Clergy are expected to be the ultimate multitaskers. In one day you may be called upon to fix the oven in the church kitchen, help a grieving family plan a service, provide guidance to a visioning committee and mediate a conflict between the music director and office manager. You reduce others' stress levels, but how is yours? You lead others to living water, but is your well pretty dry?
Who hasn't wished for stronger pastoral leadership skills in some key area? No one can excel equally in preaching, strategic planning, communication, pastoral care, conflict management, mentoring lay leaders, stewardship and supervising programs and personnel.
The aim of the Coaching for Leadership program at SFTS is to assist ministers currently serving congregations to strengthen their leadership skills, including areas such as conflict management, personnel recruitment and supervision, strategic planning, time management, organizational development and envisioning skills. This program is directed by Scott Sullender, Associate Professor of Pastoral Counseling. Also available through Scott's office is congregational coaching and consulting.
Having a coach as an ally can make all the difference in managing your current challenges and honing your pastoral leadership skills. The field of coaching arose in business to assist executives and entrepreneurs to identify and achieve goals and objectives. In recent years, the coaching model has been applied to members of the clergy. Coaching is not psychotherapy. Nor is it mentoring. It is a one-to-one alliance with a person, trained in leadership development, who will assist you to identify your ministry goals, and offer resources and guidance as you take progressive steps toward meeting those goals.
We all know the challenges for religious leaders today. Declining membership, changing demographics, and high expectations from the congregation threaten work-life balance, physical and mental well-being, and personal spiritual renewal. Yet most clergy are dedicated, faithful servants, who seek to fulfill their call to serve God and their congregations. Ministers are looking for opportunities to develop new ways of doing ministry and increasing the effectiveness of current programs. In recent years, coaching has become a cost-effective, helpful, and individualized tool for shaping skills and developing as a leader.
San Francisco Theological Seminary, with a long and rich history of preparing women and men for ministry, is pleased to offer clergy a way to do continuing education, using the coaching model. We call our program "Coaching for Leadership" because it reflects our long standing commitment to prepare "Whole leaders for the whole church."