Meet our Coaching School Faculty
Rev. Brandyn Simmons
Coaching Focus: Organization Development, Executive, Busienss, Leadership, NonProfit, Life Coaching
About Brandyn: Rev. Brandyn Simmons lives in Chicago, IL. He is the Executive Director of Generations Care Partners Foundation, is the Pastor at Christ Church of Chicago, and is the owner of Generations Care Partners. Brandyn has been coaching for over 10 years. He holds the following degrees MBA, Master of Geriatrics, Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry in Community Organizing Candidate, and is a Professional Certified Coach, and is certified in Mindfulness and Appreciative Inquiry. Brandyn has also served on numerous adjudicatory board in the United Church of Christ, assisted in the revitalization of the Illinois Conference in the UCC, mentor coaching, and teaching in various coaching programs. In his free time, Brandyn enjoys hiking and writing.
You may have read Brandyn’s published work:
- Kindling Hope: Discovering a Life of Meaning and Igniting the World
Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva
Coaching Focus: Clergy Coaching, Ministry Teams Coaching, Executive Coaching, Leadership Coaching, Conflict and Change Coaching, Vision and Mission Coaching
About Rev. Dr. Felix: Felix Villanueva lives in Claremont, CA. He has been coaching for 24 years. He serves many roles in coaching as a Mentor Coach with International Coach Federation, the Director of Coaching Services with Vibrant Faith, the Director of Coaching for Latin America and the Caribbean with Coaching4Today’sLeaders, and as an Associate Coach with BetterUp Coaching. Felix has also served in ministry as a US Navy Chaplain (1982-2003), a Hospice Chaplain (2003-2005), a Senior Minister at UCC La Mesa, CA (2005-2010), and in the UCC Southern California Nevada Conference (2010-Present). In his spare time he enjoys playing the Native American flute and traveling around the world.
His certifications include:
Master Certification in Coaching (MCC), International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Harrison Assessment Debriefer
DISC Assessment Debriefer
Doctorate in Organizational Leadership (EdD), Argosy University, Los Angeles, CA
Masters Degree in Pastoral Counseling, Princeton Theological Seminary, NJ
Master Degree in Divinity, Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Bachelor Degree in Biology, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
You may have seen Felix at these Vibrant Faith activities: The Vibrant Faith Coaching School – he is the Director in charge of the certification process.
You may have seen Felix’s published works:
Thriving in the Fire: Coaching Through the Conflicts of Change
A Guide to Effective Ministry Teams: The Pastoral Dialogical Model
Keeping the Watch: Missioning and Visioning for the Church in the 21st Century, Course Workbook
Rev. Dr. Nathan Swenson-Reinhold, D. Min
Coaching Focus: Leadership Coaching; Organizational Leadership; Life Coaching; Team Coaching; Leadership Team Coaching; Coaching Through Transitions — Corporate and Personal; Mentor Coaching; HR Coaching
About Nathan: Rev. Dr. Nathan Swenson-Reinhold, D.Min, lives in Fairfax, Virginia. He is the lead pastor of a multi-site congregation in Northern Virginia. A coach for nearly two decades, he holds an International Coach Federation credential as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC). He has a Doctor of Ministry in leadership, culture, and change. Nathan is a coach trainer for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Coach Coordinator for the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Synod, and the owner of Summit Coaching and Behavioral Consulting LLC. Nathan is an ICF Professional Certified Coach (PCC) since 2019 through CoachNet Global and is a Certified Behavioral Consultant (DISC). He has been coaching for 18 years. Nathan also enjoys pen turning, car detailing, reading science fiction, and playing acoustic guitar.
You may have seen Nathan participating in these Vibrant Faith activities: C3 Culture of Calling Participant, and working in the Coaching School as a Mentor Coach Teacher/Facilitator
Or visit his website: www.summitcbc.com
Meet our Vibrant Faith Coaches
This team of dynamic coaches are here to support and guide you and your organization toward healthy and effective practices.
Deacon Denise Utter
Coaching Focus: Individual, congregational, and nonprofit organization coaching; areas of focus include: Family Faith Formation, The Call of Parenthood, Paradigm Shifts, Leadership, Policy Governance, and Storytelling
About Denise: Deacon Denise Utter splits her time living in Chicago, IL and Union Pier, MI. She is a freelance consultant, writer and a speaker and has been coaching with Vibrant Faith since 2018. She has worked in ministry and education for 30 years. Denise believes her work in parish and diocesan ministries informed her work today. She loves to inspire parish and diocesan leaders to reimagine faith formation, put families at the center of faith, and provide innovative approaches to faith formation and invites leaders to view the formation of parents from the perspective of calling.
Denise obtained her B.S. in Secondary Education – English and Special Education (Eastern Illinois University) and her Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (Catholic Theological Union). She enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, reading, and spending time with her husband and three adult children.
You may have seen Denise at these Vibrant Faith activities: 2018 Creating a Culture of Calling symposiums, 2019 Vibrant Faith Coaching School, The 2019 Seasons of Lifelong Faith Formation Course, Leading 2019 Innovation Labs: Families at the Center of Faith Formation and Faith Formation for a New Generation, and at various Vibrant Faith webinars.
You may have read Denise’s published works:
- “Letter from the President” a column in Catechetical Leader, a quarterly magazine for the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership, 2018-present
- “Friendship” a component of The Star Family Curriculum, created for the animated movie The Star (in collaboration between Sony Entertainment Productions and leaders/writers from the National Conference for Catechetical Leaders) Available at NCCL.
- The Vision of “The Joy of Adolescent Catechesis”, Catechists Magazine
- “Living the Life! Parish Life as the Curriculum” (Catechetical Leader, January 2015)
- “Paying Attention to the Life and Rhythm of Your Parish” (Catechetical Leader, November 2014)
- “Telling the Story: How Parables Teach Us About Life” (Take Home: Faith on the Go!, Our Sunday Visitor, September 2015)
- Quarterly articles for Leaven, Diocese of Joliet’s catechetical communication (2011-2017)
- Online parent and family curriculum for Our Sunday Visitor’s, Alive in Christ (2013-15)
- Online catechists’ curriculum for the Archdiocese of Chicago (2017)
- Online adult faith curriculum for the Center for Ministry Development http://www.fashioningfaith.org/(2009-2012)
Rev. Erik Samuelson
More information to come.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to questions about or to contact this Coach.
Coaching Focus: Individual Coaching, Congregational Coaching, Non-Profit Coaching, and Leader Coaching.
About Fred: Fred Oduyoye lives in Cincinnati Ohio and is the Founder of Reachable Reconciliation, Inc, an organization and national movement designed to help people integrate into unfamiliar spaces of conversation and relationship. He has been working with and coaching leaders since 2007. He was a National Urban Training Director at Urban Youth Workers Institute for 9 years. Fred has also worked as the National Director of Partnerships/Networking for Youth Specialities for 4 years and is an Advisory Committee Member of the National Network of Youth Ministries. A hobby that Fred enjoys is training and coaching soccer players.
You may have seen Fred at: our Webinar on Reachable Reconciliation (the presenter) and at past Board meetings as he was a Member of our Vibrant Faith Board!
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“I think coaching is such a valuable tool today for anyone looking to grow, learn, become a better leader or find new avenues for their gifts and strengths. When I first started my company, Ministry Blueprints, I met with a coach several times just to make sure I was doing all the right things, not missing opportunities or making mistakes that would cost me in the long run. Those sessions were invaluable to me. I gained a confidence that has carried me through the first years of ministry and count my coach as one of my best investments ever.” – Jane Angha
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“I am where I am today because of coaching. Like an athlete, talent and know-how will only get you so far. When I was 20 years into ministry I went through the coaching process where my unique call was fused with my skills and I was able to focus my efforts in a profound and impactful way. My coaching experience led me to become a coach for others, helping individuals and congregations identify their unique strengths and calling. With a “birds-eye” view a coach can help a client identify life-giving goals and help them develop the skills they will need to get to where they are going.” – Michael Droege
Coaching Focus: Individual Coaching, Congregational Coaching, and Coaching for Leaders
About Jane: Jane lives in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and is the Director of Ministry Blueprints. Jane has mentored and trained youth and young adult leaders for 20 years. She has a bachelor of science in secondary education and religious studies from the University of Wisconsin, and a Master in Theology from St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin. Jane has worked with non-profits, congregations, and dioceses to create new models of ministry and provide innovation workshops and processes to schools and faith communities. In her spare time, Jane loves to hike, cook, and try out Pinterest DIY projects.
You may have seen Jane at: the 2019 Vibrant Faith Coaching School or at the 2019 Vibrant Faith Symposiums
Coaching Focus: Coaching for leaders, teams, cohort groups, congregations, and non-profit organizations
About Jim: Jim LaDoux lives in Burnsville, MN and is on the Vibrant Faith leadership team since 2003. He currently oversees our coaching program. Jim has been a coach since 1992. He has a Master of Management Arts specializing in organizational development and is a certified PCC (Professional Certified Coach) in Training. Jim has been part of church staff for Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. In his spare time, Jim likes to travel, go hiking, and biking.
You may have read Jim’s work: Surface To Soul: Coaching Spiritual Vitality in Congregations, Vibrant Faith Coaching School Manual.
You may have seen Jim at: The Vibrant Faith Coaching School, at any Leading Well event, at all of our Vibrant Faith Staff meetings, at the 2019 Symposiums, and in anything coaching related with Vibrant Faith.
Coaching Focus: Life Coaching and Leadership Coaching for Churches, Non-Profits, and Businesses
About Jim: Jim Merhaut lives in Youngstown, Ohio. He is the owner of Coaching To Connect and has been coaching for seven years. Jim is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF) and holds a Reinvention Practitioner Certification and a Master of Science degree in Religious Education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He is an author and co-author of nine books and dozens of publications. In his spare time, Jim is an avid organic vegetable gardener and a professional musician. He records and performs with singer-songwriter, JD Eicher.
You may have seen Jim at these Vibrant Faith activities: The C3 Initiative – Creating a Culture of Calling (he is one of the coaches), and Thriving Congregations.
You may have seen some of Jim’s published works:
Way of the Cross for Families (2009)
El Via Crucis para la Familia (2010)
Gratitude Journal: A Journey of Transformation (2011)
Generations Together: Caring, Praying, Learning, Celebrating, & Serving Faithfully, Lifelong Faith Associates, Co-authored with John Roberto and others, (2014)
Intergenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry (2018)
Contact Jim Merhaut
Dr. Mark Slaughter
Coaching Focus: Coaching individuals for empowerment and confidence, who desire to move into the future with purpose. Mark specializes in the area of worship, spiritual formation, and leadership. He is also positioned to work with churches trying to discern a new vision or values, cultivate new ways to worship, or grow and inspire their congregations as Christ followers.
About Mark: Dr. Slaughter serves as the Minister of Worship Arts at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN. Before moving to Minnesota, he served as the Minister of Music and Worship at First Baptist Church in Owensboro, Kentucky. He has also served in churches in Virginia and Tennessee. In addition to his 35+ years of ministry, he received a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity and Church Music from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor of Music from Belmont University. Mark identifies himself as a calculated adventurist that loves to have his eyes wide open and his mind filled with new experiences. Mary Jo (Jody) Slaughter has been his partner in most of these ventures and his wife for 29 years. They have two young adult children, Wesley and Mary Katherine.
You may have seen Mark in this Vibrant Faith activity: Coaching through Vibrant Faith
Contact Mark Slaughter: Please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with Dr. Slaughter.
Rev. Melissa Cooper
Coaching Focus: Individual or Group Coaching, Intergenerational Ministry Coaching, Congregational Coaching
About Melissa: Rev. Melissa Cooper lives in Orlando, Florida. She has been coaching since 2017 and is the Minister of Worship and Arts at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Orlando. Melissa is an ordained Deacon in the United Methodist Church and attended Boston University for seminary. She is a member of ICF, has completed all coach certification trainings and is working toward her PCC (Professional Certified Coach) credential. She has also previously worked for 8 years in camp and retreat ministry. In her spare time, Melissa likes to spend time at Disney World.
You may have seen Melissa active in these Vibrant Faith activities: Coaching, Intergenerational Cohort Coaching, and using Visual Faith cards in her ministry
Contact Melissa Cooper:
Rev. Michael Droege
Coaching Focus: Congregational Coaching, Individual Coaching
About Michael: Rev. Michael W. Droege lives in New Jersey. He has worked with Vibrant Faith for two years. Michael is ordained through the International Council Community Churches and is an adjunct professor at Drew Theological School. He obtained his MA in Theology from Drew University and is a Certified Facilitator in Dependable Strengths Articulation Process and a PhD Candidate University of Pretoria. Michael has participated in the international intergenerational roundtable at Westminster Abbey In London and taught the first-ever course in intergenerational faith formation at Drew University. In his spare time, he enjoys jazz, StarTrek, and shows.
You may have seen Michael at these Vibrant Faith activities: Coaching, Keep Connected, Thriving Congregations, Cohort Coaching, and on Vibrant Faith online courses
You may have seen Michael’s published works:
Droege, Michael. “Grow Together – the U.S. Church and the Witness of the Global South”. The Generative Church. Ed Cory Seibel. Wipf and Stock. 2019.
Droege, Michael. “Grow Together – a Practical Theology of Generational Inclusion”. Intergenerate 2nd Edition. Ed. Holly Allen, Cory Seibel. ACU Press 2020.
Contact Michael Droege
Rev. Paul Oppedahl
Coaching Focus: Individuals, Leadership, Teams, Non-profits, Strategic Planning, Vision & Mission
About Paul: Paul’s passion for coaching arises from a deep desire to see leaders and organizations succeed. He centers this commitment in the essential nature of authentic relationships, genuine listening, and creating community. His coaching is a natural outgrowth of his training in transitional ministry, organizational systems theory, community organizing, and his passion for wanting to make a difference in his community and the world. An ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1995, Paul has a demonstrated history of serving multiple congregations in transition as well as long-term pastorates in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. He presently serves Sabylund Lutheran Church, Pepin County, Wisconsin. Paul is skilled in leading during times of transition when clear, goal-oriented, strategic planning and deliberate follow-through are necessary. Trained in community organizing, and life coaching, Paul effectively partners with you in a thought-provoking and creative process that will inspire you to live towards your best self. Paul received his bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, followed by a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN. He is trained in intentional interim ministry, family and organizational systems theory, community organizing, and is a certified ACC (Associate Certified Coach) in Training.
You may have seen Paul at these Vibrant Faith activities: Coaching, Cohort Coaching, and Leading Well
Contact Paul Oppedahl
Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden
Coaching Focus: Individuals and Institutions Coaching. Her specialities include Clergy and Congregational Team Coaching, particularly for senior/lead/executive pastors and congregational teams engaged in justice making in the movements for Black and Black LGBTQ+ communities. Additionally, she provides cultural competency and leadership coaching for people committed to anti-racist, organizational change and personal performance enhancing work.
About Shonda: Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden lives in Indianapolis, IN. She is a Coach Consultant for Vibrant Faith, the CEO of Good to the SOUL, and the Associate Pastor at Crossroads AME Church. Shonda has been coaching since 2017, shortly after she joined the Vibrant Faith teams as a Coach for the C3 Project. She currently has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Morgan State University, a Master of Divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary, and holds 100 GPSS Leadership Coach Training Student Hours and Mentor Coaching Hours in progress.
Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden is a mother, a scholar and a dedicated social entrepreneur who has served as a coach, community advocate, state ambassador, clinician and speaker throughout the world; she is one of the tri-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival in Indiana. Rev. Gladden has led and participated in short term humanitarian projects throughout the continental United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, South Africa, Kenya and South Korea and has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a Reflective Leadership Grant from Leadership Education at Duke Divinity (2018), a Do Good X Fellowship from The Forum for Theological Exploration (2017) and The Wabash Pastoral Leadership Award from Lilly Endowment, Inc. (2014). She remains actively engaged in the landscape of religion in the public square through Crossroads AME Church, Faith in Indiana, The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, and The Ministerium. She is currently an American Studies PhD Student at Indiana University (IUPUI). In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, singing, reading, writing, and playing an occasional internet-based game of logic.
You may have read Shonda’a work: Becoming: Maximizing Failures and Living into My Best Self by Shonda Nicole Gladden
You may have seen Shonda participating in these Vibrant Faith activities: C3 Creating a Culture of Calling, Vibrant Faith webinars and various trainings.
Contact Rev. Shonda Nicole Gladden
Or visit her website: www.shondanicolegladden.com
Tammy L. Devine
Coaching Focus: Tammy is a whole person coach focusing on health, healing and wholeness (of body, mind and spirit)
About Tammy: Deacon Tammy Devine lives in Minnesota and is passionate about health, healing and wholeness. She is currently the ELCA Coaching Coordinator for Stewardship and Discipleship. In 2018, she established Devine Coaching. Devine served as the Wellness Manager for the Evangelical Church in America, for 14 years, serving the church through Portico Benefit Services.
Tammy is a strategic and systemic whole person promoter of well-being, through education and inspiration throughout the ELCA and full communion partners. Devine collaborates with thought leaders to facilitate and motivate whole person lifestyle choices and serves as an external wellness consultant and coach to integrate well-being to support a healthier culture.
Devine is a registered nurse, (BA, Augustana University, Sioux Falls), a Master’s in leadership from Luther Seminary. She is a parish nurse/coordinator. Completed the two year program: Grace Institute for Spiritual Formation. Completed coach training through Auburn Theological Seminary, became ICF certified in May 2016 and serves as a coach for health, healing and wholeness.
You may have seen Tammy participating in these Vibrant Faith activities: Tammy has attended Leading Well events as one of the Leading Well Retreat leaders and facilitators.
Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen
Coaching Focus: Coaching for Individuals, Leaders, Congregations, and Relational coaching.
About Tanya: Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen lives in San Antonio, Texas. She is the Director of Intergenerational Discipleship in the Rio Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church and has been a teacher, trainer, consultant, and ministry leader for 12 years. She obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Christian Education and Congregational Studies and her Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She also holds United Methodist Certifications in Music Ministry, Christian Education, Youth Ministry, and Children’s Ministry. Tanya’s research focus is children’s spirituality. She has 20 years of ministry experience including previous appointments in the local church and at Discipleship Ministries (a global agency of the UMC). Tanya writes, teaches, and trains leaders regularly on issues concerning children, families, and intergenerational ministry and likes to fit in her hobby of running in her spare time.
You may have seen Tanya participating in these Vibrant Faith activities: the 2019 Symposiums, Visual Faith, and online courses. She has also taught courses for Vibrant Faith Institute.
Contact Tanya Campen
Rev. Dr. Von Clemans
Coaching Focus: Coaching for Educators, Clergy/Pastors, Faith Formation Leaders, Congregational Leaders, and for those leading from the “Second Chair”. Von also offers coaching for leading in unchartered territory, dealing with staff challenges, undergoing transitions, exploring calling and more.
About Von: Rev. Dr. Von Clemans lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is honorably retired from his position as a PC (USA) Pastor/Educator and has been coaching for two years. He obtained a B.A. in Physics from VW Institute of Technology in West Virginia, an M.Div from Union Seminary (Virginia), an M.A. from Presbyterian School of Christian Education (Virginia) and a D.Ed. Min from Columbia Theological Seminary in Georgia. He is trained as a Healthy Congregations facilitator (2001), and trained through a Post Graduate Seminar in Family Emotional Process (2003/4) and Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process (2019). He is also an Associate Certified Coach-in-training (ICF), through Vibrant Faith. Von has also served as President of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (2016), a member of the Religious Education Association, and a participant in the Mt. Zion Archeological Dig in Jerusalem (2014/17). In his spare time, Von enjoys photography, computer technology, reading, and traveling – especially to the Holy Land and to Greece/Turkey.
You may have read Von’s work: Making Disciples, Making Leaders – a Manual for Church Officer Development, Second Edition, co-author with Steven P. Eason, Westminster John Knox Press, (2016)
You may have seen Von participating in these Vibrant Faith activities: the 2016 Engaging Adults Workshop, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Vibrant Faith Coaches Trainings, and the 2019 Symposium.
Coaching leads to faith community experiences that connect people, allowing them to “family” one another by creating a web of deep support.
Coaching helps you, the leader and in turn creates a culture of people living vibrant faith that disciples others.
Coaching leads to ministry that creates opportunity to bless others as people discover, develop and deploy their gifts and passions.
As coaching continues and new ideas are tested and applied, leaders are empowered by God to transform lives and community.