom businesses to reach the unreached, it is crucial to establish strong coaching relationships. Based on our research, in areas where this strategy has been implemented, we have observed significant improvements: disciples feel better supported, their businesses thrive and loan repayments become more consistent.

Coaching is a term that is used everywhere and can mean a lot of things. Our definition of coaching is NOT that we hang out for an hour a month, talking about how you are doing. No, it is an intentional focused strategy of sharing life and keeping the coachee accountable to his or her vision of making disciples and planting businesses. It is an intentional strategy of making disciples and raising up leaders, just like Jesus and the apostles did it.

We use 1 Thessalonians 2:7-12 as a theme verse for our coaching:

7 But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing [mother] cherishes her own children. 8 So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. 9 For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. 10 You [are] witnesses, and God [also], how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe; 11 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father [does] his own children, 12 that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. (NKJV)

We are fathers and mothers for the ones we are coaching. We are gentle as a mother and exhorting, comforting and charging as a father. The end results will be that the person we are coaching will walk worthy of God.

We want every participant that is showing obedience to God, to be paired with a local coach that follows up regularly and helps them to be fruitful in business planting. At the time of writing we have 69 trainers and coaches of PBP available. Most of these are the local Africans and Asians. 

Our current challenge is to expand the adoption of this coaching approach among our local teams. To accomplish this, we have developed a simple coaching model that encourages coaches to ask their coachees key questions such as: “Whom are you coaching?” and “What activities have they been involved in?” This helps in multiplication.

Through these lessons learned and the strategies we have implemented, we aim to empower church planters to become self-sustainable and use business to extend the reach of the gospel.

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