In 2018, the church, where I was on staff, decided to put its training dollars into coaching as opposed to sending us on a trip to a conference. The concept was, that for about the same amount of cost, we would get 6 months of ongoing training, where at a conference, the training lasted for a week.
What a concept!
I began to do research on kidmin coaches. There were several on the internet who had established a history of coaching others. This was beginning to be exciting. Ultimately, I chose to hire Jim Wideman, children and family pastor at the Belonging Co church in Nashville, TN. Jim had a long history as a kidmin coach, and an even longer history as a children’s pastor and ministry leader.
Jim has been doing ministry almost 40 years. His experience and expertise seemed unmatchable. I presented my intentions to the staff, and it was approved. In February of 2019, we embarked on a road to change things.
Jim and I embarked on a 6 month journey, where we met via zoom twice a month for 6 months. Throughout this process, Jim helped me evaluate the ministry I was doing at the church, my personal mental health, my personal spiritual health, and my leadership health. He assigned me books to read. Some were business in nature, and some were for personal growth.
The first thing we hit was that I was personally struggling with some things. Jim had me read two books that helped me recognize some interpersonal struggles I was having. This wasn’t the be all end all. There was much more to do. I started a journey to find emotional health. One of the things that I was struggling with, was the balance of my relationship with God, versus my relationship with my wife/family, and my relationship with the church. It’s so easy to allow that to get skewed and miss God’s purpose for us. Remember, we are human beings, not human doings. It is important to take time to simply be in God’s presence, and not get caught up doing things for God.
Beyond the personal, which was my biggest epiphany, we began working on some things at the church. We evaluated personality traits and styles, and we compared them to other staff on my team. Jim began helping me make steps to better communication with the staff.
We also began setting goals. Jim’s book “Stretch” is about taking your ministry from where you are to where you want to go. I began looking at these steps, and setting goals for the ministry where I was serving. We looked at the amount of team members we had, and the amount of team members we needed to run a smooth and successful ministry each Sunday and Wednesday. By laying out this plan, I realized that I needed to recruit many more people to the kids ministry of this church.
One of the gretaest things I learned through this process was that I needed to return to the place where I began. Relationships….. relationships became key over the next few months to growing a team, and setting up for success in the future. I found myself having coffee with current leaders and potential leaders. By spending time with people, I found that recruiting became much easier. It goes back to the old adage, “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” By truly getting to know people, I found that they wanted to be part of what we were doing.
My growth as a minister and leader was greatly effected by the coaching that Jim and I did. The majority of what he did for me was on a personal level. In fact, my first 6 months of coaching really ended up being about me growing as a person more than a kidmin leader. Which is why I ended up hiring him for another 6 months. Only this time, it was my personal dollars that were invested.
The next thing that happened was a realization that my time at that place was coming to an end. Jim walked me step by step through the process of stepping out of ministry in a very healthy way. He helped me to honor those I had worked with, and honor those who would take over. I am ecstatic to see that future of the ministry that I once led.
In the end, it wasn’t the end. It was just the beginning! I am in my second year of coaching with Jim, only now he’s coaching me as I become a coach. He’s walked me along the path that has me helping others. It’s awesome to see what God is doing that is new in my life, and there is great joy in finding a renewed passion for ministry to kids.
I highly recommend that you find someone to coach you. One of the greatest benefits to coaching is the outside perspective that a coach has. He/She is looking in from the outside, and they have the ability to see things that you may miss, being on the inside. There is something to the saying “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” It’s easy to get caught up in the small picture of your day to day and miss the big picture of what God has called you to. A coach can help you do that.
God has designed up for relationships, first and foremost with Him. But he has given us mentors and coaches who can help us stay focused and grow in the ministry we have been charged with. These relationships are some of the most important relationships we can have. And if you can find yourself in a coaching relationship, I believe you will find yourself in a position to grow! And that’s what we all want anyway! So find a coach, and GROW!
And remember… Aim for The Mark every time, because if we aim at nothing, we’ll hit it every time! Blessings to you all!