By Rev. Paul Silcox
Sometimes our team members are asked, “What is the role of a Congregational Coach?”
First, Congregational Coaches are members of the Diocese of Huron Congregational Coaching Team. This team is made up of lay people and clergy who volunteer their time to walk alongside congregations that want to grow in faithful mission and ministry in the 21st century.
Coaching is not a program; it is about relationship and conversation. A coach — or often a team of two coaches — assists a congregation by facilitating, coordinating and asking questions to help that congregation listen effectively to each other and to God. The coach also provides support, encouragement, and accountability as the congregation acts to participate in God’s mission.
A typical assignment would usually be initiated with a call to one of the regional coordinators, who will help you determine what is the best process for your situation. Assignments are varied and might include a visioning process over a day or a few days or the multi-year Natural Church Development process.
Where several parishes have decided to look at becoming a new regional parish, a coach can walk the parishes through the first steps and as the process begins to take shape, the coach’s role is to assist in the parishes discovering the shared values, identity, and vision, and to equip them to carry out, sustain, and celebrate their unique purpose in Christ.
If the parish is entering the process of finding a new rector, a coach might assist by facilitating a process to work on the parish profile and determine needs and direction as the parish takes the next steps in the faith journey. Coaches are also available for discussion and clarification as the selection process moves forward.
The Coaching Team works hard to create a good match between the needs of your congregation and the approach we will take. We have a “tool kit” of various approaches that can be helpful for congregations, depending on what is needed at any particular time, such as strategic planning, town hall meetings, Natural Church Development workshops, and gift discernment workshops.
Rev. Paul Silcox is a member of the Huron Congregational Coaches Team.