Vivian Coleman, BSc, B Theol, MTS. M Bus, registered CAIRA supervisor for 14 years.. Presbyterian (retired minister in full standing), urrently serving in Baptist church
These middle years are a time of joy and flexibility. My experiences of pastoral leadership in Presbyterian and Baptist churches allowed me to pursue my passion for the Bible and growing faith, and I continue as an enthusiastic volunteer.
My small business Rev Viv Services allows me to support churches by supervising clergy, helping out with services and acting as an advisor to students, pastors and churches. I have a passion for learning and in 2015 completed a Masters of Business looking at Performance Review as applied with clergy.
My commitment to family means I care for, and have fun with, my grandkids several times a week. I live in Cockle Bay in Auckland and supervise from home. I prefer face to face supervision but can use Skype and other video apps.
My philosophy of supervision
Ministry Supervision is a formative tool that helps people in pastoral ministry reflect on their work in a regular, pastor-initiated, self-review exercise that can helpfully complement other means of self-awareness and accountability. I believe it is essential for ministers to have at least one person with whom they can honestly reflect on themselves, who can ask the tough questions of “why? what’s going on inside? what’s driving this?” Good habits of supervision are now a career-long expectation for clergy, and have been shown to correlate with job satisfaction as pastoral leaders monitor their responses, manage their workload and challenge dysfunctional systems.
I normally ask the supervisee to set the agenda, and simply act as a ‘wise listener’ in a conversation that reflects on questions that have been raised in their minds that month. These might include difficulties in relationships with parishioners or colleagues, sad or vexing pastoral situations, leadership dilemmas, and boundary issues.
Sometimes I am the only person with whom these concerns can be shared, so supervision is also a form of self-care for them. Because I am outside the sphere of the local church or chaplaincy, and because the conversations are utterly confidential, together we can engage in reflection that helps keep the minister and their pastoral practice safe.
I help the supervisee explore options, build on their strengths, and move on from their mistakes. My hope is that at different times we will address various dimensions of their professional life, so the experience of supervision is ‘formative, normative and restorative’.