Most of us have had the experience of attending a conference and feeling excited to lead transformation in our communities — only to have that excitement dissipate as the daily demands of ministry set in. NEXT Steps Coaching is a new initiative designed to support leaders as they shepherd their communities through real and lasting change.

Coaching is a one-on-one or group relationship that helps individuals identify goals and develop a strategy for meeting those goals. A coach’s job is to listen deeply, ask powerful questions, and help clients deal with the internal and external barriers that get in the way of their own effectiveness, fruitfulness, or joy.

A study featured in Public Personnel Management Journal reports that managers who underwent a training program showed an increased effectiveness of 22%, but those who were coached following the training increased their effectiveness by 88%. NEXT Steps Coaching helps leaders bridge the gap between intention and action.

Surviving and Thriving: Adaptive Leadership Learning Communities

An Opportunity for Church Leaders

A joint effort by NEXT Church and MaryAnn McKibben Dana

When: Six Weeks, beginning Thursday, May 14th, 2-3:30pm eastern / 11am-12:30pm pacific, 2nd and 4th Thursdays
Where: Zoom
Who: Church leaders. 6-9 participants to maximize learning, interaction, and accountability.
How much: $300 registration fee. Be in touch with Jessica Tate if cost is a barrier.

“Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.”

All of us are learning what life looks like as we worship and serve during a global pandemic. Already we are wondering what of this new way of being we will take with us into a faithful and creative future as the pandemic subsides.

How can we avoid the pitfalls of going back to “normal”? How will we do this work sustainably, exercising care and kindness toward ourselves and others? How do we — as the church — move from survival mode to one of thriving, even as the situation around us is devastatingly challenging?

MaryAnn McKibben Dana, a pastor, speaker, and Associate Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation, is facilitating group coaching cohorts to engage these and related questions. We will work with tools of adaptive leadership, design thinking, and improvisation. Participants will learn from one another, develop individual goals and plans, and support one another in a spirit of accountability.


Coaching Directory

Check out our coaching directory for a list of coaches who are familiar with the mission and values of NEXT Church.


NEXT Steps Leadership Cohort

A group coaching cohort with a specific content focus, featuring monthly online group coaching sessions.

More Details

Individual Coaching

Coaching Directory

Check out our coaching directory for a list of coaches. These individuals are familiar with the mission and values of NEXT Church, typically through attending at least one National Gathering. They also have or are actively seeking accreditation through a recognized coaching credentialing organization. As a prospective client, you are encouraged to contact these coaches directly; NEXT Church is not involved with funding, nor with vetting these coaches, other than as stated above.

Group Coaching

NEXT Steps Leadership Cohort

“A circle of accountability.”
“A focus on step-by-step action.”
“The space to be strategic.”
“Collaborative problem solving.”
-Feedback from the pilot group of the NEXT Steps Leadership Cohort

Drawing on our network of trained ministry coaches, the NEXT Steps Leadership Cohort will feature six monthly group coaching sessions, plus individual coaching sessions for each participant.

Coaching focuses on powerful questions that draw out participants’ own insights, helping them get unstuck and take meaningful action toward change. The group coaching model adds an additional layer of wisdom and accountability — participants mentor and coach one another. Join us as we spend time “on the balcony,” tending to the important adaptive work of ministry, not just the everyday urgencies.

  • Groups begin in September 2019 and run monthly through February 2020 — six months total. Each group session will be co-facilitated by two trained and credentialed coaches affiliated with NEXT Church.
  • Group sessions are 90 minutes and take place via Zoom video. Each session will have a specific focus, based on NEXT Church’s collective wisdom of what makes for strong leadership.
  • Groups will have between 6-10 people.
  • Individual sessions are 45-50 minutes and are scheduled at the coach’s and participant’s convenience, via Zoom or phone.
  • Total cost: $550, which may be paid in two installments (the first up front and the second due Jan 31).
Focus Options

1. Nurturing a Culture of Adaptive Leadership for Sessions and Boards – LeAnn Hodges & Alex McNeill

Topics will include:

  • What is your strategic intelligence? Identifying your leadership style.
  • Equipping lay leadership: Leading from a place of abundance and humility.
  • Setting a group culture: Aligning purpose with process.
  • The art of getting the right people in the room: Nominating and onboarding new members.
  • Pay attention to power: Power dynamics and the impact on group culture.
  • How to run a life-giving meeting: Getting it done while having fun.

Date/Time: third Thursdays from 2-3:30pm eastern, starting Sept 19

LeAnn Hodges is the pastor of Oaklands Presbyterian Church in Laurel, Maryland, a member of National Capital Presbytery’s Transformation Team, and is one step away from completing the requirements to be an ICF certified leadership coach.

Alex Patchin McNeill is the Executive Director of More Light Presbyterians, a faith organization working for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in churches and communities nationwide. Alex is a trained coach through the ICF and coaches with a particular focus on strategic and transformational change.

2. Leadership Essentials for the Church That Is Becoming – MaryAnn McKibben Dana & Martha Spong

Topics will include:

  • Technical and adaptive leadership
  • Creating a learning culture — evaluation that transforms
  • Coaching leaders for change
  • Honoring and disrupting
  • Resistance to change
  • Leadership for the long haul — self-care, play, balancing short and long-term thinking

Date/Time: second Wednesdays from 2-3:30 eastern, starting Sept 11

MaryAnn McKibben Dana is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coach Federation; an author, speaker, and free-range pastor; and a former co-chair of NEXT Church.

Martha Spong is an Associate Certified Coach (ICF), executive director of RevGalBlogPals, and co-author of Denial is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith).

Yena K. Hwang (M.Div. 1997 and M.A.M.F.T. 2006) is the Associate Pastor for Christian Formation at Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia. She received coaching training with the Holmes Coaching Group through the National Capital Presbytery and is working towards ICF certification process.