Coaching Academy prepares leaders from mainline denominations for congregational transformation

INDIANAPOLIS — Church leaders gathered in Indianapolis May 17-19 for the first annual Coaching Academy hosted by Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation’s ecumenical services. The event brought together clergy and lay leaders from four mainline denominations to train a team of coaches that will walk alongside congregational leadership in the final phase of Hope Partnership’s transformation services.

“Coaching is a vital part of the transformation process,” says Rick Morse, vice president of Hope Partnership. “Time and time again, we’ve seen that coaching helps congregations live into their bold decisions and embrace their new ministries feeling supported and not alone.”

The three-day event featured coaching demonstrations, in-depth training on coaching procedures and best practices, and educational sessions with keynote speaker Robert E. Logan. Logan is the founder of Logan Leadership and co-author with Sherilyn Carlton of Coaching 101: Discover the Power of Coaching.

Coaching Academy is the second training event held by Hope Partnership under the groundbreaking ecumenical collaboration announced earlier this year by the church extension funds of four mainline Protestant denominations: Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

The collaboration brings together the extension funds’ network of experts, decades of experiences, and the best of their programs and services to support congregations undergoing transformative visioning processes. The collaboration developed over several years, as extension fund leaders realized they had a shared vision to better support struggling churches. It provides congregations with an expanded portfolio products and services, including leadership coaching, demographic research, and comprehensive transformation services.

Kedron Nicholson, Coaching Academy participant and Episcopal priest, knows what it is like to be in a local church and need help. “We knew we couldn’t keep doing the same thing, but we couldn’t see something else yet,” remembers Nicholson. “So many churches are asking: but what can we do differently? Hope Partnership helps churches listen to the Spirit and find an answer.”

Gilberto Collazo, president of Hope Partnership, says, “We believe that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to doing life-giving mission. God calls each church to do ministry with its community as is needed in a particular time and place.” Hope Partnership’s approach respects the uniqueness of every congregation – and denomination – and builds on assets within a specific context. The newly expanded network of trained facilitators and coaches includes clergy and lay leaders from each of the four participating denominations.

For a full list of trained Hope Partnership assessors, facilitators and coaches by denomination, visit:


 Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation supports congregations through leadership development services that equip clergy and lay leaders to lead in insightful, invigorated and innovative ways. It offers four main programs, including: (1) New Beginnings, a six-month facilitated and coached process for congregations struggling with financial and membership sustainability; (2) Epiphany, a one-year facilitated and coached process for churches already at equilibrium to imagine and live into their future ministry story; (3) Mission Pathways, an individualized, three-month self-guided service for healthy congregations looking at new ways to do ministry; and, (4) Recasting, a one-year process that brings together groups of congregations for the creativity, motivation, and accountability that occurs when meeting in community, as they form and launch their own options for sustainability and ministry. To learn more about Hope Partnership, visit

Photo caption: Church leaders from four mainline denominations gathered in Indianapolis May 17-19 for the first annual Coaching Academy hosted by Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation's ecumenical services.