As many of you know, I made a quick trip to Chicago this past month for an event titled: Stewardship Coaching. I spent September 10-12 at the Lutheran Center in Chicago learning what it means to be a Stewardship Coach. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or ELCA, the denomination of which Bethesda is a part, received a grant a few years ago to train leaders, both lay and rostered, to be coaches. The ELCA is currently training coaches in Stewardship and the Faith Practices with the hope of adding Leadership Coaching soon.

What this means for me is that for the next year I will be working in a triad where I will both be coached and will continue to learn how to coach someone else. We will meet “virtually” every 6-8 weeks. The two women in my triad live in Texas and California. Late next spring, if I choose, I will have the opportunity to begin training two people on my own.

What I love about coaching is that you need not have all the answers. Your job as coach is to walk along side the one you are coaching, ask really good questions, and help them discover what the next steps are in their process. Our coaching trainer told us that he is coaching someone on making their podcast better.

The coach has no idea how to create a podcast and rarely even listens to podcasts but he can be an effective coach by asking the right questions and helping the person he is coaching to set his course. The hardest part about coaching is to not interject your own ideas. I like to solve problems so my learning will be to not offer advice but to learn to ask the powerful questions.

My homework for these many months will be to practice these new coaching skills and to read a lot of stewardship material. As a stewardship coach, there will be times when I will be pointing the one I am coaching to specific resources that may help in their situation. Don’t be surprised if you see some different approaches to stewardship being lifted up at Bethesda as I am working my way through all of the material.

It was a packed three days and I look forward to continuing in my learning. Thank you for the time we receive for continuing education so that we can grow our skills as your pastors.

God’s Peace,

Pastor Steve