Monday, February 23, 2015

Pastors finding help through coaching

Product DetailsThe first pastor I had as an adult began working on his doctorate a few years after leaving our church. I was able to have lunch with him one day after he began his studies, and he told me that he was enjoying this degree work much more than the previous ones. At the time I was still working on my bachelor's degree and didn't give his words a lot of thought. Many years later I decided to go back to school for a DMin at Liberty Theological Seminary. I'm glad I did because it was also the most enjoyable time as a student I had.

My project, "Coaching Bivocational Ministers for Greater Ministry Effectiveness" was approved. I had previously coached a number of ministers, but for this project I signed coaching contracts with six bivocational pastors from the US and Canada for three months of coaching. It was a joy working with those pastors who brought a variety of issues to the coaching relationship. As part of our agreement, each of them was required to write a brief report of how the coaching relationship impacted their lives and ministries. My dissertation was written and defended. It would later be published as a book my publisher entitled The Art and Practice of Bivocational Ministry: A Pastor's Guide.

The first section of the book examines both bivocational ministry and coaching. The second section reviews the coaching relationiship I had with ten pastors, mostly bivocational, that I coached as part of the DMin project or outside that project. For each of them, the book looks at the various issues they needed addressed, some of the possible solutions we identified to each of those issues, and what happened as they applied those solutions.

These ten pastors were chosen because their issues are identical to the issues that many pastors must address. Through coaching, these pastors were able to find solutions to problems that, in some cases, had kept them stuck for months and even years. In every single case, each of them reported their ministries and personal lives were strengthened through the coaching relationship.

Sure, I wrote the book, but even if I hadn't I would still recommend it to pastors simply because it addresses the problems many of us face, and shows how real pastors found real solutions. I wrote it to help the reader self-coach when possible, and if that doesn't work to see how an experienced coach could help the pastor become more effective in ministry, in family relations, and in life.

I recently wrote a post here about how lonely some ministers feel. Too many of us are struggling with problems by ourselves, and for some of us those problems are starting to weigh us down. Unable to find an answer to those problems are causing some to leave the ministry. You don't need to do that. Find a mentor, find a coach, find a resource that can help you find the answers you need. You are too important to the Kingdom of God to remain stuck.

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