Invest your remaining 2019 professional development funds in your 2020 leadership

You work hard for each penny you earn, and no doubt your leadership is worth more than your pay stub reflects. That’s why you should not leave any of your professional development money on the table. Every December I extend an offer to help coachees and potential coaches use every last bit. I call it the “round-up special” – I invoice you before December 31 for the remainder of your funds, and I round that amount up to the next coaching session value. Say, for example, that you have enough money left for 2 1/3 coaching sessions. With the round-up special, you get three coaching sessions to use at your convenience (which means after Advent and Christmas for most ministers!).

You can use those sessions to plan well for personal or congregational transitions, strategize time and energy management, claim your strengths so that you can lead from a place of authenticity, or address challenges you see coming down the road. This coaching will be tailored to your goals and your schedule, which means no trying to balance travel schedules with liturgical/church/personal calendars or weighing whether an event will be applicable to your ministry. (If you’re new to clergy coaching, you can read more about it here and see responses to some frequently asked questions here.)

How, then, do you take advantage of the round-up special?

If you are a current coaching client, email me the dollar amount for your invoice. The round-up sessions will be additional calls tacked onto the end.

If you are a former coaching client, email me the dollar amount for your invoice. I will invoice you at the per session rate I have coached you for in the past.

If you are a new coaching client, you can either email me the dollar amount for your invoice or – if you’d prefer to talk first – schedule a free exploratory call for December. Either way, I would then send you the coaching call scheduling link and all other information you need to get started.

If you have questions about this special or about coaching, I’d be happy to respond to them. You are welcome to contact me here.

Don’t leave a bit of your professional development funds behind when the calendar flips to 2020. Instead, use them all to grow more fully into the leader God has called you to be.

 

Book recommendation: How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going

Surprise! The old ways of doing church are no longer leading to the outcomes we’ve been conditioned to expect. Instead, numbers in most congregations have dipped (well, at least the ones that are easiest to measure). Churches are so desperate to stop the skid that they often tell God to take a backseat and lean on strategies more suited for the corporate world. The result is that congregations no longer feel so much like sacred centers but frantic, fractured gatherings of people who’ll do anything to avoid looking mortality – the congregation’s and their own – in the eyes.

There’s no denying that the “Big C” Church and many congregations are at a crossroads, or what seasoned consultant Susan Beaumont calls a “liminal space.” The old is in the rearview, and the new is not yet in sight. There is no easy path forward. This is not a situation that churches can strategically plan their way out of or pour more resources into until the trend rights itself. Instead, this season calls for a new kind of leadership, one that lets go of attachment to outcomes, tends the soul of the gathered body, and notices what emerges.

Image courtesy of susanbeaumont.com.

What this transition time requires, in other words, is true spiritual leadership. In her book How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season, Beaumont lines out what this leadership looks like. It requires the ability to live with discomfort. Every congregation wants to know now what the future will look like now, and that simply isn’t possible without experimentation and discovery. Humans in a world geared toward instant gratification will buck against this purposeful not-knowing, and the leader must point toward the faithfulness of this stance and the opportunities in it. Liminal leadership also necessitates the willingness and capacity to tune into who the congregation is at its roots, what God is up to, and what the Spirit is nudging it to do and be. It invites the church as a whole to join in this untangling of its DNA, this discernment, this identification of purpose. In the process, dependence on God’s timing and attentiveness to God’s presence bring about spiritual transformation for those who engage in this challenging work.

Beaumont’s book offers as much of a guide as we have available for how to navigate this weird, wild time. It outlines the postures a liminal leader must take. It points to where the soul of each congregation reveals itself. It teaches the spiritual practices that add up to discernment. It helps leaders detect and elevate new, more helpful narratives about their churches. It highlights what congregations do (e.g., core values) and don’t (e.g., a 10-year plan) need to move ahead with faithful purpose. And it reassures and emboldens leaders and their churches by emphasizing that it is good and right to stand in wonder rather than on certainty.

I recommend this book to pastors and lay leaders who are stymied about how to put one foot in front of the other. It offers a balance of spiritual and practical, realism and hope that I believe can move churches from liminal languishing to empowered, impassioned purpose.

 

Celebration: I have leveled up!

Last week I received word that my application for the next level of coaching credential was approved by the International Coach Federation. Formerly an Associate Certified Coach, I am now a Professional Certified Coach. Logistically, this means I have more than 125 coach training hours and 500+ coaching hours, have been mentored by my own coach for no fewer than 10 hours since my ACC credential was awarded, have passed a Coach Knowledge Assessment, and have demonstrated PCC-level coaching (assessed according to increasingly rigorous standards) in two recorded coaching sessions. In a bigger sense, though, this designation means that I have committed myself to a higher standard of coaching and to continual growth as a coach.

I would like to thank:

my first coach, Melissa Clodfelter, who showed me what a difference coaching could make,

the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship for inviting me to consider becoming a coach and then getting me started down that path,

all of my coach trainers over the years,

my mentor coaches in the process of attaining the Certified Christian Leadership Coach and ACC designations (Eddie Hammett, Brian Miller, and Bill Copper),

my mentor coach who got me ready to apply for the PCC credential, Janice Lee Fitzgerald,

and my family and friends who have encouraged me over the past 6.5 years of growing into this joy-filled ministry niche.

Above all, though, I am grateful to every person who has trusted me as a coach. I am excited to go to my office each day to find out about the good you are doing and to work with you on increasing the impact of your faithfulness, giftedness, wisdom, and experience. What a privilege!

Here’s to many more years of our journey together.

Repost: Thanks Living

Last week I posted a prayer calendar from 2017 extending the spirit of All Saints’ Day throughout the month of November. This week I am re-sharing a prayer calendar from 2015, one that invites thankfulness on each day of the coming month around a broader range of prompts. Here’s how I originally introduced the calendar:

While the goal is to live attuned to our many blessings all year long, in November we tend to be especially mindful of everyday graces. Below is a calendar of gratitude prompts to supercharge your thanksliving. You are encouraged to share widely the JPEG or the PDF (found here), and I invite you to record your daily responses on social media with the hashtag #NoticingGrace.

thanksliving

Repost: Rejoicing in God’s saints

[Note: Since All Saints’ Day is quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to share a prayer calendar for the whole of November that I created in that spirit.]

Sometimes I wish All Saints’ Day could be more than, well, one day. Our lives are shaped by so many people who have gone before, whether we knew them personally or not. I think we could all benefit from reflecting on their influence and considering what parts of their legacies to carry forward.

Since All Saints’ Day is November 1, and since we are already inclined toward thanks-living during November, I have put together a month-long prayer calendar with daily prompts to remember a departed saint whose impact has been significant. This calendar is available as a copier-friendly PDF and as a Canva PDF. Feel free to share the calendar on social media, print it for your church members or yourself, or use it as your November newsletter article.

rejoicing-in-gods-saints