Pastoral Leadership Revitalization Program
The Pastoral Leadership Revitalization (PLR) program, made possible by a three-year grant, has begun. Fourteen pastors and commissioned pastors from the presbyteries of Central Nebraska, Missouri River Valley and Missouri Union have been trained to be coaching mentors. A coaching mentor is a hybrid of a coach and a mentor. Our coaching mentors have the coaching skills to empower people to find their own answers. They have the mentoring skills to draw on their experiences as pastors to be guides to other pastors. Currently, the coaching mentors (CMs) are continuing their training through monthly training sessions with a certified coach from Coach Training for Leaders.
Pastors who will receive coaching are being recruited in the three presbyteries. As of the end of June, 24 pastors and CPs have accepted our invitation to be in the PLR program. We anticipate another eight to ten will also participate.
In addition to coaching, all the participating pastors will attend retreats designed both for education and for rejuvenation. Retreats by presbytery are being planned for this fall:
- Missouri Union participants will gather at The Heartland Center, in Kansas City, Nebraska, September 15-18, 2019. The retreat theme will be “Navigating the Landscape of Rural Ministry.”
- Participants from Missouri River Valley will go to the Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska, for a retreat on “Holistic Care,” October 7-10, 2019.
- The Central Nebraska participants will enjoy gathering at the Leadership Center in Aurora, Nebraska. The theme of this retreat is “What I Wish I’d Learned in Seminary.”
All three retreats will have daily worship services, and a spiritual director available to all participants, to nurture the spiritual needs of our participants.
PLR is expanding beyond these three presbyteries. Brent Johnston, a member of the OPSF Board of Directors, saw the need for this program in the Presbytery of Southern Kansas. Because of funding available in that presbytery, three pastors have been trained to be CMs. We are currently inviting rural Kansas pastors to receive coaching. Because of the grant received from the Nebraska Presbyterian Foundation (please see more information on the home page), we are inviting Nebraska pastors and CPs in Homestead and Plains and Peaks Presbyteries to be a part of PLR.
As a member of the board for the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation and the Pastoral Leadership Revitalization Steering Committee, I can affirm without question that the Coach / Mentor training I have received has been among the most effective, useful and hope-inducing continuing education of my vocational life.
The training and the follow-up support have fed the mind and the spirit. I am confident that the Pastoral Revitalization Program will yield great benefits for the coaches and the mentees. I am also confident this program will yield great benefits for the churches being served by the coaches and the mentees. This is a program and ministry that has been needed in the church for a long time, and I rejoice that it is available and that I have been blessed to participate.
Rev. Rick Sleyster
Pastor, First Presbyterian Churches of Essex & Shenandoah, Iowa
The Rev. Becky Balestri is the Program Manager for the PLR Program.
Becky has served as installed pastor for two congregations and as interim for three congregations. After 28 years of ordained ministry, Becky understands the needs and hopes of pastors. She has also worked with a spiritual director for more than 10 years, and with a coach for three-plus years. She has experienced in her own life the benefits of these relationships. Becky is excited to be part of this new venture in ministry!