Christian Life Coaching for Pastors, Ministers, Clergy, and Lay Leadership

Please call me to confidentially discuss your needs:  937-456-6817

Where do pastors, priests, ministers, and other ministry leaders go when they need to discuss a ministry or personal situation?

Having pastored for 20 years, I know this question may be a real concern. You may not want your congregation, organization, or denominational leadership to know about your situation because of potential negative career consequences. You may be seeking personalized skills training for ministry or personal life.

I offer private, confidential coaching by phone (or in-person in southwest Ohio/southeast Indiana) for anyone doing ministry.

Christian life skills coaching is a training ministry that offers a better alternative to counseling for most people. I can help you clarify your situation and goals, develop a plan for success, and help you improve or learn needed skills. I teach people how to apply God's biblical principles and skills. For more information, please see my page about life skills coaching.

We can address most issues you face, including, but not limited to:

  • Ministry

    • Congregational or ministry development and growth.
    • Dealing with conflict and other situations.
    • Seeking God’s will/direction and other issues of spiritual direction.
    • Balancing life while doing ministry.
    • How to create a disciple making ministry based on Jesus’ model.
    • Training in leadership and other practical skills for ministry, including how to do counseling and mentoring.
    • Personal mission and vision.
    • Strategic planning for personal ministry.
  • Personal

    • Fix and build marriages and relationships of any kind (if only one person is willing to work, I can coach that person as successfully as working with both).
    • Train how to overcome an obstacle to the Abundant Life: grief, anger, depression, anxiety, self-destructive habits, addictions, over-eating, shyness, etc. Teach healing for painful memories and broken hearts.
    • Help anyone to know God’s will for their lives and hear his voice (spiritual direction).
    • Teach people to have more love, joy, and peace—all of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
    • Teach people to fully become the persons God made them to be (disciple making).
    • Instruct folks to avoid life’s problems (preventive coaching).
    • Teach people with a chronic or life-threatening illness or disorder to overcome it, or find peace and joy living with the illness.

Issues I refer to others

I refer people with any mental disorder that causes marked impairment in their lives to therapists and physicians. I am not a financial planner or attorney, so I refer folks who are seeking investment and retirement planning or legal counsel. Please call me if you have a question about whether I can help you or a loved one, or click here to see my page on this topic.

“Mark simply and profoundly offered me a safe place to unpack my thoughts and feelings and gain some much-needed clarity.  I wholeheartedly recommend Mark Gardner as a Christian Life Coach and Spiritual Director.”

--Rev. Eric C. Anspaugh, Senior Pastor Florin Church of the Brethren, Mount Joy, PA

My Qualifications


  • Pastor or associate pastor of 4 congregations, small to large-sized (20 years, full and part-time)
  • Christian mental health psychotherapist and addictions counselor in these settings: private practice, community mental health center, hospice, churches (13 years, full and part-time)
  • Master Christian life skills coach and disciple maker
  • Inner-city social worker (adult protective services case manager, 3.5 years)
  • U.S. naval officer supervising up to 60 people and managing multi-million dollar systems and inventories (4 years)
  • Co-founder of a Habitat for Humanity county affiliate and a county domestic violence roundtable

Education & Training

  • B.A., psychology and general management
  • M.Ministry, focusing on congregational ministry, counseling, and spiritual direction, and including one basic unit of clinical pastoral education (CPE): 500 hours training as a hospital chaplain
  • Disciple-making and missions training (55 hours) through the Summer Institute of Xenos Christian Fellowship, Columbus, Ohio (draws nearly 4,000 annually from North America and beyond)
  • U.S. Navy officer training: leadership, training, staff supervision; and organizational, physical plant, and material management
  • Coursework in a master of social work program

"Mark is God-focused, professional, and genuinely wants to see others grow spiritually and mature.  He listens to me, is comfortable and easy to talk to, but can be tough when needed (but gentle when doing it).  He has a real concern and love for people.  I would say to anyone considering coaching to go and investigate it and try it out for more than two sessions."

--Ministry lay leader and pastor's wife, Ohio


If you have a question about whether I can help you

or someone you know, please contact me confidentially:

I work with people nationally and internationally by phone,

or in my Eaton, Ohio office.


Monday-Thursday 10 am-7 pm and Friday 10 am-5 pm (EDT)

(24-hour private voicemail)