By Ingrid Wang, Baltimore-Washington Conference
“Deep, Powerful, and Magnificent!” Don’t these words move your heart and make you want to find out more about whatever they are referring to? As a pastor, I often seek to have a deep relationship with my parishioners, yet this goal seems to be very difficult to achieve. Oftentimes, people are reluctant to open their hearts to deal with deeper issues. It may be fear of being vulnerable, or it may be a trust issue. It takes an intentional effort and a very long time to get to that deeper place, yet often fails. As a committed servant of God, I also hope to be an instrument of God’s empowerment to those whom God puts on my path. In addition to being a powerful witness to my faith in Christ, I hope to help others do the same and become what God intends them to be. Many of you would agree with me that this goal is also very difficult to achieve. As a unique creation of God, I would love to be able to look and feel magnificent at all times. Yet, the long working hours and the stress the ministry brings easily drain me. and the magnificence seems to be locked in an icebox and hard to be reached. I wrestled with these desires and disappointments for quite some time until I found the key to the door of depth, power, and magnificence. I was excited!
This key, an eight-letter word—coaching—is not new to me, but the life-changing potential embedded in coaching is. Most of all, Christian coaching transforms lives. That is holy and humbling! A year ago, I had an opportunity to coach a young man who was a DREAM child (he came to this country with parents who stayed without a proper legal status). He could not work legally to support himself, let alone fulfill any of his dreams for the future. As his coach, I could not and would not tell him what to do. I simply helped him see his own potential and the possibilities. We got together every month to pray and to dream until the day the DREAM bill was passed. In the following six months, I witnessed this young man blossoming in ways neither of us could have imagined. Not only has he obtained his legal status, gotten his driver’s license, found a job, and restored relationships with families, but he also coaches a high school baseball team, mentors teenagers who are struggling, leads a men’s Bible study, and pursues an additional career. Best of all, his personal relationship with God has reached a much deeper level. This young man was able to discover the magnificence within him and achieve his best potential in the midst of restrictions and limitations. He was so motivated to reach the goals he set for himself. Having seen the transformation of this young man’s life, I cannot wait to see what more can happen to him. What if this were to happen to every person?
Coaching is a positive and creative process that inspires people to maximize their personal and professional potential. Life Coaches are not to help an individual resolve problems, but to help that person see beyond the obstacles and explore new possibilities that get the result he or she desires. Coaching helps people bridge the gap between where they are in life and ministry and where they want to be. Coaching is highly relational. The coach walks alongside the person being coached, to provide encouragement and affirmation. It is like a cheerleader standing on the sideline. Coaching is also a spiritual practice for both the coach and the one being coached. The coach learns to let go of his or her own agenda and focus on the person being coached through deep listening and asking powerful questions prompted by the Holy Spirit. The person receiving coaching learns to yield him/herself to become humble. Both parties then observe how the Spirit moves to expand their visions and evoke thoughts that lead to new possibilities for their lives. At the same time, both the coach and the person receiving coaching are led to a much deeper place where they encounter the Divine Spirit that a normal conversation would not be able to do. To me, coaching is humbling as well as powerful! Coaching helps bring the most potential out of an individual!
Can you imagine when a pastor applies the coaching skills toward the leaders within the church, equipping authentic disciples of Jesus Christ? Can you imagine when any leader applies the coaching skills toward people at work, in school, or from the community? Perhaps we will see more top performances, many great leaders for the future, and peace and harmony within the community. Coaching can help you reach that deep place where you encounter the Divine Spirit; coaching can evoke the power within you to turn your potential into reality; coaching can empower you to recognize and bring forth the magnificence within you!
The references below can help you better understand coaching. You don’t have to be a certified coach, but learning some coaching skills will definitely help you in your ministry, your personal life, as well as your spiritual life. May God continue to bless you and keep you all the days of your life!
2019 – Unity in the Church
2018 – Claim Who We Are in Christ
2017 – Bodies, Oppression, and Gospel
2016 – Birthing a Worldwide Church
2015 – Clergywomen Lead Vital Congregations
2014 – Empowerment for All
2013 – What Next?
2012 – What Does the Lord Require of Us?
2011 – See, I am Doing a New Thing
2010 – Voicing Truth With Grace
PDF archive – 1987 to 2009
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WellSprings, A Journal of United Methodist Clergywomen, is published by the Division of Ordained Ministry, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Editor: HiRho Y. Park
Managing Editor: Barbara A. Dick
Editorial Circle: Patricia Bonilla, Neelley Hicks, Anita Phillips, Jacqui Rose-Tucker, Trudy Hawkins Stringer