Hello, everyone. Michael Godfrey here, founder and Executive Director of True Course Ministries, where for the last 17 years we have served clergy and congregations who want to be more, see more, and achieve more that matters in service to God and his kingdom. You’re receiving the link to this video because you are a supporter of True Course Ministries, you are a recipient of the ministry of True Course, or you have experienced my personal ministry in the past before True Course ever existed.
The Purpose of this Video
The purpose in this video is to simply say “Thank You.” It always seems like too little, but thank you to our supporters and donors who gave so generously to True Course as a response to the March 2020 appeal.
Serving During the Pandemic
During the first few months of the Coronavirus pandemic, with its mammoth logistical and emotional challenges, True Course Ministries offered the services of mentoring, coaching, and support to church staffs at no cost to them or their congregations. A number of them took advantage of the offer for one or multiple sessions.
This offer still stands since the COVID-19 crisis is not over and, at this time, it seems to be intensifying in the United States. Because of your indispensable support, we have served church staff members during this time without reservation and we are ready to do more.
Broader Relationships and Work
True Course Ministries, Inc serves clergy and congregations. True Course Living, Learning, Leading, LLC, a for-profit business, serves executives and organizations. Both of these organizations are held under the assumed name of True Course Life & Leadership Development. So, during this time, I’m involved in supporting business leaders as well as clergy. And I share this with you because, though each setting is unique, the leaders we serve, both clergy and professionals, have very similar needs. If you will, let me offer you just two issues I see and how we address them.
Issues I’m Seeing Now: Adequate Equipping
The first issue is Adequate Equipping. Every leader wants to do an outstanding job but they run into obstacles including a lack of training, skill deficits, and sometimes even themselves. No leader wants to admit a deficit or a need, especially in the heat of a crisis like this one. Many assume that if a person has a particular position, then they have the training needed for it. This is seldom true, especially in the area of soft-skills. I regularly encounter people who assume that clergy receive all the administrative leadership and supervision training they need in their seminary experience. We may also assume that business leaders receive such training in their business schools. Not so. If there is training, it is most often one general leadership course with no soft-skills training. Leaders need support in these areas where they’ve had little or no training such as crisis management, crisis communication, change management, problem-solving on a huge scale, or soft-skills training (especially people skills). This knowledge and these skills are essential in times like these if the leader is to avoid running from fire to fire to extinguish the flames.
Issues I’m Seeing Now: Stress Management
The second issue is Stress Management. In any crisis, in any organization, there is a need for a calm, rational, non-anxious, third-party support for the leader. The unfamiliar and the unknown are regular features in our days, and their intensity is unprecedented for us. In the presence of the unfamiliar and the unknown, our brain reacts to protect us by shifting resources to the fight, flight or freeze response. This response may vary in intensity from person to person and from instance to instance.
A natural and normal physiological consequence of our brain reactively shifting these resources to protection is that resources are shifted away from rational, critical thought and thus our perspective and rational capabilities become severely limited. The focus becomes survival and a quick fix. I describe this as being like looking through a drinking straw. Our ability to take in data, assess the data critically, see the bigger picture, make great decisions, and communicate well with others is greatly diminished. Our interest in a quick resolution of the threat can lead to decisions that have real potential for poor outcomes for the future. Church leaders are in this situation right now. If you know those who could benefit from support and a listening ear, send them my way.
Addressing the Issues
Support available from True Course can help reduce the reactive stress and help leaders make the best decisions they can for the welfare of their local ministry and their congregations. You have helped make this possible for those who will take advantage of it and I thank you on their behalf and mine from the bottom of my heart.
A Book Recommendation
Now this book was recommended to me by a friend and I recommend it to you. The title is, “When Narcissism Comes to Church.” This issue is more prevalent among leadership than ever before, and this author cites a 2009 study that showed incidences of narcissism had more than doubled in the prior ten years in churches. We all have some of these tendencies in us and I certainly recognize mine. I’ve also had my share of what the author calls “narcissism’s ugly bite” and I continue to process the aftermath of that on a daily basis. I also see it a great deal in my work with individual clergy and I see it in church systems as well. This book comes out of the vast experience in diagnosing and treating the issue in clergy. The presentation is balanced, compassionate, practical, and deeply spiritual. I get no compensation for promoting it, but I anticipate recommending it freely in the future.
Thank You for Giving this Time to Visit
Thank you so much for taking this time to spend with me, and I pray that you will stay well and I pray that God blesses you.