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Prepare/Enrich Premarital Counseling Training

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Prepare/Enrich is the leading relationship inventory and skill-building program used nationally and internationally.  It is built on a solid research foundation and significantly improves a couple’s relationship. PREPARE/ENRICH is custom tailored to a couple’s relationship and provides couple exercises to build their relationship skills.

I have used the Prepare/Enrich program for over 15 years and have been a trainer for four years.  This program has helped me make premarital sessions meaningful and impactful.  This has been particularly true for weddings that include couples that are not part of our congregational life.  This simple tool gives a quick and insightful snapshot of the couples relationship.  

More than Premarital

This training is more than just a premarital program.  Prepare/Enrich offers inventories that are useful in helping everyone in a long-term relationship identify their strengths and areas of growth.  

Helps Couples Improve Their Relationship

To achieve this goal Prepare/Enrich helps couples look a the following aspects of their relationship:

  • get-more-infoExplore strength and growth areas
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Identify and manage major stressors
  • Resolve conflict using the Ten Step Model
  • Develop a more balanced relationship
  • Explore family of origin issues
  • Discuss financial planning and budgeting
  • Establish personal, couple and family goals
  • Understand and appreciate personality differences

Affordable Training 

The Prepare/Enrich Training cost $200 with lunch provided.  This one time training allows you to use the program without any ongoing training cost.

Affordable Per-couple Cost

Prepare/Enrich is a cost effective tool to use.  Each couple cost $35 for the online inventory and report.  This cost can be directly paid to Prepare/Enrich through their website by the couple when they log-in to complete the inventory or the facilitator can “purchase” the scorings.  This fee is easy to include in “Wedding Fees” or is affordable enough for most churches to budget for.

Easy to Use

Prepare/Enrich is administered through an easy web based tool.  Couples complete the inventory online and a report is accessible almost instantly.  

Who Should Use Prepare/Enrich?

The inventory has been utilized by over 100,000 trained clergy members, professional counselors, mentors, and marriage educators throughout the U.S.

Scientifically Based

An important strength of the Prepare/Enrich Inventory is their strong psychometric properties. High levels of reliability and validity have been found for each instrument, making them valuable tools for research as well as clinical use.

  • National Norms based on over 500,000 couples
  • High Levels of Validity and Reliability

Prepare has validity in that it discriminates premarital couples that get divorced from those that are happily married with about 80-85% accuracy. Reliability is high (alpha reliability of .80 – .85).

If you would like more information on upcoming trainings please click here:


Reflecting on 13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue

tired-manThom Rainer of LifeWay often offers insightful thoughts on pastoral leadership.  His recent blog post 13 Signs of Leadership Fatigue  he offers a few indicators of the early stages of burnout.  The pastoral life is one that is demanding and at times isolated.  It is easy for pastors to find themselves on the brink of burnout without realizing it.

Here is Thom’s list:

  1. Living by a “get me through the day” philosophy
  2. Losing vision
  3. Developing poor sleep patterns
  4. Declining spiritual disciplines
  5. Repeating lessons and sermons
  6. Faking joy and excitement
  7. Frustrating family members
  8. Magnifying minors
  9. Failing to return emails and phone calls
  10. Misdirecting affections.
  11. Decreasing exercise
  12. Focusing on a “grass is greener” syndrome
  13. Avoiding people who speak truth

One thing that really didn’t surprise me about this list is that it is that leadership fatigue has a wide effect on a person’s life.  As you read this list you notice that like most issues, the consequences of burnout span the whole of a persons life. Pastor’s vocational, personal and spiritual lives are not compartmentalized.

Engaging a coach in your life before this dynamic is prevalent can have life changing results.  Pastors may find themselves alone in the journey of leadership.  A coach can be an advocate and champion for your long term health and wellness in ministry.

Likewise, if you find that your are already in the midst of the dark valley that is leadership burnout a coach can be a companion through the valley and out of fatigue.  A vital coaching relationship empowers the client to dream about a positive solution to the concerns at hand.  A coach lends strength and guidance as you explore how to transform the fatigue of ministry into a renewed vigor in a pastor’s sacred calling.

  • Do you have any other “signs” of fatigue you would like to offer?
  • What are some ways you address these signs?


What do you want to be when you grow up? An Imaginative Future

bigstock-group-of-kids-in-uniforms-cost-15882509Growing up the often-asked question was, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember answering with the stereotypical answers boys were expected to give: policeman, fireman, armyman (yes, that’s how I would say it). As a child, it is easy to reflect on the future. After all, children don’t have a long history to look back on. A child has more future than past. This lack of a past makes it easy to be future oriented. There are only a few successes to hold onto and even fewer failures to dwell on.

Of course this isn’t the case for adults. As the number of years we have spent on this whirling ball they call Earth advances we become far less imaginative about the future. There is not a single person on this creation that isn’t filled with some sort of regret. The psychosocial culture says that the key to our future is in our past. That may be partly true. If we don’t reflect on our past and learn from our mistakes we will keep making the same decisions.

Still, it seems that when we are issued our adult membership card we have to turn in our key to the machine that controls our imagination for the future. There have been some shifts by recent generations to buck this trend. For good or bad, you no longer have to choose, “what you will do for a living” by the time you leave high school or even college. Beyond that, corporate life has made it a rarity that one would be in the same organization for a whole career. This is different from my parent’s generation. My father worked for one company until he retired. Today, we have a workforce and culture that is very fluid and flexible.

I find that this is leading many people to ask the question of, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” This dynamic is also present in those who are boomers entering retirement. Without a creative future focused imagination the future can be a very scary place.

 A coaching relationship is just the place to spark your imagination. Coaching is a unique setting designed to help individuals look to the future with hope and imagination. A coach is a champion for you in that discernment. When you’re faced with career, retirement or vocational transitions coaching is a safe place to explore questions of self.

Here are a few questions to help you start to answer this age-old question;

  • What does your life look like in three years?
  • What is the one thing you have always dreamed of doing?
  • What is your image of the future? (ie… bright, dark, looming, exciting, etc)

If you would like to learn more about Coaching or would like to schedule a free trail session please click BOOK NOW above.

Is it time to kill the Parrot? Five ways to increase your happiness.

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Recently, I posted the above coaching question to Facebook.What do you suppose were the responses to this query? There were actually very few people who chose to answer the question on my wall.  Perhaps others took time to ponder and answer it in their own life.  Frankly, I hope this is the case but i’m not so sure that it was the case.  More and more we find ourselves in a world that is stuck.  We are stuck in our jobs, mortgages, bad relationships and old patterns.  For many the idea that tomorrow can even be happier is foreign. This Washington Post advertisement for their Mega Jobs issue came to mind when thinking about this situation.

Yet, deep within us all is a desire to live a life that is filled happiness and fulfillment.  More and more the idea that life can change and that the individual can influence those changes has become a difficult for people to embrace. the fact of the matter is that each of us is creative, resourceful and whole.  This means that we can exert some form of positive control over our lives.  How is it that we can begin to reassert our dominion over our lives?  How can we not only regain control over our lives but how can we make them places of growth and joy?

1) Listen to your parrot:   Are you surrounded by nay sayers? Many of us have folks in our lives that exhibit negative attitudes.  It would be easy at this point to say, get rid of your parrot.  No one needs negative people around them.  The fact of the matter is that many of those people are important to us, regardless of their attitude.  I suggest starting at an easier place.  Are there friends, colleagues or family that live out a life that are filled with optimism for a happier future?  If so, make time to surround yourself with them and take strength from their example.

2) Appreciate what you have: Time and time again people miss the goodness in their lives.  The Christian tradition has a spiritual practice called the Daily Examen.  This practice encourages a daily retrospect of blessings.  This practice holds one of the essential components of seeing a positive future.  Don’t over look the happiness you have.  Whether it’s as simple a as front row parking space or as grand as a new child, celebrating what is good in your life is powerful. What do you have today in your life that is creating happiness for you?

3) Stop comparing your life to those of others: The mentality of keeping up with the Jones’ has led more than one person down the road of disappointment in their lives.  Not to mention that it fails to take into account that Mr. or Mrs. Jones may be unable to experience joy.  Every individual is given their own individual life to live.  To continually compare our lives to those of our neighbor down the street or the latest Hollywood star doesn’t help us to value or celebrate our lives.  Seeking out our own happiness is just that, our happiness.  It isn’t about someone else’s life or success.  What does YOUR happiness look like?

4) Dream Big:    The practical nature of humanity traps us in today.  We are beholden to all the stuff that surrounds us today and fail to realize that tomorrow is a new day.  Disney’s “Carousel of Progress” ride has a reoccurring theme song. “It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day, and tomorrow is just a dream away.”  Tomorrow is not just the chain reaction of today.  It is an opportunity for creativity and for us to make it what we will.  Sure there are parts of our lives that are beyond our control, but not all of it is. When was the last time you dreamed big about your life?  What was that dream? Did that dream become reality? Do you have a dream for tomorrow?

5) Do something about it:  The parrot in the Post ad knows his words because day after day his owner has mumbled them to him.   “Not another day… Not another day,” doesn’t lead to positive change.  The Post wants you to pick up their paper so you can get a new job and be happier.  It is incumbent upon each individual to make the changes in their lives and not just be a victim of circumstance.  Are you surrendering to your current reality or taking action to change it?  What simple actions can you take to increase your happiness and joy?

These five suggestions to increase your happiness aren’t the be all and end all. Like everything in life your unique situation calls for varied action.  I hope that these five simple ideas and the questions included will help you to gain some momentum towards a happier tomorrow.

I would also suggest that if you feel stuck or don’t know where to start, seek a partner.  As a coach I am well aware that for many an outside voice can go a long way in moving  from “Not another day” to “A great big beautiful tomorrow.”

For information on what coaching can do for you or to schedule a free session click the links above.

Coaching FAQ

Coaching is many things to many people.  The fact of the matter is that there are a number of people in the “coaching” world that are in fact not coaching.  In this post I will seek to begin to unpack the reality of coaching.

1) Is coaching professional counseling?  No.  Coaching is not counseling.  In coaching the focus is on the future and how to maximize your personal and professional potential.  At times, some reflections may be made on the past but overall the thrust of Coaching is how does one achieve their current vision.  Unlike counseling which often looks at the roots of issues and challenges, coaching is all about getting from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow.

2) Is coaching pastoral counseling? No.  In coaching I am in a role that is different from a pastoral counselor.  As a pastor I am most often engaged in the ministry of presence.  My role is not to make sense of things or to question reality.  It is more or less to be a spiritual presence.  In pastoral counseling I very rarely interrupt.  During coaching I am freer to interrupt and ask a meaningful question.  Also, in coaching I feel that sometimes the details of the situation can actually be a hindrance to growth and movement while during pastoral situations I will allow the person to say what they believe is necessary.

3) Is coaching consulting? No.  While I have had success in ministry and life my role as a coach is not to provide answers from my experience.  My experiences as a Pastor give me certain insights that may assist me in asking more meaningful questions when coaching religious leaders or people of faith.  In my experience I have found some of the most powerful coaching I have done has been with clients I have little in vocational common.

4) What can coaching do for me?  Coaching is intended to help the client to achieve their goals.  At times even identifying ones goals is an important aspect of coaching.  Coaching offers the client a personal champion to be in conversation with.  The coaching relationship is focused on the client.  Client and coach put all their energy into the client’s well-being and growth.  Having someone in your life that is focused on you and helping you better yourself can be a powerful experience.

5) Isn’t coaching a selfish endeavor?  No.  While the focus of coaching is most often on the individual the fact of the matter is that when we make ourselves more whole we become a better citizen, employee, spouse, parent and friend.  We also can have a positive influence on those around us.

6) What is the one principle of coaching that I appreciate the most?  I find the under-riding principle of clients being naturally creative, resourceful and whole to be extremely meaningful.  Far too often clients view themselves as broken and unable to do whatever it is that is challenging them.  I believe that the creative nature of humans is tied with the very God of creation and when we empower ourselves to use the gifts God has given us we can do all things.

7) What makes me a good coach?  I believe that there are a few natural traits that make me a helpful coach.  First and foremost is the fact that I truly am curious in life.  Curiosity makes the coaching relationship dynamic and engaging.  I love learning about people and what they do both personally and professionally.  Another important aspect of my personality that makes me a good coach is the fact that I am an active listener.  I have developed the skill of listening to understand rather than to respond.  I seek to listen to the content and context of what people say.  I have gifts in reading body language and utilize them in the course of coaching.  I am also able to dream and have imagination.  As a coach I believe that it is important to ensure that you are able to look beyond the current reality and dream big dreams with clients.

8) Do you only coach Christians or Pastors?  No.  I am able to coach a wide range of clients.  I am able to weave Christian faith into the coaching relationship if that is what the client and I agree upon when establishing our coaching agreement.  I will readily admit that I view coaching as an extension of my pastoral ministry. Yet, I am able to work with individuals from varied faiths as well as secular institutions and businesses.