Available Coaches

Karen Ahlquist

Karen Ahlquist is a professional Life Coach. Karen sees the positive potential in every person and knows that we each have within us the God-given gift to create our experience of life.
Karen’s passion is helping people harness this gift, our spiritual inner horsepower, so that they can alleviate the unnecessary suffering of worry, anxiety, fear, anger and confusion and experience God’s joy, peace and clarity in all circumstances. 

Karen is not a teacher or mentor. She does not provide advice, stock answers, tips or techniques that do not produce lasting results for her clients. Instead, Karen walks alongside of each client as their companion, guide and catalyst for discovery. She helps her clients connect with their own inner wisdom and with God’s wisdom. Together Karen and her clients explore deeper understandings that lead to insights, personalized solutions and lasting change. As Karen and her clients dive deeply into life, they also have fun together. Laughter happens! This work is a light-hearted easy process that helps people become more fully who they are created to be. 

Karen has been coaching for five years. She trained at one of the first ICF (International Coaching Federation) approved schools (Coach, Inc) and holds the ICF ACC (Associate Certified Coach) accreditation.

Karen was Methodist before she was born. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister in the MO Conference and her parents met and were married at Centenary UMC in downtown St Louis.  She was baptized by her grandfather at Centenary and grew up at Kirkwood UMC in the St Louis area. Karen has been a member of UMC churches in Minnesota, Texas and California. She has served in each of her churches by singing in the choir, serving on multiple committees and serving in various leadership roles.

She is currently a member of College UMC in Warrenton MO where she is chairperson of Staff Parish, lay member of Annual Conference, a member of the Worship Team, the Administrative Council and the choir.

Karen and her husband John have been married for 42 years.  They have three grown children and two grandchildren. They live on 27 acres of pasture, woods and ponds outside of Warrenton with their 4 dogs and 6 horses. Karen sees coaching as a calling and an honor. Karen loves to ride her horses, hike, read, sing, go out to eat, and hang out with her family and friends.

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Tony Bavuso

Tony is the CEO of Saving Sight and has been in nonprofit leadership for 22 years. He is an active lay leader and a member of Platte Woods United Methodist Church, recently earning his MDiv from United Theological Seminary. 

He also serves as a member of the Missouri Conference Mission Council. Tony has a passion for leadership, serving as a coach for pastors and staff as well as helping to make the simplified structure work effectively for local churches. 

He has completed a discipleship coaching certificate program through Coaching4Clergy and is currently working toward his Associate Coach Certification with the International Coach Federation. Tony, his wife Julie, and his daughter Abbie reside in Liberty, Missouri.

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Andy Blacksher

Rev. Andy Blacksher brings the heart of a pastor, the curiosity of a lifelong learner and 15 years of ministry experience to every coaching relationship. He believes coaching provides an opportunity to come alongside you wherever you are in your journey to help you take the next faithful step God is calling you to. This is what Andy most wants for you: that you would live the "life more abundant" that God has uniquely created you to live. 
He is an ordained Elder in the UMC. He completed his undergraduate degree from Missouri State University in Organizational Communication, a Master of Divinity degree from Saint Paul School of Theology, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry in Leadership Excellence from Wesley Theological Seminary. He is also working toward his Associate Certified Coach certification from the International Coaching Federation.
Andy is a loving husband to Kristen, a father of two energetic young boys, a thoughtful pastor and a generous friend. He lives at the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks where he serves as the pastor of Faithbridge UMC.

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Craig Finnestad

My name is Craig Finnestad. I’m a pastor and coach who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. I planted The Water’s Edge in 2005. It has grown from a dream to one of the largest United Methodist Churches in the Midwest. I’m an Associate Certified Coach credentialed by the International Coach Federation.

My seminary degrees are from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University and Asbury Theological Seminary. My dissertation was on the use of humor in preaching. I love to have fun!

I occasionally teach the preaching class at the Great Plains Licensing School. I earned the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from the Lilly Foundation and have led of three capital campaigns: one to purchase land, one to construct a building, and one to eliminate debt.

I enjoy coaching pastors and leaders throughout the country in the areas of leadership, generosity, relationships and self-care.

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Charity Goodwin

With 20 years in ministry, quick wit and practical wisdom, Rev. Charity Goodwin provides dynamic preaching, coaching and facilitation. Her mission is to support Christian leaders to expand their leadership and emotional wellness. Her clients see the following results:  healthier relationships at church and home, they start new groups, worship, churches and they experience an increase in courage. She has a heart for pastors in transition.

Rev. Goodwin serves as the Clayton Site Pastor at The Gathering in St. Louis. She is a coach with Coaching4Clergy. She strengthens her ministry and coaching with certifications from The Daring Way™ where she facilitates groups in the curricula created by Dr. Brené Brown. In addition, she holds Emotional Intelligence (EQ) certifications from Six Seconds. EQ is the learnable, measurable, scientific skills of emotional intelligence. Rev. Goodwin is able to utilize a complete range of assessment tools and reports for individuals and teams.

Goodwin is a Mizzou Journalism graduate. She completed a Master of Divinity from Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. She’s an ordained elder. 

“I firmly believe that my role as a coach is to help pastors hear what God is already speaking. Then support them as they create buy-in and increase their courage to take action within their church, which can oftentimes be stubborn,” she said.

Goodwin enjoys spending time with her two sons Gabriel and Levi cooking and listening to podcasts.

Schedule a free one-on-one at www.charitygoodwin.com.

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Chelsey Hillyer

Chelsey believes in the revolutionary power of interpersonal relationships to shape communities, systems and societies for good.

With passions for social and ecological justice, anti-racism and LGTQ+ advocacy, Chelsey loves to work with leaders who seek to draw the circle wide and live out their deepest values every day.

Chelsey holds a Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. They have served rural, urban and suburban congregations worshiping anywhere from 30 to 400+. They have led congregations to deepened social justice commitments, through major staff reorganizations, into sustainability discernment and through church closure.

Trained by Parker Palmer as a Facilitator with the Center for Courage & Renewal, Chelsey has worked with groups of clergy, congregations, and staff to grow relational trust and deepen resources of courage. Chelsey has completed training with Coaching4Clergy and is currently working toward her Professional Coach Certification with the International Coaching Federation. Their written work and liturgies have appeared in publications such as The New Territory Magazine and United Methodist Disciplines, and Modern Metanoia.

Chelsey lives in Jefferson City, Missouri with their spouse, nine-year old daughter, a guinea pig named Oreo, a dog named Popcorn and a whole mess of compost worms, all named Gary. Chelsey is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. To contact Chelsey or learn more about their work, visit www.amateurefforts.com. Or, schedule a free consultation at https://chelsey-hillyer.youcanbook.me/.

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David Hyatt

“My mission in life is to help pastors, churches and people to actually live their God-given potential.”

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, David received a BA from Vanderbilt University and a Doctor of Ministry from Lexington Theological Seminary (1974). He served six years as an associate in an inner-city church in St. Louis and then twenty years in Manchester, MO, as a Disciples of Christ pastor.

David left the local pastorate and began helping churches in his own business, Effective Ministries Coaching and Consulting in 2003, following two years at Lay Renewal Ministries in St. Louis. He received his initial certification as a Christian Leadership Coach from Valwood in March, 2005. David works now as a full time Coach and Consultant. David helped to develop the Pastoral Leadership Development (PLD) and Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) processes in the Missouri Annual Conference. He was part of a team that trained other Conferences to use the HCI and adapt it to their churches.

David has become involved with Coaching4Clergy, a national coaching organization, led by Rev. Val Hastings, serving as a Trainer for Basic Coach Training, a member of the faculty and a Mentor Coach. He received the Professional Coaching Credential (PCC) from the International Coaching Federation in 2014, the second of three credentials awarded by the ICF. He is active in the St. Louis Chapter of the ICF.

Living in St. Louis, David is married to Bonnie and they have two grown children and two grandchildren in Kansas City. He loves to play golf and support the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

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Jenn Klein

Jenn has served the church for over 20 years in suburban, urban and rural ministry. She is an Elder of the United Methodist Church, a Spiritual Director trained in the Benedictian tradition, a Professional Coach Training Graduate for the Coaching4Clergy program, and Certified Discipleship Coach (Relevant Ministries), MKI coach and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Cohort facilitator with the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Jenn describes herself as a spiritual pilgrim who embraces life as a seeker of God's abiding grace in action and loves sharing that journey with others. Jenn and Rusty have been married for 31 years and have three children. They currently live and serve in Hamilton, Missouri.

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Paul Klepees

Robert "Paul" Klepees was born and raised in rural northwest Missouri. After high school, he worked as a farmhand through nursing school, where he met Hamilton, MO native Margaret "Margie" Ohlberg. The two were married in August of 2011. They are raising three boys, Gibson Dennis, Ezra Owen, Maverick Jaxon, and a daughter Spencer Margaret.

Before answering the call to full-time ministry, Paul worked full-time as an RN Care Manager in a Critical Access Hospital and a part-time pastor. He received his Master of Divinity with a Specialization in Wesleyan Studies at Saint Paul School of Theology. He is also a Commissioned Provisional Elder in the Missouri Annual Conference. He is passionate about Rural churches and is excited about connecting people of all ages, walks of life, and backgrounds to the living God through preaching, teaching, and relationships.

Currently, his appointed Pleasant Grove United Methodist, a growing mid-sized rural congregation, as the Senior Pastor.  He is also currently working toward both his MBA at Dakota Wesleyan University and his certification as an Associate Certified Coach with the ICF.

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Katie Klosterman

When we are connected to our identity as a beloved child of God, we can see and affirm the belovedness of others. This truth is at the heart of my coaching.

After graduating from Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 2011, I have served as an Elder in the Pacific Northwest Conference. During my first appointment as an associate pastor, I hired a coach to help find my voice in preaching and leadership. Coaching helped me have confidence in my inner leader and trust what the Holy Spirit was telling me. I found coaching empowering and affirming of my God given gifts. As a coach, I want to help clergy and church leaders do the same in their ministries and community outreach.

I also have experience serving as a solo pastor of a two-point charge. I am currently appointed as the solo pastor of Browns Point United Methodist Church in Tacoma, Washington. I am a Certified Facilitator in The Daring Way™, a leadership curriculum created by Dr. Brené Brown.

I am currently a coach through the Co-Active Training Institute, which believes that everyone is continually moving on a journey towards transformation. This program is certified through the International Coaching Federation.

As a coach, I assume that people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. My purpose as your coach is to create space for you to discern, reflect and listen to the deepest longings and dreams of your heart. I do that through active listening, asking powerful questions and exploring your values, while also looking at different metaphors in order to let go of limiting perspectives. At the end of the session, I invite my clients to take a next step to hold them accountable to accomplish their goals and dreams.

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Fred Koenig

Fred Koenig has worked for the Missouri Conference of the United Methodist Church for more than 20 years. Before working for the church he was a communications director for a private industry council, a daily newspaper reporter and editor, and served in the Missouri Army National Guard. Through his experiences as a communicator he has been a student of understanding people and how things work so he can help people share their stories with others.

Fred’s desire to help people understand themselves and take the first steps to moving forward motivated him to pursue coaching. He is working toward his Associate Certified Coach certification from the International Coaching Federation.

Fred has been married for 25 years. Camping trips with his wife and two sons have taken them to 49 states. He grew up on a farm in central Missouri. He still owns 160 acres of it that have been in his family since the 1880s. He is currently in the process of restoring its ecosystem to native plants.

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Amy Lippoldt

Rev Amy Lippoldt has been serving local churches in Kansas since 2002. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, and Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Along with offering leadership to local churches, Amy has long been active at the annual conference and general church level. She is currently serving as the chair of the Great Plains Board of Ordained Ministry and was a delegate to both the 2012 and 2016 General Conferences. Amy has a deep interest in leadership development and wants to see all persons, clergy and lay maximize the gifts God has given them. Amy loves seeing people grow and accomplish more than they ever expected! She is a trained coach by an ICF certified program (CAST coaching) and focuses on coaching clergy for effective local church leadership.

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Lia McIntosh

Lia McIntosh is an International Coaching Federation (ICF) certified coach, a United Methodist Church endorsed life coach, a Gallup certified CliftonStrengths coach, author of two books, and program officer for the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri.

She is an ordained United Methodist Church elder and formerly served as a pastor of four congregations and the Associate Director of Congregational Excellence for the Missouri United Methodist Annual Conference.

Lia is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Saint Paul School of Theology with master’s degrees in business (MBA) and Divinity (M. DIV).

Previously, Lia served communities across the Midwest in corporate marketing and specialized in leading, training and coaching employees.

She lives with her husband and three children near Kansas City, Missouri.

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Larry Ousley

Dr. Larry Ousley is the Executive Director of the Intentional Growth Center (IGC). Before coming to IGC in 2000, he served as senior pastor of several large churches in the Holston Conference of the UMC. He is a life coach recognized through the International Coach Federation (ICF) as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) in 2004 and as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) in 2010.  Larry is also an Endorsed Life Coach by the United Methodist Endorsing Agency, is a Certified Organizational Relationship Systems Coach (ORSCC), and is a faculty member for an ICF approved international coaching school. Recently, Larry earned the status as a Certified Mentor Coach with the ICF. He is an author of the anthology Ministry 3.0: How today’s church leaders are using coaching to transform ministry. Larry has led approximately 12 long-term group leadership coaching projects, several Shifts coaching groups, and has over 2,000 hours of experience coaching pastors, district superintendents, conference staff persons, church staffs, and conference staffs. He is often called upon to customize programs involving training and coaching. E.G. In 2014-2015, he created a training/coaching program for all new large church pastors and another group for all new mid-size church pastors in the North Alabama Conference of the UMC. These began with him leading a three-day retreat and following up with coaching each affinity group through group coaching by telephone to assist them in best practices in their first year in the new size church.

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Geoff Posegate

Geoff Posegate is a retired elder in the Missouri Conference, having served 43 as a solo pastor, lead pastor, and executive pastor. Geoff’s ministry has focused on evangelism, church growth, discipleship development, and leadership development. He was the Conference’s 2012 clergy recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. Geoff was featured in chapter six of Paul Nixon’s book, We Refused to Lead a Dying Church!

Through the Center for Congregational Excellence, Geoff has served as a teacher, peer ministry leader, coach, and consultant for pastors and churches throughout the state since 2007. 

Geoff is a professional coach training graduate of the Coaching4Clergy program, under the direction of Val Hastings. He carries Associate Certified Coach credentials from the International Coach Federation.

Geoff and his spouse Elaine have three children, two “children-in-law”, and five grandchildren. They live in West Plains, Missouri, in the south central Missouri Ozark hills. Geoff enjoys stream fishing, canoeing and kayaking, power-walking, and reading historical novels.

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Roger Ross

A native of Cambridge, Illinois, Roger has served as a pastor in Texas, the British Channel Island of Guernsey, and Illinois. He has been involved in planting two new churches and served for 10 years as senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Illinois.

In July of 2017, Roger became the Director of Congregational Excellence in the Missouri Conference where he leads a team responsible for creating new places for new people and transforming existing churches across Missouri. Roger has been coaching pastors and leaders for over 15 years and is currently pursuing his Associate Coach Certification with the International Coach Federation. He is the author of Meet The Goodpeople: Wesley’s 7 Ways to Share Faith and Come Back: Returning to the Life You Were Made For, both by Abingdon Press.

Roger is married to Leanne Klein Ross, and they have two adult children, Zach and Jane. He loves spending time with family, reading, SCUBA diving, and traveling in different cultures. He also has a weakness for golf.

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Rick Saylor

Originally from Pennsylvania, I spent most of my ministry as a United Methodist Clergy in Kansas. In my 42 years of ministry I was blessed to serve in a variety of contexts including appointments to: hospital chaplaincy, pastor of small town and county seat churches, associate pastor of large urban church, senior pastor of multiple staff large city church, and as a District Superintendent for eight years.

Each appointment taught me about the importance of context as well as the on-going journey of gaining new skills in ministry. And in it all I have come to believe the basic journey of ministry happens in relationship.

In 2016, I, along with my clergy spouse Janet Maxwell, retired to Kansas City, Missouri. In retirement I am focusing on a ministry of encouragement, which includes serving as a clergy and congregational coach. I received ICF coach training in Coach Approach Skill Training from Chris Holmes as well as coach training for the Readiness 360 program. Also I am part of a denominational pilot program developing training in Reflective Supervision. I currently provide coaching to pastors and congregations in the Great Plains Annual Conference. My compass in coaching is the belief that all of us are “creative, resourceful and whole.” And as a coach I seek to walk alongside others in exploring, strategizing and acting on one’s hopes and dreams in ministry and life’s journey.

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Melanie Smollen

Melanie Smollen is a full-time Missional Strategist with the Center for Congregational Excellence in the Missouri Conference. Her primary focus is to help church planters create New Places for New People and equip existing churches with resources and support for transformation. She finds great joy in coaching leaders to leverage their strengths, build productive relationships, gain clarity about goals, and lead with confidence. Melanie recently completed Professional Coach Training through Coaching4Clergy and is working toward her Associate Coach Certification with the International Coach Federation.

Before coming on staff with the Missouri Conference, Melanie spent the last 12 years as the founder and president of Faith Perceptions; a church consulting firm best known for the Mystery Guest Program that gathered the first impressions of over 10,000 first-time guests. Melanie used this research to help hundreds of churches create welcoming first impressions and has spoken at numerous events on best practices for hospitality. Over the last decade, her work has been featured in numerous Christian publications, blogs, podcasts and articles.

Melanie lives in Cape Girardeau with the love of her life, Paul, who is in full-time ministry at La Croix Church. They are parents to four kids, two dogs and a cat. Away from the office, she enjoys hiking, running, gardening, and cooking up a big meal for her family and friends.

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Terri Swan

Rev. Terri Swan serves as senior pastor at Salem United Methodist Church, with campuses in Ladue and South St. Louis. Terri was born and raised in southern Illinois. She earned her undergraduate degree in counseling in 1999 from Texas A&M University-Commerce. While working in youth and children’s ministry for First United Methodist Church in Marshall, Texas, Terri received the call to ministry and began her theological training. She graduated cum laude from Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology and was commissioned to ordained ministry by the North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church in 2006. In Texas, Terri served as associate pastor at Stonebridge United Methodist Church, and in February 2007, she became the founding pastor of The Bridge, a contemporary worship experience at Stonebridge. In 2008, Terri was appointed as Associate Pastor at Salem and was ordained as a full elder in 2009. A little more than two years later, Rev. Robert Schnase, who was then the Bishop of Missouri Conference, appointed her Senior Pastor at Salem UMC. Terri has served as a guest instructor on evangelism at Eden Seminary and is a leader within the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, where she currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, the body that enlists and recruits ordained clergy into the process of education, training and ordination for ministry.
Rev. Swan was awarded the 2013 Religious Leadership Award from the St. Louis Community Empowerment Foundation. She is an active supporter of humanitarian causes in the Saint Louis Community. Variety Children’s Charity, the American Heart Association and the Red Cross have all been touched by Terri’s love and leadership. Terri is a servant-leader who has nurtured partnerships between Salem and several service agencies in St. Louis and beyond, including LifeWise — St Louis, Epworth Children and Family Services, and the Costa Rica Missions Project. She has played an integral role in the work of LifeWise — St. Louis, a social services agency in the City of St. Louis with close ties to the United Methodist Church that helps thousands yearly to achieve self-sufficiency and gain economic independence. She served on the LifeWise Board for four years. Terri now serves on the Board at Central Methodist University.
Terri has been married to her husband, Joe for 39 years. Together, they have two daughters and four grandchildren.

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Keith Vessell

With wisdom from the secular and religious worlds, Keith Vessell’s heart for coaching overlaps with his experience in social work and religion. He provides practical wisdom and support while encouraging you to take the next right step for you and your goals.

Keith is an active clergy member of the United Methodist Church and a licensed social worker. He is also certified in Project Management by the State of Missouri. These tools come together such that Keith can provide a unique experience of coaching for people from all walks of life - church and non-churched.

Keith is a natural leader who knows the right questions and the right time to listen.
Keith and his wife Molly live in Marshall, Missouri, where they are serving in ministry, corralling their pets and making their children’s eyes roll. When not working, Keith enjoys keeping up with the latest music releases and tinkering with the guitar.

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Jim Voigt

Pastor Jim Voigt has been in ministry with the United Methodist Church for over 25 years. He began his ministry as a Youth Director at Ashland UMC in St. Joseph, Missouri, while he was still in school at Missouri Western State University. During his eight years there, he married his wife of over 20 years, Kim. Several years later their daughter, Alexis, was born who will begin her Senior year at Battle High School in Columbia this August. They are a close family and enjoy spending time together outdoors. They love kayaking, paddle boarding, boating and fishing together on the lakes and rivers of Missouri. Their favorite summer destinations are Gulf Shores, Alabama, or Florida, where they enjoy time on the beach together.

Pastor Jim received his Masters of Divinity from Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, in 2009. He has served as a senior pastor, associate pastor, church plant pastor and youth director in small, medium and large sized churches. He received his Certification in Nonprofit and Church Leadership from Dakota Wesleyan University. He is also an advanced certified coach and teacher of both the Enneagram and the Grip-Birkman leadership assessment tools. He has led workshops and provided coaching for many churches and organizations in the last three years to help both pastors and laity lead out of a stronger sense of who God has designed and equipped them to be. Jim is working towards completing his Associate Coaching Certification with the International Coaching Federation and looks forward to serving pastors and ministry leaders through the Enneagram, the Grip-Birkman or general coaching sessions.

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