Monday, January 4, 2010

Shifting Times/Shifting Focus

If you watch this blog at all, you will notice that I have not blogged for almost three months. (It is interesting to me that not one person has noted that or asked me about it). Part of the lack of posting has been because of a major transition in my own life and with that has come a shift in what I desire to do with this blog.

A question with which I have been struggling for the past year is: what direction is God leading me in ministry? After leaving the Tigard Christian Church, my wife and I both believed that God was not calling us to move to another church (and DEFINITELY not to start another church). We prayed and talked and agonized. God simply waited. He knew that there was healing that had to happen...mostly emotionally & spiritually, but also physically...before I was ready to move into a new ministry direction.

But in September a series of circumstances came together where I began a journey training as a professional coach. (No, not for the Portland Trailblazers!) The type of coaching that helps professionals (and individuals) clarify their purpose and direction and helps them to become more productive and effective.

In September I took my introductory course on coaching and then in October I began training with a formal coaching school here in Portland. At first I was hesitant (for several reasons) to coach ministers. But as the weeks & months wore on, I realized that this was what God wanted me to do: to coach ministers to higher levels of effectiveness and personal satisfaction.

Most of us in ministry are familiar with the statistics:
  • Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout, or contention in their churches.
  • Fifty percent of pastors' marriages will end in divorce.
  • Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  • Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  • Eighty percent of seminary and Bible school graduates who enter the ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.
  • Seventy percent of pastors constantly fight depression.
  • Almost forty percent polled said they have had an extra-marital affair since beginning their ministry.
  • Seventy percent said the only time they spend studying the Word is when they are preparing their sermons.
  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses feel their spouse is overworked.
  • Eighty percent of pastors' spouses wish their spouse would choose another profession.
  • The majority of pastor's wives surveyed said that the most destructive event that has occurred in their marriage and family was the day they entered the ministry. (stats from Mark Driscoll, article: "Death by Ministry")

God seems to be telling Loretta and me that both because of our faith journey over the past thirty years but also because of my passion & giftedness that I need to move into this area of coaching ministers.

Talking the Walk has been a blog about preaching. While I have varied from that a few times, I have tried to stick to that principle fairly strictly. But as it slowly re-emerges from the hiatus that it has had, the focus will broaden to more than just preaching (although since that is a huge part of my heart, it will continue to be an emphasis). It will broaden to the area of ministry in general...what it means to be an effective Christian leader in ministry in the season of time in which we live.

If you have thoughts on this...I would encourage you to either e-mail them to me ( or leave them in the comments section.


Laura Kelly said...

well, having endured the last 13+ years of ministry together, Mike and I have personal experience that testifies to the need of encouragement, support, and practical help to "stay the course" and "finish the race". I know that God will use you & Loretta mightily as you stand beside fellow leaders and hopefully help to change some of those statistics! God speed and may you see abundant fruit from your next labor of love :) We need more of "us" to stand together and support each other through the joys and trials that ministry can bring ~

Anonymous said...

Last month during Advent and Christmas service preparations our minister's sister passed away. He took a whirlwind trip to see her, and rushed back for Christmas Eve services. I thought then, "Who do pastors have when they have a life crisis or tragedy?" I suggested to my sister, who is a chaplain, that ministers need chaplains! I think you new direction is so inspired by God, because this is something that pastors need. Not only coaching, but in soul care and other areas that they neglect for themselves while they are serving others. I'm excited to see how God leads here. And I'm praying that this is fruitful. You are a great writer, Cal, and a great thinker.

Anonymous said...

I have visited many times since the last blog. I felt it was best to leave quietly.
I also went to your new endeavor's website and, without your permission, printed a sheet or two to consider and contemplate. Very good! I like the picture on the web site. You look well and quite "comfy" in your hat...and in your skin. Good to see.

Visits Since Dec. 11, 2007