The Church Futures Commission (CFC) supports and offers resources to churches in the Penn Central Conference in
discerning their opportunities and challenges so they may confidently move into God’s future for them. CFC offers help
through seminars, workshops, resources, consulting and coaching. Beginning in 2024, CFC can also provide grant money
to help churches with financial needs.
Upcoming Seminars and Workshops
- Fall Workshop – “Exploring the options.” Date coming
- Spring Workshop – “Grant writing for government funding.” Date coming
Consultants offer their expertise to help a group move forward in a more directive manner than coaches. A list of
consultants and their specialties is currently being created.
Coaching in various capacities is available for all churches. To explore whether coaching might be a good option for
you or your church, contact Mike Gibbs @ email@example.com to get started.
What is Coaching?
The International Coaching Federation defines coaching as: partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and
creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.
The Core Components of Coaching
Client driven – The client, in collaboration with the coach, defines the goals to be achieved and
the topics to be explored, creating the dynamic and flexible nature to the coach approach which empowers the client,
and holds them accountable to identifying and addressing their most salient issues.
Holistic Minded – Coaching addresses the whole client, from values to limiting beliefs, from head to
heart, from action oriented to reflective thought, so that through greater personal and environmental awareness the
client is enabled to access their best wisdom and resources.
Growth Oriented – Through a discovery mindset, the coaching process creates a rich environment for
new insights, dynamic perspective taking, and action steps that move the client towards the achievement of their
Strategic Accountability – Coaching facilitates the development of SMART (strategic, measurable,
attainable, realistic, timely) action steps and the follow-up to those action steps in ways that supports greater
growth, insight, maturity, and effectiveness.
Types of Coaching
Individual Coaching – Personalized coaching for clergy and lay leaders during times of transition,
development and implementation of new initiatives, desire for an intentional thought partner, traversing sensitive or
crisis situations, or other times in which you are seeking to harness your best decision making and leadership skills.
Individual coaching can also be paired with Team or Group Coaching to enhance personal growth and clarity.
Team Coaching – Coaching for intact teams, committees, and boards supports team development,
synergy, effectiveness, clarity and focus while drawing out the giftedness of individual members and the team as a
whole in the pursuit of the team’s shared goal and/or challenge. By adding individual coaching for the team leader,
the benefits of coaching become more fully ingrained in the ongoing work of the team.
Group Coaching – Coaching cohorts of clergy or lay leaders who share a common focus, goal, or
challenge, but who minister in different settings provides opportunities for focused and intentional conversations
that bring diversity of thought, perspective, and wisdom which enhances one’s own decision making, leadership, and
creativity in problem solving. More than a great conversation, group coaching facilitates goal-oriented outcomes and
forward movement from each conversation. By adding individual coaching, participants can go deeper and further with
their own ministry setting.
- Congregation/Leadership Assessments
- Addressing Vitality and Viability
- Strategic Planning
- Leadership development
- Lay Leaders
- Beginninga New Ministry
- Shared Ministry Best Practices
- Health of current structures
- Challenges/changes due to growth or decline
- Grant Writing
- Inhouse money from CFC
- Outside grants
- Endings and Beginnings (LegacyHelp)
“An Adventure with God and Willingness to Work Hard”
Bruce Bouchard: St. Jacob’s Stone
Have you ever wondered how to make your church grow? How do you activate the members? How do you take great ideas
that you might have heard at a workshop or read in books and put them to work?
I had asked those same questions and come up with a lot of ideas, but just could not seem to give them traction.
Someone suggested that our congregation ask a church coach to help us to move forward.
The coach did not tell us what to do. Instead, he asked us questions about the barriers we saw to working at our
church’s purposes. Together we worked through those challenges and we found that we had little successes that built
upon each other and that grew over time.
Through this process, we discovered as a congregation that we had a faith that made a difference in our lives. We
wanted to share it. We wanted to reach out into our community with programs and events that made a difference.
It took a few years, but we grew our worship attendance by a third, added a contemporary worship service, and raised
money and engaged with organizations that helped those in need in our community. We are grateful that we had the
opportunity to work with a coach and would highly recommend it for those willing to work hard and join God on an
Members of the Commission
Mike Gibbs, Chair
Dr. Gibbs is a retired educator with 39 years of experience as a teacher, school administrator, and consultant. Mike holds a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Leadership from the University of Maryland, and has a special interest in the dynamics of change within organizations. Mike is a member of Mt. Zion United Church of Christ in York, PA. He began his service to Penn Central Conference as a member of the Congregational Vitality Team and as coach in the former Road to Vitality program. Since then he has continued his service to the conference as a member of the Board of Directors, Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, and Chair of the Search and Call team for an Associate Conference Minister, and he is currently involved with the Keystone Project.
Mike was a coordinator for the conference's Congregation Empowerment Team through which he has helped to train the conference's cadre of coaches as well as having provided workshops and coaching services to church leadership teams and individual pastors. His coaching experiences have tended to focus on mission and vision development, strategic planning, and governance issues.
Bruce has served as a pastor in the conference since 1984 and is currently the interim pastor for St. Jacob's Stone. For the last three years, Bruce has been part of the Conference Congregational Empowerment Team that has trained a team of coaches and presented a number of workshops to help churches move into the future that God has in store for them. Bruce brings to the Church Futures Commission a significant experience. He knows the importance of having a church coach. The church he served has a church coach. He says, "Our church coach, Bruce Conrad, asked us very important questions. These questions helped us to find our God given purpose as a congregation. We were able to move forward to accomplishing many goals that we discovered in seeking to fulfill it. Members of the congregation came to have a deeper faith. They were more comfortable sharing it with others. It also motivated us to want to reach out and help others in need. Church attendance grew by thirty percent. We added a new contemporary worship service in addition to the traditional one.”
Sue received her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in Workforce Education and Development with an emphasis in leadership development/organization development. She is a member of Faith UCC, State College, PA. and has served in various leadership roles within the church; most recently she serves as President of Faith's Consistory. As a champion of change and people, Sue has focused her career on helping people and organizations thrive. As an educator, trainer, consultant, she has gained experience and wisdom not only from her work, but more importantly from the people and organizations she serves. As she has navigated the world of change in organizations and the impact on people, she understands how successful organizational development and change management practices contribute to organizational excellence and success.
Pastor Ken is pastor of St. John's Center UCC in East Earl, PA. He has served two other churches in his 35 years of authorized ministry (MA and NE). As an authorized minister he has been active in all settings in association, conference, and denominational work. Pastor Ken is a graduate of Gordon College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is also an Executive Christian Coach (through Coach Approach Ministries). For the conference, Pastor Ken was coaching with the Congregational Empowerment Team and is now working with the Church Futures Commission. Pastor Ken works as an Associate for Search and Call; and, he is on the Conference Fitness Review Team.
An International Coaching Federation trained coach, Joe's coach approach facilitates growth and achievement in ways that enhance long-term success across a diversity of initiatives for groups and individuals. Skilled at connecting with a wide range of people, Joe readily draws out strengths, gets to the heart of the matter, identifies limiting beliefs, expands thinking, while establishing the clarity needed for forward movement. As an ordained minister, Joe is highly regarded for his leadership, ability to build community-based partnerships, and attention to detail. His ministry experience includes serving as a solo minister of a small-town congregation, and an associate pastor of a large suburban congregation.
Joe currently serves as the designated term pastor of Bausman Memorial UCC in the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference. Joe's congregational skill set includes: administrative management, change implementation, stewardship, evangelism, visioning, mission development, and conflict resolution.
Sue is currently pastoring Salem UCC Harrisburg. With her husband, Dan, Sue has been part of 2 church plants, as well as pastoring internationally in Costa Rica and Chile. She is a certified MBTI practitioner, and loves to see people finding their gifts to create healthy church bodies.
David has served as the pastor at St. John's United Church of Christ in Red Lion (York Association) for over 20 years. Over the years David has engaged in leadership in both local and international partnerships to foster missional connections. In recent years St. John's has engaged in several types of mutual ministry with other churches, both informing and challenging the congregation to reflect on their core values. David has served the wider church as a PCC (York Association) delegate to General Synod, and for many years on the Worship Ministries Planning Team and the Annual Meeting Planning Team of the PCC. David took the Interim Ministry Network's training for intentional interim ministry at the outset of his current pastorate. David will bring all of these ministry experiences to bear as a member of the Church Futures Commission.