Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Coaching bivocational ministers

This Friday I will be training about a dozen United Methodist pastors in Ohio how to coach the bivocational ministers in their District.  This particular District has a large number of smaller churches many of which are led by bivocational ministers.  I met one last year who pastored three churches as a bivocational minister (and I used to think pastoring one was a challenge!).  District leadership has been looking for ways they can resource these pastors and decided that providing them with a coach would be one possibility.  Because of my work with both bivocational ministry and coaching they asked me to train their coaches.

This is something I hope catches on in many judicatories.  The numbers of bivocational ministers are increasing in virtually every denomination.  Many judicatories are cutting staff and services.  Coaching is a great way to stay in contact with a pastor and provide assistance, and because most coaching can be done by telephone the costs and time of travel are eliminated.  Because of the schedules many bivocational ministers keep coaching provides the flexibility to fit into any bivocational ministers schedule.

Because coaching operates from the belief that the person being coached already has the answers to most of his or her challenges but just needs someone to help bring those solutions to the surface, coaching is very affirming.  As a coach there is nothing more rewarding that when the light bulb suddenly goes off for the person being coached and they have one of those "Aha" moments.  As a person who has been coached I remember times when I suddenly realized the solution to my question during a coaching session.  It was exciting and affirming.  Such times helped me get unstuck in some of my thinking and enabled me to move forward with my life, and it's been exciting to me as a coach to help others do the same thing in their lives and ministries.

If you feel coaching could benefit you, please contact me and let's talk.  If you are in judicatory or denominational leadership and believe coaching is something your organization should consider for the bivocational (or fully-funded) pastors in your judicatory, you should also contact me.  I would love to discuss the possibilities with you.

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