Heroic Pastors; Amazing Parishes - An Interview with Kevin Cotter on the Petrus Development ShowJun 01, 2021
In this episode, Andrew visits with Kevin Cotter, Executive Director of Amazing Parishes, a ministry of the church that offers instruction and education to pastors as well as coaching to help them develop a team around them to make their parish amazing. We all know and have experienced our church leadership transitioning over the years. Many priests and pastors struggle to know how to lead and how to build up an enduring leadership team that can survive those transitions, illustrating a point that parish leadership is so important and critical to the community and to the lives of the parishioners. In this episode, Andrew and Kevin dive into this issue as well as discussing the importance of the apprenticeship model in the church and the need for a strong prayer life both personally and professionally.
Amazing Parish will be gathering for their 2021 conference in Kansas City on June 21-23. Please pray for everyone involved in that and if you want more information on Amazing Parish, check out their website at amazingparish.org.
Howdy and welcome to Episode 85 of the Petrus Development Show.
Growing up, I attended St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church in southeast Houston. My dad was a deacon and we were all very involved in the parish. I remember, for most of my childhood, Fr. Dominic was our parish priest and we had a number of associate pastors and a great team of 3 or 4 really engaged deacons who helped him out. St. Luke was really amazing and a lot of good fruit came out of that parish. At some point though, Fr. Dominic was reassigned, Fr. Steve came in as his replacement and eventually, the deacons moved to other parishes. The leadership in the parish really struggled to make a good reset and over time, the vibrant life that I experienced as a child left St. Luke. Today, it's a fine parish with a lot of faithful families, but I wouldn't say that it's amazing anymore. Now, I’m not sharing this to dump on St. Luke, but to illustrate a point that parish leadership is so important and critical to the community and to the lives of the parishioners and yet, many priests and pastors struggle to know how to lead and how to build up an enduring leadership team that can survive those transitions.
Today’s guest is Kevin Cotter, Executive Director of Amazing Parish, a ministry of the church that offers instruction and education to pastors and coaching to help them develop that team around them to make their parish amazing. Kevin said that they are looking for heroic pastors who want to lead and want to put in the hard work because they see the potential benefit generations down the road.
The Amazing Parish annual conference is coming up in Kansas City on June 21-23, and if you are attending, I hope you enjoy this sneak peak into what the conference will be like. If you are not attending, I encourage you to look into Amazing Parish and consider getting involved in a future event. You can find more info at www.amazingparish.org. And please pray for this group assembling in Kansas City, that God will speak to everyone in a profound way. I hope you enjoy this conversation and stick around until the end for my takeaways.
He attended Benedictine College and joined Focus as a missionary on campus for two years and then moved to the Focus headquarters for a number of years creating curriculum and working on other projects.
While there, he met and got to know John Martin, co-founder of Amazing Parish. When the position opened up at Amazing Parish, he was able to make the transition from Focus to Amazing Parish three years ago.
John Martin and Patrick Lencioni, got together eight years with a shared a desire to serve and build up the Church. The parish was a place they felt they could make an impact. They started with a website, then a conference. As they evolved as an organization, they realized that while events are great, they aren't enough, so they evolved into a coaching organization with follow-up support. They want to be a movement of pastors. They are gathering heroic pastors to support, coach, and uplift.
You can't hang the success or failure of a parish on the pastor. Priests are asking the question: how do I create a vision? I've learned how to shepherd a flock, but I've never learned how to cast a vision of where this parish/community can go.
In the history of the church, priests went through an apprenticeship where they learned how to lead, how to cast a vision, etc. And today, because of the crisis of vocation, there isn't time or resources for an apprenticeship. So, young priests, without experience, are being thrust into leadership over parishes and programs.
And in this circumstance, mentorship and support is crucial. Amazing Parish comes to fill that need.
You see this with development officers as well. If there's not someone to show support, they struggle when results are not showing up.
The road is hard, you just need someone along to accompany you on the road.
There's not a set process, but it starts with the pastor. Walking him through what it means to be a leader. When you become a pastor, you become a leader with responsibilities. When it comes to the hard things, if you don't have support, you don't do the hard things.
Do you want to lead? What does leading look like? It looks like managing people, learning what's going on in their lives, having hard conversations.
The journey looks like: coaching, priest cohorts, support, conference, building leadership teams, creating a team they can work alongside, creating a great culture, praying together.
Results could show in 3-5 months, or it could take 12-15 months. It all depends and is an individual journey. To make it authentic, it takes the time it will take.
If this happens, you are looking at 20-50 years of results. Of impacting multitudes of families and generations. The fruit of the hard work will bare out for a long time.
Amazing Parish Conference
Kansas City, Jun 21-23, a jump start in teamwork. Prayer, Adoration, Confession. Learning the feel and look of culture and being able to take it back to your parish/organization and grow.
Andrew's Three Take-Aways:
- I really appreciated Kevin’s insights about how the Church has been built on an apprenticeship model throughout its history. Unfortunately, the priest crisis today means that clergy may not have that luxury of time observing and learning the ropes before they are assigned their first pastor-ship, but it does speak to the importance of mentors and guides in ministry. We have talked about the role of mentors on this show before, but it was interesting to think of the need not just in development, but also for our priests and pastors. Having someone model the way for us is beneficial regardless of the position you find yourself in.
- How important is it to pray as a ministry team together? Wow. What a simple and yet profound idea to implement if you’re on a ministry team now and not praying together. At Petrus, we have a lot of client meetings and a lot of team meetings. We may miss one occasionally, but I always try to remember to start each meeting with prayer. It is so powerful and it sends a clear message that we cannot rely on our own abilities to be successful. We need to invite God into our lives and into our teams if we want to have powerful ministry. In fact, at the Petrus Leadership Conference, we made the decision this year to have a full hour and a half of prayer, adoration and worship in the middle of our conference. Setting that expectation that we are gathered in a common mission and we have to ask for God’s blessing on our work daily is so critical.
- Hard work and sacrifice now is always a precursor to success in life but also in ministry for years and generations to come. It’s tough sometimes to think about taking a step back to chart a course and create a strategy, but organizations that do this will be more successful probably 99 out of a 100 times than teams that don't take that time. So whatever that looks like for you and your team, I encourage you to embrace the fact that making a plan and doing the tough work now will set you up for more fruit and stronger ministries over the course of time.
Thanks for joining me today for this interview with Kevin Cotter. As I mentioned, Amazing Parish will be gathering for their 2021 conference in Kansas City on June 21-23. Please pray for everyone involved in that and if you want more information on Amazing Parish, check out their website at amazingparish.org.
If you have questions for us here at Petrus, send us a note at [email protected]. Thanks and God bless you and your work.
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