The world learned a lot about resilience during the pandemic. Out of an abundance of caution, businesses small and large chose to close their doors, and so did the church. Churches that were already using innovative technology transitioned with less difficulty.
Churches that had a vision and access to new technology methods adapted quickly. Unfortunately, many churches who were already struggling before 2020 didn't survive the sudden catapult in being and doing church life in a drastic new way. While none of us could foresee the need for an overnight strategic shift, many could have benefited from church leadership coaching before the pandemic.
Technology wasn't the only culprit. Like any business, poor or lethargic leadership is often the start of their demise. Failures are never solely at the hands of the pastor but also include the hierarchy of leaders.
We are now in a new age, and the church can't afford to focus solely on the way things have always been done. The fear of change needs to give way to a vision to be innovative and determined to share the gospel in a model that reflects the heart of Christ. Jesus didn’t let cultural norms dictate His mission, and neither should the church. Pastoral and Church Leadership coaching is a viable solution that can assist the pastor, staff, and leadership teams in redirecting the trajectory of the church.
If you're in leadership and your church needs innovation and rejuvenation, keep reading to learn why church leadership coaching and training are the answer.
Why Church Leadership Coaching Is A Valuable Tool
Many churches develop bad habits and grow accustomed to unhealthy structural and cultural practices over time. Ministers may or may not have all the knowledge they need to objectively assess and discern what a congregation needs. Some find themselves facing challenges no seminary class prepared them for.
When a church is facing significant challenges (conflict, declining metrics, loss of energy, etc.), it may be time to re-evaluate its mission and internal processes. As with businesses and corporations, this calls for a neutral party to assess where improvements are needed.
Just as Fortune 500 companies have consultants to help them with objective assessment, today's churches have begun to utilize church leadership coaching in the same way. The results have shown that pastors and leadership teams can use these services to improve ministry outcomes by increasing their awareness of internal and external issues and can begin taking steps to transform their congregation prior to seeing an emergency or major issue emerge.
Seeking assistance from outside the church shouldn't be seen as a weakness. Let’s read that again, “seeking assistance from outside the church shouldn’t be seen as a weakness.” It's an act of humility to acknowledge that the church isn't reaching its full potential, and a fresh perspective is needed. Often, that can only happen when an outside lens is invited into the process.
Bringing In An Outside Consultant
Bringing in an outside consultant is a great first step. Seeking pastoral coaching to get a clear understanding of God’s vision for the church is a wise first step. Coaching for lay leaders can also be a good place to start as the pastor will need reinforcement for strategic and cultural decisions that may come.
We know the pastor's role is more than delivering the sermon on Sunday morning. Their role includes prayerfully casting vision for the church, leading the staff, providing spiritual leadership for its members, guiding the annual budget, and ensuring ministries provide services to the community and congregation. Therefore coaching can provide the intentional space for assessment, reflection, and strategic focus.
Benefits Of A Church Health Assessment
Once the pastoral leadership coaching has begun, the next steps include a church health assessment. Church assessments provide an internal look into the church as a whole entity. The best assessment includes multiple tiers of exploration:
- Ministry members
- Admin staff'
- Surrounding community
Conducting a church assessment during times of uncertainty will require more than an email and reminders from the church office. You'll want to utilize a process geared intentionally towards churches with carefully crafted questions focused on hearing the heart of your church.
Make it a significant event in the life of the church, because it is. Create multiple ways to remind everyone why their input matters. Offer online alternatives to engage those persons still not comfortable with in-person activities.
If the assessment offers a summary and talking points, host an evening to share the results with leadership teams. These gatherings can often be the spark that inspires renewal and recommitment to a greater purpose. This is also a great time to cultivate healthy conversations around change and perhaps to roll out a new vision strategy. This foundation is the key to cultivating trust within the congregation. Once your church leadership is committed to change, it's time to get the entire congregation involved. To prepare members for the next steps, you'll need ministry coaches.
Breathing New Life into Leadership Teams
Church ministries are the backbone of the church. They are composed of volunteers, who, initially, are eager to bring hope and healing to the communities where they live, work, and play. Often volunteers get burned out under weak or poor leadership, resulting in teams composed of half-hearted commitments. This can result in volunteer disappointment and frequent turnover which can have a negative impact on the mission the church hopes to accomplish.
Creating opportunities for leadership coaching is a way to advance participation in ministries and outreach programs. The ministry works directly with members while ministry coaches assist in guiding ministry leaders.
Ministry leadership coaching can include ongoing training via monthly workshops or quarterly and annual retreats. Engagement at the leadership level passes down to ministries and activates the pew sitters. Church leadership coaching is a wise investment with a great return on investment.
Choosing The Next Steps
If your church isn't following the design of Acts 2 and meeting the needs and expectations of both internal and external constituencies, it cannot thrive.
Many significant suggestions can come out of pastoral leadership coaching. Not all suggestions will get implemented by the church. The two leading reasons are limited finances and volunteers and fear or unwillingness to change.
At the forefront of change is always the desired outcome. A fresh start in ministry can be difficult but necessary. The right coaching strategies can assist in the leadership transformation.
Church renewal is more than a short-term effort. It takes years, not weeks, to bring genuine renewal, hope, and healing to most congregations. . Church leadership coaching can serve as a spiritual renewal for everyone from the pulpit to the pew. Your members deserve the best that ministry leadership has to offer.
Is your church leadership in need of congregational renewal? We're here to help you and your congregation get back on track. Click here to contact us to learn how to set up leadership training for the future of your ministry.