Coaches ready as resources for churches

By John Crawford
Special Contributor

One of the big steps associated with implementing the Imagine Ministry plan was forming a group of committed laity to become coaches for congregations.

To date, we have 76 congregations working with congregational coaches. We have 38 coaches already working with churches, with more trained and ready to put into action. Some real progress has taken place, with churches moving forward in the mission we all share: making disciples of Jesus Christ equipped to transform the world with excellence and passion.

Congregational coaches help foster a strong partnership between the pastor and laity. A coach serves as a resource, keeping leaders focused on the objective to make disciples and help them work to establish solid goals. Pastors and laity are learning that they are not merely information recipients and conduits; they are God’s instruments for forming disciples.

The relationship with a coach lasts as long as the congregation finds the process helpful. There is no financial cost to the congregation.

A coach can guide a church in:

–  empowering laity to be responsible for fruitful ministry of the church;

–  interpreting demographic data from the MissionInsite program and forming a plan to engage the church’s mission field;

–  building congeniality, connection and spiritual support among the leaders of the congregation;

–  connecting with resources and partners in their community and the Conference;

–  generating solutions from the congregation’s own expertise in its mission field.

The first step for a church to become involved is for the church’s Vision Team and Staff-Parish Relations Committee to complete a Mission Field Self-Assessment Form. To obtain this form, contact the Rev. Dr. Kurt Boggan, director of the Center for Clergy and Laity Excellence in Leadership, at  501-324-8016  or kboggan@arumc.org. After this assessment process, the church will be matched with a congregational coach.

If you are interested in learning more about coaching or becoming a coach, contact me at  501-324-8011  or jcrawford@arumc.org.

Crawford serves as an associate director of the Arkansas Conference Center for Clergy and Laity Excellence in Leadership.

About the role of a congregational coach

In relationship with the church: Walks alongside laity and provides resources to help churches create and realize ministry and mission goals; understands the reality of the church’s context and changing needs; assists in vision planning, minor conflict mediation; interprets expectations and hopes the Conference has for the church.

In relationship with the pastor: Listens to and guides pastors toward meeting established goals and expectations; provides training and resources in conjunction with the circuit elder and district superintendent.

In relationship with the Staff/Pastor-Parish Relations Committee: Helps shift focus toward the vision and ministry goals for Kingdom growth; helps foster collaboration with the pastor to encourage leaders to make changes; provides resources, shares information from the Conference and other parts of the United Methodist connection; assists with interpreting demographics and statistics to aid in the church’s self-assessment of opportunities in its mission field.

When to contact your coach: When discussing reaching the church’s mission field; when establishing goals and benchmarks for leadership, skill building, ministry goals and pastoral expectations; when discerning accountability and responsibility in the ministry of the laity.

To ask about having a congregational coach assigned to your church, contact the Rev. Dr. Kurt Boggan at  501-324-8016  or kboggan@arumc.org.