There are many things that seminary training doesn’t cover, including how to effectively lead, empower and equip today’s volunteers, congregations and church staff. As a result, pastors may take an overly controlling approach, or step back and surrender to the chaos, neither of which is particularly effective.

With shrinking church budgets, pastors are expected to do more and more, but no one is telling them just how to create extra hours in the day (hint: you can’t) or how to transform into a multi-tasking superhero who can do it all (hint: you shouldn’t).

All of these issues can leave pastors feeling overwhelmed, overworked, ineffective, insecure, isolated and alone.

In a previous article about why today’s churches need leaders, not just followers, I noted that it takes courage and emotional maturity to be the kind of leader who empowers others to take on leadership roles.

The landscape of ministry is shifting rapidly and pastors must work together with their communities, creating a joint venture where everyone speaks and is heard. Today’s pastor must be that powerful type of leader who can ask powerful questions, listen deeply to the answers, focus on the bigger vision and delegate the steps your church needs to take in order to achieve that vision.

Coach training equips pastors with the understanding and skills to be this type of leader, and to compensate for the missing skills they didn’t even know they would need.

You know, it’s quite interesting - we would never consider sending a physician to treat patients without the proper training. Nor would we ever hire a lawyer or a car mechanic without the specialized skills to meet our needs. And yet, for years we have routinely asked women and men to lead a congregation without giving them any effective leadership skills development, and we have put our spiritual lives in their hands. There’s something wrong with this picture.

The laity and non-ordained church leaders understand this reality far too well. At a recent coach training event ,several laity spoke up and said that their frustration with clergy leadership was at an all-time high. Their comments echoed one of my own recent tweets: “Your church called. They want you to take coach training.”

Another enormous benefit of coach training for pastors is that as part of the training process, pastors receive their own coaching. That means dedicated one-on-one time to speak openly about their challenges in ministry. It means having someone else who is committed and able to draw out the best in them, so they’re showing up at the top of their game. How many pastors would have these opportunities otherwise?

Coach training is an essential skill for today’s pastor. Have you gotten yours?

Author's Bio: 

J. Val Hastings, MCC is the founder and president of Coaching4Clergy, which empowers today’s spiritual leaders through coaching, consulting and coach training. Did you know that 6 out of 10 churches will close over the next 10 years? Visit and for the information, resources and services that will help you ensure a sustainable future for your congregation