God brought IBL into my life over six years ago. Since that time our relationship has grown and transformed. From coaching our staff to one-on-one mentoring, IBL has consistently helped me grow as a leader and as a disciple.
One of the many blessings of my partnership with IBL is their consistency in my life and their willingness to invest in me through deep relationship. Because of this, when God recently called me to lead a new church, there was a sense that not everything was new, requiring me to start over from scratch.
One of the greatest strengths of my relationship with IBL is having an outside objective voice to speak truth into my life. As a pastor I can often only see things from an individual perspective. The leaders at IBL see the greater picture because they serve hundreds of churches. They often help me see the greater forest in both my life and ministry.
When I met Russ and David six years ago I had no idea God was going to form this partnership between us or that He would use them to transform me as a leader. Since that time David has become not only a mentor but one of my very best friends. I believe that is how Jesus intended true discipleship to take place, among friends. IBL is not a staff of hired professionals. They are ministry partners who are willing to enter into an extended relationship with those they serve. Relationships are costly. IBL could certainly make more money and become more well known if they functioned simply as a consulting firm, but that would not allow them to disciple leaders. I am convinced the strength of IBL is they are one of the few groups left who gets it: discipleship is about relationships. And relationships are costly, in time, in people, and in dollars.
The comments above are from Eddie Coakley, Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, SC, in suburban Columbia. IBL has been privileged to serve Pastor Eddie in a number of capacities over the past six years.