Jeff Meyer
Senior Pastor
the Church

Pastor Jeff Meyer first encountered Lynn Schoener when he was enrolled in a four-year training program sponsored by the Pastoral Leadership Institute. The workshop Lynn presented on how to use coaching in a church setting impressed Jeff. He volunteered to be coached live in front of the rest of the group, as he practiced what he’d learned to coach another attendee. “Lynn had us pick a real issue [to be coached on]. It was so helpful and she was genuinely interested in me,” says Jeff. This experience sold him on the concept of coaching. “Meeting Lynn Schoener was one of those God things. When I find someone I can be blessed by, who can sharpen me, I tap into them as soon as I can,” he says.

It wasn’t long before Jeff hired Lynn to coach him through some challenges he was facing related to staffing at his organization, the Church at Christ Memorial in Madison, Wisconsin. “It was a very difficult situation and I needed help thinking it through,” says Jeff. An associate pastor at the church was not in sync with the goals of the rest of the team and, to complicate matters further, the pastor’s spouse was also a church employee. “It was a convoluted, complete mess. Lynn gave me the courage to do what I knew in my heart I needed to do,” says Jeff.

Jeff later engaged Lynn to facilitate a retreat for his leadership team. It was successful and he next asked if Lynn would work with him on an ongoing basis to create a coaching culture within the church. “Our primary call is to connect people to life in Jesus. I felt that the best way to help people grow in that journey would be to walk along side of them as a coach, to lead from behind, to help them go from where they are to where they want to be with Jesus,” says Jeff.

His goal was to give each member of his team and leaders of the church’s LifeGroups the tools they needed to make every conversation a coaching conversation. In doing so, they would develop the habit of being curious and interested in people, and have meaningful encounters with them. “Connecting people to life in Jesus is done in relationship, one-on-one, and in community,” says Jeff. “It’s not telling them where they should go or who they should be, but walking with them as they discover what God wants for them.”

As of this writing, 14 people of the church have experienced coaching training with Lynn. Jeff says he plans to continue to program indefinitely, calling the approach “mass customization” – reaching the masses, one person at a time. It’s an evolving, organic process. “It develops year by year and I think it’s a life-long partnership,” says Jeff. “There will always be something here to explore, hone, shape, and develop.”

Jeff says the coaching he receives personally from Lynn is extremely beneficial. “I’ve learned how to step back in conversation. Instead of telling people what I think they ought to do – even when they’re craving me telling them – I can ask questions and help them discover for themselves what they want to do,” he says. In addition, Jeff says he’s become more confident, more comfortable in being who he genuinely is, and better able to empower others to use their gifts and talents. “The coaching conversations are never shallow. I’m always surprised and learn something about myself that I wasn’t expecting,” says Jeff.

Change in the leadership team at the church has been significant and noticeable. “They’re growing in confidence and learning how to approach conversations from a coaching perspective, instead of having all the answers for people,” says Jeff. He notes that one of the church’s volunteer LifeGroup leaders, a local business owner, has taken what he’s learned about creating a coaching culture back to his organization and used it in powerful, effective ways. Jeff also appreciates that Lynn continually brings new ideas and concepts to his group and helps them understand and apply new learning with a practical touch. “Our people just love her. They love being around her and they’re excited to have her come up here,” says Jeff.

“Lynn will unlock your potential, and your power to influence and lead where you are called to lead,” says Jeff. “She’ll help you discover yourself, your unique abilities, and she’ll help you get unstuck.” Jeff believes that church leaders should consider stepping out of their boxes and learn to better utilize the gifts of their people, and that working toward a coaching culture is an effective way to do just that. “Lynn is worth every dollar you invest in her,” says Jeff. “Invest in what will help you be better and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

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