Led by Clergy Coach Coordinator Laurie J. Ferguson—a licensed clinical psychologist, certified coach, organizational consultant, and ordained minister—a team of “clergy coaches” will work alongside each cohort of participants, providing ongoing support and direction to attendees as they determine how best to connect the curriculum into their own story, call and context. Apart from the on-site conversations during the seminars, participants will take part in regularly scheduled check-in calls with the rest of their cohort, led by the leadership coach.
We believe this kind of intentional coaching is critical, since recent studies suggest that women may not be thriving in ministry at rates equal to male clergy. A 2015 survey of thousands of pastors conducted by the Barna Group and Pepperdine University indicated differing trends between men and women on certain markers of vocational satisfaction. While women and men were just as likely to say that they feel motivated to become a better leader and feel well-supported by people close to them, women were far less likely to say they often feel energized by the work of ministry, and were far more likely than men to say that that they often feel lonely or isolated from others, and that they feel emotionally or mentally exhausted. This gap is especially significant because such feelings of isolation and exhaustion are prime markers of clergy burnout.