How many times have you heard leaders share that they are considering a “new ministry” opportunity.  Sometimes, it is a natural response to the monotony of life and other times it is a case of the “grass is greener” fallacy.  In other circumstances, a leader might find themselves in transition.  When I speak to leaders about transition I like to explain three phases: Pre-transition, Transition and Post-transition.

When coaching leaders through transitions I’ve used three helpful questions:

  1. Where have you been?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. How will you get there?

I remember when I first came across a process that addressed these questions, I was a third year seminary student.  My instructor, Dr. Gordon Klenck had returned from a 30-year stint as a missionary in Europe.  During his doctoral work at Fuller Seminary he took a course entitled Leadership Emergence Theory from Dr. Robert Clinton.  The material was in the formative stages but the process helped me turn the corner on what I eventually did following graduation and set me on the trajectory that I continue to this day.  The Focused Living Retreat Workbook is a reformulation of that process and does an effective job helping a leader:

  • Look back – Personal Time Line
  • Look forward – Personal Calling Statement
  • Look around – Mentoring plan

I’ve used this resource in a number of different settings with a high degree of effectiveness e.g. graduate leadership courses, small group gatherings and 1-1 coaching.  The process of discerning God’s will is not formulaic, nor is it linear; it is more like spaghetti.  Imagine twirling your fork in a pile of noodles, finding a few that land on your utensils and into your mouth.  This illustrates how the discernment process works.  Once a leader has a sense that she/he is in transition, they begin the journey of twirling their fork.  Going through this process in collaboration with a coach can help a leader move intentionally and fruitfully through a transition period.

What tools have you used to help leaders navigate transitions in their life and ministry?  Please share your ideas below.



Join our mailing list to receive notifications of newly posted blogs. This is the best way to stay up-to-date with InFocus' efforts to keep you moving toward your goals.

You have Successfully Subscribed!