Ministry is going through a shift – really, a kind of death (of the pastor-centered approach to ministry) and resurrection (of a team approach). We see it in the numbers: more and more pastors out of work, more and more churches closing their doors, less and less money available for programs and building costs.

It is crucial that today's clergy acknowledge this reality and steer into the shift – it's the only way to be part of the resurrection and not the death. But how do you do that?

Your first tool is education. Increase your personal awareness of the ministry landscape and make sure your head is way above the sand and not buried beneath it. You're probably already feeling the ground moving beneath your feet – I know I did, even years ago, and that's what lead me to my second calling as a coach, mentor, author and trainer.

Next, take on preparation. Equip yourself with the tools you'll need to lead others through this transition. This team approach does not come naturally to most ministers, and it certainly wasn't included in our training. We see our relationships as one-sided, where our role is to help, solve or even command. Ministers are simply not used to working in collaboration. One way to address this gap is coach training – it is the best tool I know of for equipping and leading others through the shift.

Finally, work on communication. Don’t try to go this shift alone. Loneliness and isolation are at an all-time high right now in pastors, to the point where I basically assume that a pastor is lonely and isolated until proven otherwise.

Rationally, you probably know there are others out there who are going through the same things as you, but it's so easy to get cocooned and start thinking you're the only one. I hear it all the time on my calls with pastors, "Wow, it's so great to know that I'm not the only one thinking and feeling this way!"

Even the best leaders need support in order to keep doing what they do, especially at times like this. The very nature of this shift from a pastor-centered approach to a team implores you to seek out group opportunities.

My suggestion is that you join a coaching group. You'll be able to practice your group skills under the leadership of a trained professional coach, who can also serve as a mentor as you take some of those skills right back into your own work.

This shift is happening with or without you, but with education, preparation and communication, you can steer into the shift and wind up in the brand new world or ministry.

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.