Well, I'm a week and a day into my new appointment working with the Connectional Ministries of the North Georgia Conference of The United Methodist Church (60% of my time- focus on Bridges, mission effectiveness for conference, districts, and congregations) and focus on Mission Celebrations and mission strategy in a congregation for UMC Global Ministries (40% of my time). I went from serving Trinity on the Hill UMC in Augusta on Tuesday, September 30, and enjoying a half day off after my "good bye" lunch, to getting settled in the Conference office on Wednesday with a Connectional Ministries staff retreat at Camp Glisson on Thursday. I enjoyed Friday & Saturday back in Augusta getting some things settled from my old office into my home, working on some ideas and contacts, plus enjoyed some time with my family and cutting the grass and taking care of "home" work.
Sunday offered opportunity to worship at Wesley UMC in Evans (I hadn't worshiped in their new sanctuary before, hadn't been there for worship since hearing Glenn Ethridge many years ago, and had never heard Adam Hilderbrandt preach until Sunday) and then packed and had the late afternoon drive to Simpsonwood to be ready for a week of intensive training.
This week I have been in coaching training. I'm part of the CAST Fast Track group with a 40 hour immersion this week. We've had instruction, practice, and supervision in Coach Approach Skill Training with Rev. Chris Holmes & George Casey. Chris co-wrote the curriculum with George Howard. This has been a strong week for me due to the phenomenal leaders and participants paired up with excellent content.
I must confess I was originally a little suspicious, and maybe even skeptical about this coaching stuff. I knew it was a fad a few years back, and fads tend to make me uneasy as they are often shallow, personality driven, and lacking skill development. I couldn't have been more wrong. The reading, interactions, and depth of training have really exceeded my expectations. I rarely say such a thing. Like many folk, I tend to "get what I can get" out of any experience and expect some training may cause me to work harder to find any gold. Or aluminum. Or anything of use. This was a very, VERY different experience than I expected and I'm grateful for it.
Rather quickly I realized there is a lot I can gain from someone who can help me in my thinking and action, who is safe to bounce ideas off of, who can encourage me and challenge me, who can hold me accountable even as they move me to action, and who I trust for confidentiality and genuine deep interest in my needs as they work with me personally or might assist me and my team. The exercises were practical, absolutely not role play, and based in my/our own practical, real life situations.
I've still got to put hours in by coaching and by being coached, but I can tell this is launching me into my new job/s in a significant way. I've got one more day of training this week, yet I've already been coached in ways that will make me more effective in my thinking, my performance with groups, my leadership, and my overall personal and professional life. I've found this to be very holistic as it meets the needs I have and addresses the areas where I asked a coach for assistance.
So, if you would like to be coached to become more effective in mission and ministry and life, or want more information to decide about getting your own training in coaching, I'd be glad to talk with you. Or you can talk to a number of other clergy friends from North GA, TN, NC, NJ, and MO who were at our training and had similar experiences to mine. I'm looking forward to being coached and making myself available to coach others in ways that lead to transformation and action.
And who knows how exciting my next week of work will be?!