by R.A. Weigel
Moral authority is our ability to lead, help, coach, and serve others, not by title or position, but by the godly way in which we live. Jesus was the perfect example of moral authority. He didn’t have a title, position, office, or influence within the culture of his time. He didn’t seek to be promoted, initiate a plan to become the king, or ingratiate himself with the right people. Jesus wasn’t afraid he wouldn’t have enough people follow him or that he’d have enough money to effectively run his ministry. Jesus had the courage to stand against the status quo and speak the truth no matter the consequences.
1 John 2:6 (NLT) – Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
Moral authority is more than just “practicing what we preach.” It’s living a life deeply rooted in Christ and bringing a godly vision forward in everything we do and say. It’s becoming our best self as coaches and continually improving what we do and how we do it. It’s putting forth our best efforts in study, reflection, mentoring, training, coaching, and getting done whatever we say we’re going to get done. It’s taking the idea of being a Christian coach – seriously, recognizing that we are ultimately serving Jesus in all our endeavors.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT) – Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
Moral authority comes from doing what’s right and not from what’s easy or convenient. Moral authority is not acquiescing to the hypocrisy of people who say they are Christians but refuse to speak up when anti-Christian theologies are promoted. Moral authority is following through on a godly vision for the future and aligning what must be done to promote God’s truth. Moral authority is the credibility we gain when we do what we say we’ll do, walk our talk, and align our actions with our Christian faith without compromise.
Our pursuit for moral authority in Christian coaching includes different aspects of our work. It’s how we use our time. It’s how we price our services. It’s how we promote our business. It’s how we present ourselves to the people we coach. It’s how we follow up and follow through. As Christians, we should be pursuing excellence in all aspects of our coaching and that’s why we come together as Christian coaches in CCNI – to help and improve each other.
Nothing can compensate for a lack of moral authority. Moral authority is lost when we self-justify actions or take an anti-Christian position because we don’t believe God will come through on His promises. Moral authority is lost when we simply “go along to get along” or live in fear that we must align with some group, organization, or movement in order to do what we want to do. No amount of skill, knowledge, education, talent, or worldly position can make up for a lack of moral authority. Inconsistencies between what is confessed and what is done can quickly diminish moral authority.
No group has any more moral authority than any other group if it fails to bring a solid foundation of beliefs and practices based on God’s word. It’s simply not possible to set aside the truth of God’s word and be truly effective as a Christian coach.
This past year I’ve had multiple conversations about credentialing. You see, about a year ago I made the personal decision to no longer be aligned with ICF and their coaching credentials, but only be aligned with the CCNI – “Christian” coaching credentials. It’s a personal decision that comes from my desire to align my work and life with my Christian faith. I refuse to compromise my faith in any form or fashion. I believe that when Jesus said we’re put God first, it includes what we believe about our profession, no matter our profession.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT) – Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Let me make a comparison. I’ve carefully watched what’s happened in education over the course of the past 40 years that I’ve been involved. We went from the biggest problems being one where kids were smoking in the bathroom to today where the kids don’t know what bathroom to go to or what they’ll find when they get there. We’ve gone from parents wanting a good education for their children so they could go to college to parents being excluded because certain people believe their woke politics are more important than parental rights. We’ve moved away from our desire to continually improve academics and build a child’s higher order thinking to a desire to amplify political correctness and spoon feed children away from higher order thinking, so they’ll comply with a corrupt anti-Christian culture.
I’m still a strong proponent of helping all our children get a great education but in far too many of today’s schools, they will no longer accept my pro-Christian, biblical perspective. More than once I had to take a stand to do what’s right based on God’s word and refused to compromise to the “powers” that wanted something else. I will not submit or compromise to the god of this world! Instead, I believe God knows my heart to help Christian educators and despite the forces that want to destroy an effective education for our children, God is making a way for me to help Christian educators – now through Christian coaching in education.
What about you? You’re living in a world where some of your Christian coaching brothers and sisters are afraid to proclaim themselves as Christian coaches for fear of not having enough clients or not being accepted. I’ve heard some say they fear that without being aligned with certain “woke” organizations, they won’t have the “right” credentials to reach certain people. Is that what Jesus did? Did Jesus compromise in order to reach more people? What person in the Bible can you name that compromised their stand on God and then everything went well? From my perspective, if we say we are Christian leaders or Christian coaches, this is where we must take a stand. No matter the profession and no matter who might oppose you, if there was ever a time when Christians must take a stand for what’s right, this is it.
Isaiah 5:20 (NIV) – Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Take a few moments to read over what I consider to be a great example of what it means to have moral authority as a leader and practitioner. This is a story illustrating the moral authority of Mother Theresa.
It was the annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Hotel, and three thousand people were there, including most of official Washington…. By tradition the president of the United States and the first lady always attend, and on this day in 1994 Bill and Hillary Clinton were up there on the dais, as were the vice president and Mrs. Gore and a dozen other important people, senators, and Supreme Court justices… As she stepped up onto a little platform that had been placed beneath the podium there was great applause. She nodded at it. Then she took her speech in her hand and began to read from it in a soft singsong voice….
The audience was composed of liberal Democrats, conservative Republicans, and moderates of all persuasion. Perhaps half were Christian members of the prayer breakfast movement, some quite seriously devout and some less so—there’s a bit of this-world networking that goes on. The other half was a mix: Muslims, Jews, searchers, agnostics and atheists, reporters and bureaucrats, waiters and diplomats. A good-natured and attentive mix. And they all loved her. But as the speech continued it became more pointed.
“I can never forget the experience I had in the sitting room where they kept all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them into an institution and forgotten them, maybe. I saw that in that home, these old people had everything—good food, comfortable place, television, everything—but everyone was looking toward the door. And I did not see a single one with a smile on their face. I turned to a sister, and I asked, ‘Why do these people who have every comfort here, they are looking toward the door? Why are they not smiling? I’m so used to seeing the smiles on our people. Even the dying ones smile.’
“And Sister said, ‘This is the way it is nearly every day. They are expecting, they are hoping that the son or the daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten.’
She continued, “But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because Jesus said, ‘If you receive a little child, you receive me.’ So every abortion is the denial of receiving Jesus, the neglect of receiving Jesus.”
Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right-hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes.
But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussaud’s. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way….
Now, Mother Teresa is not perhaps schooled in the ways of world capitals and perhaps did not know that having said her piece and won the moment she was supposed to go back to the airier, less dramatic assertions on which we all agree. Instead she said this:
“(Abortion) is really a war against the child, and I hate the killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that the mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?… Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love one another but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”
Mother Teresa now spoke of fighting abortion with adoption, of telling hospitals and police stations and frightened young girls, “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Give me the child. I’m willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”
Perhaps she didn’t know, or care, that her words were, as they say, not “healing” but “divisive,” dividing not only Protestant from Catholic but Catholic from Catholic. It was all so unhappily unadorned, explicit, impolitic. And it was wonderful, like a big fresh drink of water, bracing in its directness and its uncompromising tone…. And Mother Teresa seemed neither to notice nor to care. She finished her speech to a standing ovation and left as she had entered, silently, through a parted curtain, in a flash of blue and white…. She could do this, of course, because she had a natural and unknown authority.
Stanley, Andy. Visioneering (pp. 187-190). The Crown Publishing Group.
You and I have been called to be Christian coaches. We are not called to be “something else” coaches. The world can have many different types of coaches and they can all be highly skilled in what they do but that will never be the same as being a Christian coach. You… are unique when you put your faith in Christ and walk out on that.
It’s your “who” and “why” that sets you apart from the rest of the world. It’s your “who” and “why” that energizes your conviction, amplifies your skills, and promotes your impact as a Christian coach – empowering you to make the greatest difference in the lives of others. As a Christian coach you have a unique role to play with a godly purpose. You have a destiny. You have a mission. You are called to be anchored to the non-negotiable identity of Christ and you have the power of “Christ in you” to will and do of his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13 (NLT) – For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Professing yourself as a Christian coach and having the moral authority to back that up is going to make you increasingly more influential and credible. Jesus became increasingly influential and credible because he never compromised who He was or what God had called Him to do. What about you as a Christian coach? What do you really want? You’ve been called to set yourself apart from the rest of the people in this world who profess to be a coach … because as a Christian coach, you’re the one who will use your coaching skills to help others reach a higher calling. Now… that’s moral authority!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Rich Weigel has an extensive background in leadership with over twenty years leading school districts. In addition to being a credentialed Leadership and Visioneering coach, he has been an adjunct professor five times in various universities teaching Strategic Leadership, Business Ethics, and Educational Leadership. He and his team provide support, coaching, and professional development for teams and leaders in schools and businesses around the country. Rich has served as CCNI’s President since January 2020. He can be reached at email@example.com.