Recently I have been meeting with some local pastors to explore whether they can benefit from what I have learned in fifty years in the Christian ministry. While seminary training is of benefit in learning about Christian doctrine, history, theology and worship it does a very poor job of preparing leaders. They do not do well in:
- Understanding culture
- Teaching leadership
- Teaching relational skills
- Practical side of ministry
- Management skills
- Teaching vision for ministry.
Strategic planning, management of time, vision casting, setting goals and priorities, identifying the churches specific market niche, and communicating the Gospel to motivate and minister to the members of the congregation are all essential to build a healthy and growing congregation.
Basic to the success of the church is the health of the pastor. The congregation will not rise above its pastors and lay leaders. Too many pastors try to do it all on their own and work themselves to death rather than prioritizing and delegating.
When I meet with pastors I try to listen to their concerns and ask good questions. Here are samples of some of the questions that can be covered.
- Is there any area of your life where you sense God wanting you to grow? Where do you need help developing that?
- What are your deepest passions? What really satisfies and fulfills you?
- What energizes you? What drains your energy?
- What legacy do you want to leave? What do you want to be remembered for?
- What are your strengths? Where are you gifted?
- What’s one thing you would like to change about yourself?
- What can we celebrate? What’s working?
- What’s really important? Priorities, values?
- What obstacles are you facing? What frustrates you?
- Where do you want to go? What’s next? What issues need to be addressed? Where do you need to focus? What do you want to accomplish?
- What are possible ways to get there?
- Which path will you choose?
- How will you measure your progress?
- What resources will you need to accomplish your goals? What do you already have? What resources are missing? Where will you find them?
- How committed are you?
- What are your fears?
- What are you learning?
- What can I do to support you?
- What could I provide that would help you even more in achieving your goals?
- Do you feel I am pushing you enough, too much, or not enough?
- What would you like me to do differently?
- What issues are you sensing the Holy Spirit prompting you to address?
Of course these questions are applicable to anyone, not just pastors. Recent studies indicate that pastors who have a mentor/coach or seek one, do much better in their ministry that those who do not. I have had the privilege of having several mentors who have influenced my life in transforming ways that have stood me in great stead over the years. Encourage your pastor to find a mentor/coach.