Coaching Corner: Finding the Values Behind our Strategies


One of the most challenging aspects of ministry programming can be to deviate from strategies and program elements that already seem to be successful. Why fix what isn't broken? Furthermore, it may seem quite efficient to maintain a certain level of plug and play in our programming. It may even feel like we are working smart by keeping the same programming rhythm. 

Recently, Lesli van Milligen, Regional Catalyzer for Canada East, has been coaching a variety of congregations to help them dig beneath the strategy or programming piece to find the ministry theme or value. Identifying the ministry value helps encourage congregations brainstorm different ways to achieve the same goal, theme, or value.  

In the spring Lesli gathered with Immanuel CRC, Brampton parents, council members, and teens and youth leaders to dream about what the next chapter of youth ministry might look for their congregation. Rather than listing program pieces that they wanted to see maintained they each dreamed of 4-5 possibilities for supporting faith formation in their youth and with facilitation they came up with 7-8 dream goals, with 5-8 supporting strategies under each, creating a strong sense of communal consensus about where they would like to head in the next year or so. Some beloved youth activities showed up on lists with other similar newer activities giving the group a sense of adaptability to new ways to lean into ministry dreams and outcomes.

Lesli did a similar activity with Palmerston CRC in Ontario. She gathered with the council to imagine new ways to support their 5 year plan. Rather than simply raising the number of times the group repeated previously successful strategies, she encouraged them to think of other strategies that would support the goals and that would be disruptive enough to bring new energy to the congregation.

Faith Formation Ministries provides congregational faith formation leaders the opportunity to meet in-person or connect digitally or by phone with members of our team and other ministry leaders for coaching and support. Whether it’s a one-time, one-on-one conversation or a long-term peer group, we are here to help. For more information about our regional catalyzer, visit!

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