Coaching Corner: Canoeing the Mountains Workshop on Adaptive Leadership

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Faith Formation Ministries's coaches engage in many different ministry activities in their regions, including discerning when a region would be blessed by flying in a speaker to engage on a topic close to people’s hearts.

On Sept 22, 140 congregational leaders gathered in Brampton, ON for an all day workshop led by LA-based Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains. Faith Formation Ministries’s Eastern Canada catalyzer, Rev. Lesli Van Milligen, organized the workshop (even though Bolsinger had led an all day workshop for Ontario leaders just 5 months earlier). “I could tell that Canoeing the Mountains was scratching a deep itch,” Lesli noted, “so I was excited when Tod told me he was able to come again.” The strong registration confirmed Lesli’s discernment. Two congregations from the Canadian Maritimes even flew a team in to attend the workshop.

The premise of the book is simple: using the Lewis and Clark expedition as a metaphor, Bolsinger notes that these two explorers were mandated to find a water route to the Pacific, but as they came to the headwaters of the Missouri in Montana, they were surprised to discover the Rockies lay between them and the Pacific Ocean. They soon realized their canoes were useless in crossing the Rockies, and they needed to learn new methods of navigation. Similarly, says Bolsinger, the church is in unfamiliar territory and needs to learn new methods of spiritual leadership. Bolsinger’s work is resonating deeply throughout the CRC, perhaps for two reasons:

  1. more and more CRC congregations are recognizing that our context requires fresh navigation methods, and
  2. Bolsinger is also rooted in the Reformed tradition as a Presbyterian working out of Fuller Seminary.

The Faith Formation Ministries team is able to host a wide variety of workshops. Contact us if you see one that would bless your region.

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 crcna.org/FaithFormation/coaching!

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