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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Coaching Diversity

By Christina Quick
June 30, 2013

New Mexico is rich with culture, and the Assemblies of God churches scattered throughout the state reflect this diversity.

Nearly half the state’s population claims Hispanic descent, and another 10 percent are of Native American ancestry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 100,000 residents of New Mexico belong to the Navajo Nation, the largest U.S. Indian tribe.

“We have a lot of native churches here, as well as a large number of congregations ministering to the Hispanic demographic,” says Bryan Pettet, a U.S. missionary for Assemblies of God Intercultural Ministries. “Other churches are a mix of all the different cultures.”

In such an environment, Pettet says, it’s crucial to establish relationships and open lines of communication. Pettet, who also serves as assistant to the superintendent of the New Mexico Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, is a liaison between the district leadership and these diverse congregations. He coordinates a coaching team to help each church advance its mission.

“I work with the very smallest churches, the largest churches, and everything in between,” Pettet says. “We’re dealing with all kinds of cultures and communities. There’s an element of flexibility required.”

Pettet and his team have already guided 80 percent of the district’s churches through a two-year coaching process. Pettet helps those in each congregation articulate and understand their community, local mission field, vision, purposes and values.

“My job is to ask good questions and listen well,” Pettet says. “I want to give these churches more tools and more knowledge so they can move forward with the work God has called them to do.”

Pettet also provides more personalized coaching for pastors and churches, helping them navigate a variety of challenges and crises.

Previously, Pettet spent seven years in Alaska as a U.S. missionary to indigenous people. He says that experience helped prepare him for working with church leaders from a variety of backgrounds.

“No matter who they are, people want to feel they’re being heard,” Pettet says. “They want communication, support and understanding. Whether it’s a church on the edge of closing or a congregation trying to figure out how to achieve a dream, a coach can be there to help them work through it.”

Pettet says the business world has utilized professional coaches for decades. He says coaching differs from counseling in its emphasis on future development.

“Counseling focuses more on the past,” Pettet says. “We’re helping churches find ways to move forward. To stay in one place means losing influence and growing stagnant.”

Pettet also coordinates special events, such as statewide missions tours, church and ministry development seminars, and Ministry Network Conferences. These events help bring together leaders from the district’s 97 churches for training, ministry and relationship building.

“We’re creating bridges and tearing down walls to create a ministry culture that promotes healthy churches,” Pettet says.

CHRISTINA QUICK is a freelance writer and former Pentecostal Evangel staff writer. She attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Mo.


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