Coaches (and Cheerleaders) for Everybody

You Inspire Me
In my denomination, churches sometimes request or are assigned Administrative Commissions to walk alongside congregational leaders as they discern what God is calling them to be in the future.  I’ve come to the conclusion that every church needs one.

Because we are in the thick of cultural shifts that make people anxious, because so many of our once vibrant congregations are shadows of their former selves, and because many of our congregations are stuck being a church that no longer works or satisfies, every congregation needs a coach.  A team of coaches is preferable.

Imagine . . .

  • A team of people who go in and teach a congregation what 21st Century Church looks like and equips leaders to be that church for their own context and community over a period of at least one year.
  • A commission that assesses – along with the congregation – the possibilities for their Future Story and then – once a path is chosen – they coach them down that path for at least one year.
  • A cadre of Merry Helpers who encourage, pump up, guide, and pray with a church who wants to move forward but doesn’t know how for at least one year.
  • A  M.A.S.H. unit (Ministry After S@*# Happens) that helps with legal, emotional, and disaster relief – whether the disaster is a flood or clergy misconduct for at least one year.

Yes, some of our Presbyteries/Conferences/Dioceses/Associations offer these teams, but most do not.  There are denominational programs that help congregations examine where they’ve been and the possibilities about where they might go.  But many are lacking in terms of follow-through and follow-up.

These days require the investment of community coaching for our congregations. Any church interested in continuing to serve their neighbors and world ten years from now would jump at this kind of assistance, I believe.  Churches interested only in serving themselves will not exist in ten years anyway, so if they refuse coaching, that’s okay too.

Yes, it would be a huge investment of money and consultation talent.  But the mainline congregations out there can indeed afford it if we allot some of the funds from the sale of closed congregations which once thrived on valuable real estate.  Thoughts?

Image source.

6 responses to “Coaches (and Cheerleaders) for Everybody

  1. Jan, you have nailed the essence of the work Jim Kitchens and I are doing in Adaptive Change Leaderhip through PneuMatrix – we take on 8 such consultations in a Presbytery for a year – all the while offering on the job training for 8 Apprentices to do the same when we are done. It’s all about building implementation and capacity skills- hopefully, we are building a strong bench of folks in each of these Presbyteries to draw from for the next round. We agree, completely that our churches need a “Paracletos” – one who walks alongside – to take that constant discernment journey. God forbid that 5 or 10 years from now these churches are fixated on the changes they implemented today! The model is most effective and leanly affordable when done at a presbytery level.


  2. At the NEXT Church national gathering in Charlotte two years ago, Bill Golderer and Aisha Brooks-Little shared their stories of ACs in their churches in Philadelphia. Everybody wanted one by the time they were done.


  3. If I felt better, I’d serve on one of those groups in a heartbeat!


  4. Jan,

    I have followed your blog via Mary Helen’s subscription for some months and really appreciate your observations. This is spot on for many churches. We are exploring doing something like this in National Capital Presbytery. I have some good tools for analysis especially for new pastors in my recently published book: “Entering Wonderland: A Toolkit for Pastors New to a Church” Keep up the good work!


  5. Pingback: Wednesday Festival! | RevGalBlogPals

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