In my mom’s Christian family, she was never allowed to go to movies.  My father’s Christian family went to movies occasionally, but he became a pastor and married my mom which meant we typically did not go to movies.  There were people in the churches dad pastored who thought it wasn’t appropriate for Christians to go to movies.  However, I remember a time when I was about twelve years old and dad took me to see Fiddler on the Roof.  Of course my memory of this experience is special.  But my dad felt it necessary to drive to the next town, so no one we knew would see us and so we would not to offend any of my dad’s parishioners.

A few months ago, I had a conversation with a friend whose oldest son is in the media communications program at a Christian college.  She told me about an interesting statement one of her son’s professors had made.  He said that if Christians had entered the film industry at its inception, rather than originally shunning it as a career option, the state of film and movies today would be very different.  He held strong beliefs that Christians can be salt and like in a dark world. 

As I thought about the film industry, I began to consider the mainstream recording industry.  When I was in high school and college there was, of course, only “Christian” music and “secular” music.  Now there are increasing numbers of Christians working in the mainstream recording industry – excellent musicians and songwriters, today’s popular artists who claim faith in Christ but aren’t labeled “Contemporary Christian” artists.  If they are played on Christian radio, it’s because they first have hit songs on pop, rock or country charts, for example, and their music crosses-over to the Christian charts. 

I recently listened to an interview of alternative rock band, Switchfoot.  They were playing at a radio gig with a list of popular chart-toppers on the bill.  When asked about their Christianity, they said who they are as people – as Christians – influences their artistry and songwriting, but they don’t call themselves a “Christian band.”  A band member expressed their view, “Christianity is a faith, not a music genre.”  So they live their faith and play their music and record hit songs that are played on “secular” radio stations.  I also enjoy Lifehouse, Jonny Lang and Kris Allen, who do the same.  If you follow popular music, you can find others – and you may have your favorites on the tip of your tongue as you read.

So what do movies and Switchfoot have to do with coaches being certified by ICF or taking ICF accredited training?  Well, for anyone who has heard me speak or read my writing about this, you know that I believe God has called each coach to a unique path that for some requires ICF certification and for others does not.    Probably the biggest reason that some coaches are called to pursue certification is so they can apply for and step into jobs that require ICF certified coaches – whether those jobs are in Christian or secular organizations.  Just like in the film and recording industries, some Chrisitans coaches are called to jobs that aren’t labeled “Christian.”  Sometimes to do those jobs, ICF certification is required.

But another reason struck me last week.  I received an email asking for referrals of coaches who could participate in an excellent coaching research project.  The participants needed to be ICF certified.  What made me sad was that I wondered how many Christian coaches would qualify.  I know a lot of Christian coaches, and quite a few ICF certified coaches.  This is niche-specific research and I don’t personally know someone in this niche who is ICF certified.  But you can count on me to contact my network with the info in an attempt to connect with coaches who would qualify to participate in this research.  Why?  Because my network is made up of Christian coaches and I would very much like find Christian coaches who are qualified to participate in this excellent coaching research.  I want Christians represented in the research, to bring salt and light to the mix.    

I want each Christian coach to follow the unique path that God has called them to.  For you, it may or may not involve ICF certification.  But for those who are called to ICF certification and to those who open the doors for themselves to get jobs out “in the world,” I say thank you for being salt and lightThank you for bringing Christ with you into your “secular” work environments.  Thank you for being available to represent Christians coaches by participating in excellent research.  Thank you for making yourself available to impact the fast growing field of coaching.  And thank you God, for calling each of us to unique purposes – for Your glory.