Someone to Walk Along Side With

Someone to Walk Along Side With

There are so many “movements” in our lives today both in church and society (and the whole creation). On top of the continued challenges of the pandemic and racial justice, the recent decision of the highest court in our nation have again highlighted two issues that we as a nation continue to face. And how will these “movements” impact who we are, in our being and becoming, as faith community has also been or should be a priority in our discernment of radical hospitality, healing and reconciliation, and witness bearers of God’s love and mercy. We cannot do it alone and along the way we must walk together. Some do this walking together through a community; some find spiritual directors and counselors; while others seek mentors and coaches, who play different roles.

Barnabas (which literally means “son of encouragement”), a lesser known biblical personality, was one who played a role as a good coach as the first Christians grew in their ministries (Acts 11-23-24). He coached both individual leaders and the community. As the ELCA Coach slogan says, “We Empower Leaders Who Power Ministries,” the main goal of a coach is helping someone grow and flourish in his/her ministry.

One of the ways that we do this together as a whole church is to build a network of coaches that could walk with church leaders, rostered and lay, in their ministries, especially during these changing times, to  be able to adapt and discern effective and impactful ways to serve their respective communities. Coaches help ministers to discover and discern God’s intention and desire for their lives and ministry, and through this discovery, and with the Holy Spirit, see God’s intentions and desires become reality.  A coach is someone to walk along side with us through encouragement, challenging questions, and deep listening. In short, coaching is about intentional listening to the Spirit and taking action.

In recent years, we also learned more about raising effective coaches in our midst and in response we established a new and stronger churchwide infrastructure (ELCA Coach) to support and provide coach trainings and connect trained coaches to potential leaders to coach. As a synod, we hope to grow our pool of coaches who were trained within the new structure and can serve locally within our synod and in other synods as well. Eventually we hope to establish a synodical network of trained coaches. We also hope that congregational leaders consider to be coached.

Some may ask, how do I know if I could be a coach? ELCA Coach suggests some general characteristics for your own discernment to become a coach. Some may also ask how can I have a coach through the ELCA Coach? I hope that you would consider both these opportunities to coach and be coached (coach must have a coach too) to encourage each other to grow and flourish in their vocation and ministry through encouragement, comforting and urging. I would be happy to answer any questions you have on coaching, and I am most especially excited to include YOU in the growing list of trained coaches and those being coached in our Synod.

Pr. Tita Valeriano