Friday, July 3, 2015

The benefits of coaching for bivocational ministers

My thesis paper for my DMin was "Coaching Bivocational Ministers for Greater Ministry Effectiveness." That paper was written five years ago. Each month I receive a report of how many times the paper has been downloaded from Digital Commons. Last month it was downloaded 43 times for a total of 1,713 downloads since it was written. That amazes me!

When I was doing my research I found very few papers written specifically for bivocational ministry. In the five years since writing my paper I have been contacted by several individuals who were writing papers on various aspects of bivocational ministry. This is just one more indication of how this ministry is growing and finding greater acceptance.

What really amazes me about the number of times my paper has been downloaded is that doctoral papers are not the most entertaining reading available. They are to required to be written with strict guidelines that make them more scholarly than the general public would find enjoyable to read. This causes me to assume that other scholars are downloading this paper for their own research.

My latest book, The Art and Practice of Bivocational Ministry: A Pastor's Guide, takes the information I learned from that research and puts it in a more readable format for the general public. I was not happy with the title, but the publisher has the right to give titles to the books they publish. My title was the same as my doctoral paper which I felt better described the content of the book.

This is a book about how coaching can benefit any minister and especially those of us who are bivocational. It includes ten case studies of pastors I have coached and describes the challenges they were facing and the solutions we identified through the coaching process. Chances are you will find some of your own issues in these examples, and the solutions that helped them may resolve your issues as well.

Coaching is a powerful tool for addressing those times when you feel stuck and not sure which direction to take. I have benefited from having a coach in my life during such times, and I believe I have helped others as a coach when they've felt pressured by things in their lives.

Coaching goes right to the issues you are facing and looks forward to find the solutions to those challenges. It doesn't spend time looking at the past. That's counseling, which is sometimes needed, but that isn't the role of a coach. It's also not consulting which you may need in certain instances. Coaching depends on asking powerful questions that enables the person being coached to find the solutions that are often already within the person but just needs help in coming to the surface. I believe it is a great tool for anyone in a leadership position and certainly for the bivocational minister.

I encourage you to read this book, especially if you are feeling stuck or frustrated with your life and ministry. Each of these ten pastors brought different issues to our coaching relationship so you may find your situation addressed in these examples. If nothing else, I believe you find this book will encourage you that no matter how difficult your challenges may seem, there are answers to them that will allow you to move forward with your life and ministry.

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