Our church recently had a Visioning Workshop led by Rev Tom Barlow.  It was all day Saturday and Sunday after church until 5 0’clock.  Most of us were not looking forward to a workshop telling us how good secular leadership could help our church, and fortunately that is NOT what we got.  Rev Barlow started with prayer asking for God’s discernment and asked throughout the weekend for God’s leading.

Everyone I have talked with was moved by how Rev Barlow asked for God to lead us and we all felt that is exactly what happened.  By Sunday afternoon we had a statement of our Core Values, our Mission Statement and our Vision Statement.

I would really encourage all churches to go through this process with Rev. Barlow.  He allows God to lead him and the members of the workshop to a clear understanding of what God wants for each particular congregation.  Each congregation has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Only The Holy Spirit can sustain a spiritually healthy congregation, but when we lose sight of our core values, mission and vision we stagnate.

The body of Christ is us and we need to keep Christ at the head and not allow ourselves to become complacent in a world that is so very much in need of Christ’s healing and grace.  We need to stand up for our beliefs in a strong and loving way.  To fill the need for compassion and comfort in a hurting world where only God can lead us into His way.  He told us to be His messengers and I don’t feel we are doing that as earnestly as we should.

~Joy May Anselmo

Working with Kim Shockley was an indispensable part of building up my leadership skill and transforming my congregations. Kim brings great wisdom and experience that cannot be easily replicated. I would highly recommend working with a coach like Kim to anyone who is serious about bringing new life and vitality to their church.

~Rev. Jeremy Scott, Chair of Congregational Development, Yellowstone Conference of the United Methodist Church

Rev. Tom Barlow’s visioning seminar excites lay-church leaders and secular not-for-profit boards to see beyond themselves to better define who their church or organization can and will become in the future.  At both my small church setting, and for the board of directors of a 21 church association dedicated to helping people raise themselves out of poverty, leaders were energized to see the future and develop processes to make their visions realities.  In both instances the “buzz” created by Tom’s consultations has continued for over two years.

~Rev. Rick Carpenter

I have had the privilege of working with Kim Shockley as my clergy coach for the past two years. During our time together, we have met both face to face at my office and on Skype after she moved to another city. I appreciate that Kim listens carefully and is able to discern quickly what is going on in my local church situations. Her knowledge of the strengths and characteristics of vital congregations in a variety of settings is extensive and has been tremendously helpful in our work together. I have found her guidance in all matters of ministry to be clear and on target. At the end of each hour long session, I come away with practical next steps and helpful action plans for my ministry and/or for the congregation I serve. The bishop of the conference of which I am a member has strongly urged all clergy to work with a coach to strengthen our effectiveness as pastors and church leaders. My experience with Kim differs from my interaction with colleagues in my covenant group. It also differs from working with a therapist and spiritual director, though sometimes matters in each of those areas may be touched upon. Kim closes our sessions with prayer and with the assurance of continuing prayer support. I strongly encourage anyone seeking a clergy coach to consider Kim Shockley. I highly recommend her.

~Rev. Cherie Parker

Tom Barlow’s training seminars are fascinating, relevant, successful, and fun! The visioning session united us and set our focus on achievable goals. People attended that first session out of curiosity. They attended the follow-up leadership training because they didn’t want to miss out on it. Tom’s training ignited the growth process in our congregation and was foundational to the increase in membership and in personal and church-wide commitment. I’ve never seen such spirit, such vitality.

~Mary Ann, Lay Leader

Through the coaching relationship with Kim Shockley, I was able to see new opportunities which previously I had experienced as hitting a wall. Our ministry opened up and new, exciting initiative came to fruition.

~Rev. Jane Taylor, First UMC Gatlinburg, TN