Interview with Sam Farina
Sam Farina

Sam Farina lives in Dallas, TX and draws from years of experience in church leadership and public speaking. He holds a Doctorate of Ministry with an emphasis in professional coaching. After pioneering to create the Assemblies of God Coaching Network, he continues to train coaches for the network and serves on their coaching board and task force. In this interview, Sam shares about the benefits of coaching for church planters, and what we, as a PAOC fellowship, can do to become a multiplying movement once again.

What initially got you interested in coaching? 

My interest in coaching came as a result of being asked to facilitate pastors from the area where I was pastoring. Before starting the pastors’ meetings, I was asked to attend a two-day Basics in Coach Competencies. At this training, a trainer said, ‘if you want to be a missionary to the corporate world coaching will get you into the boardroom’. My ministry gifting of evangelist drew me in. As the training continued, I was introduced to leaders who had been deeply impacted by the use of a coach and I saw how I would have led better had I used a coach. Days later, I hosted my first meeting with the pastors from my area. I saw the huge need for a coach approach when meeting with leaders. I made the decision that day to give my life to serving others as a coach. 

What did you do to get yourself trained as a coach?

I spent the next year of my life attending coach competency training and practicing my newly-learned skills. The coaching conversations I experienced during that year anchored my commitment even deeper. The individual self-discoveries of those I coached shifted me to an even stronger commitment to using a coach approach.

You coach all kind of leaders - Why do you focus so much of your attention on church planters?

When I decided to grow in the use of coach competencies, I wanted to impact corporate leaders. Sixteen years later, I still coach my first corporate CEO. But my heart has never drifted from the higher call of Christ changing the world. When the Church Multiplication Network was created in 2008, with the purpose of planting churches, they asked if I would create a network of coaches committed to walking with church planters. I knew the life of the Apostle Paul was committed to church planting, so I committed to create the network. I am still serving in this role and, thus far, coaches have walked with almost 4000 CMN church planters. Today over 90% of CMN church plants are growing numerically and spiritually after three years. It is not all because of coaches, but coaching plays an integral role in that success!        

What kind of outcomes can church planters expect from the coaching process?

Church planters can depend on a coach to help them think more clearly. A coach helps the planter examine every aspect of decisions. A coach is confidential and committed to the planter’s success. They believe fully in the planter. 

You’ve done coaching for many years - How long did it take “church world” to figure out the importance of coaching? What did coaches like you do to help churches see the amazing benefits of coaching?

The journey of church world embracing the use of coaches has grown slowly, but steadily, over the last decade. Currently, many denominations use coaching, not only with church planters but also with missionaries, church revitalization, and organizational and strategic planning. Many believed the work of coaches would have a short life span in the church world, but that has not been the case. Leadership development coaching, emotional intelligence coaching, and organizational change coaching are growing areas where coaches are walking along side church leaders.

You’ve worked with Assemblies of God churches, districts and national networks in the U.S. and around the world - What do we need to do, as the PAOC, to get coaching and our coaches impacting more of our churches?

Recently a nation from Europe contacted Assemblies of God coaching to help them build a coaches network. It has been my privilege to open up all we have learned to them so they can raise up coaches for the advancement of God's Kingdom. We would love to offer that to the PAOC. We are still learning as we grow, but wouldn't it be amazing to see a thousand churches planted over the next months in Canada and all have coaches walking with the planters?

We, as the PAOC, are working towards being a multiplying movement again - Would you have any encouragement or wisdom for us as a fellowship moving forward?

Pray God raises up young men and women to plant churches. Pray God puts on the heart of those planters to be coaches to other planters. Currently, we pay no church plant coaches; they pay their own way to spend four days with church planters. God has raised them up. He can do the same thing in Canada. Cast the vision and watch what God does. I am opening all our resources to you. Let's change Canada for Christ together.