Coaching has given me great insights on the power of individuals to identify their needs, cast vision for their lives, discover the personal resources for life change, design a plan of action, and successfully pursue that plan. What works for individuals can also work for groups and organizations including churches.
Consider this process that churches can adopt as they address change:
H—Honor the other
A—Ask powerful questions
N—Nurture curiosity and creativity
The first step is to connect. In individual coaching, we often work with clients not only to identify a specific life change they wish to achieve but to understand the values that motivate and guide their behavior and how this life change fits into the total picture of whom they are becoming. They connect with themselves on a deeper level.
As we begin to address change in a congregational setting, we help people to connect with each other by sharing their hopes, passions, and gifts before they attempt to define a common goal and plan for the future. A group is not ready to begin the difficult discussion about change if they do not have strong relational and spiritual ties. One way to address this is to use a resource like 40 Days of Prayer: Preparing Ourselves for God's Calling by Mark Tidsworth in the leadership team as well as small groups of church members. This challenges people to communicate on a deeper, more personal level while reflecting on scripture.
A spiritual bond helps people to develop the level of trust where they can talk openly and candidly, sharing their fears as well as their hopes. We don’t get this type of interaction from online questionnaires or paper surveys. People in the church need to talk to each other, connecting on a deep level, before they embark on the task of change.
(This process is based on a model that Beth Kennett of the Center for Congregational Health and I used for a workshop at the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, NC, in June.)