Seaborn Nesbett: Catching Leadership Fever

Date Posted: 2/26/2015

In recent months retiree, Seaborn Nesbett has expanded from a local leadership focus to join a handful of other clergy and lay leaders on the Vibrant Church Initiative and AKDAR Team.
Retired banker Seaborn Nesbett is no stranger to change. “During my career in the banking industry,” he shares, “I experienced many changes brought about by internal and external forces. That’s why I have thoroughly enjoyed my leadership training recently through the Texas Annual Conference to help churches be proactive about changes that will promote a new sense of hope and renewal.”
Seaborn describes himself simply as ”a Methodist, and a disciple of Jesus Christ with a sincere desire to use my God-given talents to help churches become more effective in carrying out the mission of the United Methodist Church: making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

“One of my gifts is being supportive,” adds Seaborn, “and I cannot think of any greater honor than to help pastors and their congregations focus on reaching out to their communities by showing God's love through Jesus Christ.” He discovered this opportunity to expand from local lay leadership support to that of conference-wide involvement when his home church, Pollard Memorial UMC, Tyler was selected as one of the initial churches to participate in the Vibrant Church Initiative (VCI).  Notes Seaborn, “During our VCI weekend in early 2014, I personally began to realize that the old way of doing church that I had grown up with was not necessarily the most effective way to reach people today, particularly those that did not know about Christ and His saving grace. Through the VCI process, I learned that all churches have a life cycle, and that over time a church can become stagnant in its ministry and lose focus even though it may continue to be a comfortable place to gather and worship.”
Through hands-on involvement in Pollard Memorial’s VCI experience, Seaborn quickly became hooked on the idea of being a part of the training that prepares leaders to serve on a VCI team.” In a matter of weeks, Seaborn signed on for training to be a VCI leader. “I felt that the conference needed me most as a Directive Coach since there are numerous churches lined up for participation in VCI. Following training, I was an observer during two VCI weekends at First UMC, Canton and Fairwood UMC, Tyler.” Seaborn will step into his new role as a Directive Coach in mid March.
Taking Leadership to the Next Level
Becoming a Directive Coach was just part of Seaborn’s zestful pursuit of leadership training. He’s also just completed three days of change management training to become one of 12 volunteers who have agreed to serve on the Texas Annual Conference “ADKAR TEAM.”
Explains Seaborn, “ADKAR is a change management process that promises to aid in the transformation of churches. This proactive approach uses the first initials of the key steps by creating an Awareness of the need for change, helping develop a Desire in the leadership of the church to support change, provide the pastor and church leaders Knowledge and understanding of how to change, and then offering church leaders the Ability to implement changes in line with their mission and vision. As changes occur, Reinforcement and further encouragement will be offered to strengthen and sustain the desired changes.”
According to Dr. Jesse Brannen, Director of the TAC Center for Congregational Excellence, “Seaborn Nesbett is a model leader who jumps into leadership opportunities with both feet and extraordinary enthusiasm.” He says the ADKAR team is made up of 12 lay and clergy leaders who are willing to learn how to facilitate this change management method through the VCI process and in other ways that will help TAC churches through any change that is needed. “I am genuinely grateful for this group of volunteers who are sacrificing personal time to learn how to leverage this tool for the sake of more effective disciple-making,” adds Jesse. Rev. Curtis Matthys, Deborah Vaughn, Jan Harp, Rev. Jim Flagg, John Fuller, Rev. Karen Jones, Rev. Katy Ware, Ken Lewis, Rev. Lance Richard, Rev. Peter Cammarano, and Rev. Sean Duffin join Seaborn on the ADKAR Team.
Seaborn is excited to have a proven tool to offer churches. He adds, “ADKAR recognizes that with practically any change there will be resistance since we as individuals generally prefer the status quo. This proactive approach to change and the anticipated resistance to change will hopefully lead to successful transformation of our churches. As coaches, we are to encourage pastors and their leaders as they work through the transformation process. We also become resource persons for specialized guidance that is available through the Conference.”
Leadership has its rewards
“Certainly the rewards I see include helping churches become more effective in their ministry by sharing God's love to their community and being the best they can be,” he says. “Being a small part of bringing an individual to Christ is both exciting and very gratifying. I personally feel a deep gratitude for my salvation and believe that God wants me to be active in His work.”
Two of his favorite books include: The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?  By Rick Warren and Half Time: Moving from Success to Significance by Bob Buford. “One of my spiritual gifts is the gift of support which I feel led to pursue. The 30+ years in banking involved helping others achieve their dreams. What better way to leave a legacy than to be a part of leading others to Christ.”