Vivian Coleman is a follower of Jesus, and an ordained Presbyterian minister; between 2009 and 2015 she was seconded to a pastoral role at a Baptist church in Auckland. She recently completed a Master of Business at AUT where her thesis topic was Performance Management of Clergy in NZ Presbyterian and Baptist churches. She is now self-employed as a ministry coach, an all-encompassing term that covers leading services and supervising pastors, resourcing discipleship training and writing about management in the church. She is married to Ric, an Auckland GP, and they have four children and seven grandchildren.
The notion of a 'godshaped' life comes from Eugene Peterson's Message translation of Proverbs 11:28 and references a life both shaped by God and reflecting God's character, best seen in the person of Jesus Christ.
In July 2017, I visited a Catholic charismatic community in Fulda, Germany, and enjoyed the generous hospitality of their guest house, a former US Army barracks. One of the sisters talked with me about sharing your life with others. In response to the question, “what is the hardest part of being in community?”, she responded that it was the self-awareness and needed growth it provokes. “Its like looking at yourself in a mirror every day,” she said. “You learn what you are really like and the Holy Spirit helps you become a better person”.
"Community is the place of belonging .... of acceptance .....of caring. It is a place of growth in love....... Community leads to openness and acceptance of others.”
Jean Vanier 'Community and Growth' (1989)
Although the call to ministry in general may still be strong, sometimes there are cues to the fact that the relationship is becoming fragile or unsustainable.
My Celtic ''pastoral tie' graphic is an attempt to present the dynamics of a call in visual form.
Rev Viv has been considering the nature of a conversation seeking to discern God's will:
Good listening often makes for good conversations, but what models do we use when we seek to discern God's will or "yearnng", together? Do we rely on the rules of debate, or other principles from the business world, or do we look to the Bible, prayerful listening and the discernment practices used over the centuries to guide us? In the third in this series on healthy conversations, Viv shares a framework developed by Danny Morris and Charles Olsen in their book Discerning God’s Will Together: a spiritual practice for the church.