Pastor as coach?

As I’ve gained fitness through running, I’ve had many opportunities to interact with others about this journey. Usually this is in the realm of answering training questions and offering encouragement to those who tell me that they too would like to begin running (or be more active or lose weight). I love helping people! That’s, I think, part of my call as a pastor.

I’ve discovered that better physical fitness can be related to spiritual fitness. Or better expressed, taking care of our bodies is part of a holistic way to live our faith. For me personally, I’ve discovered that running allows me to meditate, to pray, to reflect on life, and even to write sermons. These benefits come from those, long and short, solitary runs. Another benefit is the community that I’ve discovered by joining a running club. I value the relationships that I’ve built over the last couple years. One of my favorite activities is Wednesday night track…it’s hard work (which I like) but more importantly it is gathering to work hard together. Its social and I like that. With the added benefits of my husband and adult children becoming runners as well, it’s become an integral part of my life.

All this has nudged me towards coaching. At first I thought this was something to do in addition to my work as pastor. But I’m learning that it is somehow part of my pastoral call. Of course I’m still working this all out, but helping people to move…to get moving…to experience the wonderful bodies that God gave them. It falls under my call to provide pastoral care while also witnessing to the Kingdom of God in the community. Something that I’m also trying to work out is how I can help other pastors to be more proactive in their own self-care.

Lately I’ve been reading lots of books about running and training. The other day, while looking at another book, I noticed a book titled, “Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-in.” In looking at the title, I realized that God was gently leading me in this direction because my work as “pastor” may benefit from some of this type of training as “coach.”

This book is for coaching athletes but it can benefit anyone who is “in the business of motivating other people.” So far the introduction has reminded of the importance of trust. It is critical for leadership, in and out of the church. In the church we talk about trust in God…something very important to the life of faith. I want to explore the importance of extending that trust in God into trust of one another (including trust of the pastor/leader).

I plan to share more insights as I read this book. Meanwhile, what are your thoughts regarding the intersections of coaching, trust, and faith?

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