Today's seminary students are 40-50 years old, on average. They're on their second or third career, many coming out of corporate America. And while they're committed to making a difference in the world, most of them aren't planning to do that in a church setting.

They see what's going on in faith communities these days and they don't want to be there. Who can blame them?

So what got a group of seminary students excited – really excited – last month about the possibilities at church?

Coaching4Clergy was delivering our Basic Coach Training at a seminary school in Pennsylvania. We'd already announced that we'd be presenting the next level of coach training in October 2011, but at one point during the training, the students stopped us cold.

"Can't we do the next level of Coach Training any sooner?"

What was the attraction? Why were they so eager – hungry, even? The first thing that comes to mind is that many in this group have already had exposure to coaching, because it's proven to be so successful in the business world.

They see that with coach training, they never have to feel like they're on their own. With their newfound coaching skills, they'll be able to empower others in the church to work with them as a team. Plus, through Coaching4Clergy they'll have access to their own coach, creating a cycle of growth and development that will come back to benefit their entire community.

All of a sudden, church life is looking more attractive. Maybe they won't go and work for that non-profit. Maybe they won't take additional training in another field. Maybe they'll bring their coaching strategies and techniques to church after all.

Today's seminary students are seeking new models of faith and service. They're much quicker to embrace the mind shifts that we've been encouraging more experienced pastors to explore. To them, these aren't shifts at all – it's simply the new "way things are." And that has us even more excited about working with them!

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.