Claire Banham is a licensed lay reader and a Youth and Children’s Minister (for the past 9 years) who currently works for St Helen’s, Wheathampstead and St Peter’s, Gustard Wood. She also works as a Youth Minister for the 267 project, a local charity, who support local churches with their Children and Youth work over the past 4 years.
About 18 months ago as a church community they asked themselves the question, “How do we serve the families in the community in a more relaxed and fun way”and so started a fresh expression called Teatime Church (which does what it says on the tin) this group meets for tea at the local school, offering a different way of being together meeting both childrens’ and parents’ needs. This has proved to be a real adventure of a journey, and Claire has spent time considering ways in which they could resource themselves. Over a year ago she came across the RNP team and was interested in finding out more about the Transforming Conversations course that was being offered.
She was encouraged that this course would resource and equip her to have more fruitful and useful conversations, which have proved really good for this style of church, which is all about sitting round a table, listening to each other and doing life together, this course helps to get beyond those fluffy conversations and begins to tackle some of the real thorny conversations about life. She has been really encouraged to see God’s power of transformation, seeing the way God can help people move on and see change.
She will whole heartedly say that this is the best piece of training that she has ever done. It makes a lot of sense – it resonanted with her. It is structured to give 2 days of training and then a space of a month to allow things to settle, huge amounts to re-thinking about how you do conversations has to be percolated and about a month later you do another 2 days. The way she describes it is that; “it’s like I put on a really comfy pair of slippers, it really fitted the way I think and the way I like working with people, it is really respectful and equips you with the skills to have a coaching conversation working with the assumption that the other person has the resources they need to make the change, you are there to facilitae their thinking and to help them get to the point where they can see what they need to do next”. She believes, along with Claire Pedrick (3D coaching) that this way of working is so much more powerful as the change is more likely to take place if the person involved comes up with idea themselves.
This training has helped her with her ministry as she has been able to put it into practice straight away, as part of her work with 267 where she supports youth workers and childrens workers from all around the area. They have been enabled to wrestle through some of the challenges they are facing and it has helped them to set strategies and come up with next steps to take. Coaching is a brilliant tool to do this.
She has a number of people who she sees regularly, and has found this style of coaching a fantastic way to be able to support them. Claire says; “It really encourages them to look at the situation and when you get that lightbulb moment it is wonderful to see, it is all about resourcing and supporting people in their work, it helps the deep thinking that is needed for inspirational youth and childrens work and it is really useful when we have someone to think it through with.
“I love what I do. I was aware that there was a part of me that was looking for a new challenge, this came along at the right time, I could see the benefit this would be to myself and to others, and I knew I wanted to take it further. I have carried it on and am now taking other modules and working towards accreditation to be a registered coach. It is so exciting to have new things to learn”.
Claire recently got involved through the RNP team with Action Learning Set faciliation – group working. Having received this extra training Claire is now helping to facilitate 2 new learning communities for leaders from all different ministries connected with RNP within the local area. This is enabling leaders to bring their issues, challenges and ideas to the group, and as a group we help each other to wrestle with those and find the next steps. It is really rewarding and challenging work.
I am wondering what God has in store with the coaching as it now develops, and we also recognise that as a team Teatime Church need to plug into RNP more deeply to wrestle with some of the really tough questions that we are facing.
I am thinking that probably we need someone else to come in and do some coaching with us now. We need to address how we do worship in a way that feels authentic and not false or forced and is appropriate for the people coming to Teatime Church. We want to avoid the ackward factor. We have all the thorny issues and run of the mill issues that come with setting up a new community that we need to think through too.