Bishop Ward and Beth Hood talk about the importance of asking questions as we strive to live like Jesus and cultivate a culture of coaching.
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
It’s a joy to share ministry with Beth Hood, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Ministerial Services. Among the many gifts that Beth brings is a deep understanding and engagement in coaching. As we in the North Carolina Conference continue to support and strengthen effective leadership, Beth, can you tell us a bit about how coaching became a part of your vision for supporting clergy and laity as they lead?
Thank you Bishop. I’m excited about our shared ministry here in the North Carolina Conference and the opportunity to join you in building a coaching culture. I came to be familiar with coaching as I served as superintendent in the former Greenville district. There was a group of clergy and laity who committed themselves to gathering in an incubator form. We gathered once a month for about two years, discerning God’s call for us collectively. In that context, I came to be familiar and to greatly appreciate Christian coaching.
Coaching is a term we often associate with athletics or we sometimes confuse it with mentoring or consulting. But Christian coaching uniquely involves asking thought-provoking questions to help people discern God’s will and ways because the truth is, sort of our default mechanism, is to be about problem-solving. And in that mindset, we’re often trapped in stress and often limited in seeing possibilities. But I’ve noticed that Jesus asked a lot more questions than he answers. According to one scholar, Jesus asked over 300 questions and he only answers three out of about 183 that’s asked of him. So asking questions was central to Jesus’s life and teachings. It opened up conversations and encouraged people to grow and stretch in their own understanding of God. Like Jesus, we in the North Carolina Conference are asking each other important questions, curious theological questions that survey the scriptures and our souls. These questions are cultivating a coaching culture especially among fellows in the Center for Leadership Excellence Fellows Program, our residents in the Residency and Ordained Ministry process as well as the Office of Connectional Ministries working with congregations in discerning possibilities for their future. The list goes on, thriving Rural Fellows, New Church Planters, Clergy in Seasons of Transition. We’re utilizing coaches and thinking partners in order to walk through significant seasons of ministry. So curiosity is a characteristic of resilient leaders and I think that together, we can expect to hear more questions being asked the North Carolina Conference as we strive to live like Jesus and cultivate a culture of coaching.
Thank you Beth and in your description of coaching of what a coaching culture will be like as it continues to develop in our Annual Conference as we ask good questions and as we open up space with one another to hear God’s beckoning, to hear from one another the support that we need to lead, love, and continue learning well. Beth again, welcome, and thank you for your leadership.
Thank you, Bishop Hope.