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:
- Where have you been?
- Where are you going?
- 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.