American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

Midwest Ministry Development Center
(Free!) Coaching Sessions



Tired, frustrated, and feeling as if I was possibly done with pastoral ministry, I recently completed four coaching sessions with Dr Kristina Gutierrez of Midwest Ministry Development Center. “Trauma and stress are cumulative,” she shared, and this rang true for me. My time with Kris provided perspective, encouragement, and renewed energy through the processing of recent situations, self-reflection, and increased self-awareness. There is no shame in seeking help, and as pastors, our health and ministries might just depend on it.

Rich Blain
Lead Pastor - South Parkersburg Baptist Church - Parkersburg, WV 

Recently, our culture has become far more aware of issues regarding mental health while “on the job.” One of those examples occurred this summer during the Olympics, when USA Gymnastics competitor Simone Biles withdrew from competition as a result of mental health issues. The world watched as one of the greatest gymnasts of all time, stepped away from a number of events, knowing it would cost her the opportunity for gold medals but making it clear her mental health was worth far more that any Olympic recognition.

While pastoral leaders have not faced the mental stress of worldwide competition, the worldwide pandemic has created a very stressful environment for pastors of local churches. Not only did pastors face the daunting task of learning online ministry, such as broadcast worship and zoom meetings, but also dealt with the challenges of keeping often deeply divided congregations over COVID issues united as cultural forces sought to tear churches apart.

Many reports have been published regarding the stress pastoral leaders have experienced and continue to experience over the last 18 months. It is with this reality in mind, ABCOPAD has secured a Palmer Grant to assist ABCOPAD pastoral leaders with an opportunity for professional coaching.

ABCOPAD has partnered with the Rev. Dr. Kristina Ricketts Gutierrez, Pastoral/Professional Counselor at the Midwest Ministry Development Center (MMDC) in Columbus, Ohio. MMDC is a parachurch organization which our region has had a long-term relationship, and has used repeatedly for assessment of individuals starting into ministry, being credentialed, or preparing for retirement. Dr. Kristina will provide four paid-for online coaching sessions for ABCOPAD pastoral leaders. Again, for ABCOPAD pastors, the four individual sessions are totally free of charge. ABCOPAD pastoral leaders can contact the Midwest Ministry Development Center directly at 614-442-8822 to take advantage of this opportunity. This service is completely confidential. Your name will NOT be given to the regional pastors unless you tell Dr. Kristina it is okay to do, so that regional pastors can follow up with you when the four sessions have been completed.

Alongside Dr. Kristina, ABCOPAD is training a team of professional listeners through additional Palmer Grant funds who will stand ready to be an empathetic ear and a caring heart for pastoral leaders who simply need a chance to talk with someone. For now, you can contact any of the three regional pastors, as well as Pastor Mark Schollaert (ABCOPAD Regional Ministry Associate for Leadership Learning Communities).

If you are stressed and struggling, please pray about this opportunity to have a professional talk with you, walk with you, work through with you the stress(es) you are dealing with. We appreciate you as a pastoral leader and want to provide resources that help you to live a full and abundant personal and pastoral life. Please consider contacting Dr. Kristina directly at 614-442-8822, or call one of our staff a call today.