Most congregations in Mainline Denominations are continuing a long-standing pattern of losing worship attendance and membership. In seminary clergy were not trained in how to turn around declining congregations. Lay people often wring their hands (or more sinisterly, dig in their heels) at the prospects of continuing membership and attendance loss. Often phrases similar to, “If we could only go back to the way it was....” are heard in the ever emptying hallways and sanctuaries.
A few congregations are growing. This condition presents challenges to the clergy and lay leadership as well. There are key barriers in worship attendance that have to be crossed in order that the congregation will be able to grow. At the same time, we have to remember that not every congregation is called to worship 300, 3,000, or 30,000. The vast majority of congregations in The United States are small, under 100. The question for these congregations is this: are you faithfully living your calling in your community?
Clergy often find themselves on the edge of burnout as they seek to shepherd their congregations. This profession, which at one time was one of the healthiest professions to practice has become one of the most unhealthy. Clergy feel pushed beyond the limits of normal workload, under appreciated, underpaid, and most significantly, very alone.
I Am Here To Help
I served local congregations for fifteen years as the pastor in charge. I served small, medium, and large congregations. I have had a staff of 1 (myself) and I have been the supervisor of up to 11 paid staff people. My congregations have been rural, suburban, and urban. I have served shrinking congregations and expanding congregations. They all share one thing in common, the desire to reach new people for Christ. My doctoral work was in church in the twenty-first century. My dissertation focused on keeping young clergy in parish ministry for the long haul.
- Clergy Coaching
- Lay Coaching/Congregational Leadership Training
- Staff Leadership Training
- Nuts and Bolts for new ministry startups
- Contemporary Worship Help
What does Coaching Mean?
Let’s be honest for a minute. The term coaching has come into the fore as a vogue word. When we see a football or baseball team, we know what a coach is: they are the ones on the sidelines. But what do they do? It is quite simple really: a coach helps the players attain their greatest potential. The coach’s job is to fine tune, to give the skill set, and to be present while the game is played. The coach works with the player to make sure the golf swing is just right, that the kick is in good form, that the bat gets swung in the right way. This way success is much more likely to take place.
Outside of the sports arena, coaches provide very similar services. Coaches guide, fine tune, give skills, help define goals, provide new skills, and they are present in the situation so that success is much more likely to take place.
I believe that the answer to the questions, the problems, the frustrations, and the disappointments lie within the congregation or community of faith itself. God has and is presenting the community with the answers. It is my job to work with each congregation’s leadership and help those answers come to the surface so that the congregation can fulfill God’s mission within their area of influence. Not every congregation is called to worship more than 300, but every congregation is called to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world in their community and context.
As I reflect upon the history of the church, nearly every church has had a coach. Saint Paul was a great coach to his churches, as was Saint Peter. When we look at all the leaders through the years, they all had help on the journey, partners, friends, coaches. There is no great mystery here. We need each other as partners on the journey. We all need help to move forward.
For congregational consulting, the initial consultation is a 4 hour consultation. I will meet with the clergy, the lay leadership, attend the worship services, and follow up. The cost of the initial consultation is $200 plus travel. After the initial consultation, I bill at an hourly rate of $75. I firmly believe that no congregation should pay more than $2,000 in total. If we get to that amount, and we still have work to do, I will continue to work with you until we achieve the goals you set.
For individual consulting and coaching, email me for more information, but know I will not want to turn anyone way.
Interested? Drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.