Communities of Practice
Clergy centered communities of encouragement, learning & support that nourish body, mind & spirit.
Regardless of ministry setting, clergy face unique challenges and discover holy joy as a part of their work. And yet, it can be difficult to find community where people understand the unique nature of the work of ministry. God calls us to this holy and sacred service, but God does not expect us to do this work alone. Communities of Practice allow clergy to find community, understanding and encouragement.
Why join a Community of Practice?
If you are wondering if a community of practice would be an important addition to your life in ministry, consider these questions:
- Where do you turn for support and encouragement in the midst of challenges in ministry? Do you have a network of supportive colleagues?
- Who in your network both supports you and challenges you to grow?
- Who do you trust to offer prayer and presence as you process the work of ministry?
- Who do call to celebrate the success and joys of ministry, whether they are minor or monumental?
- How do you nurture your spiritual and leadership development?
The challenge for clergy is often how to find ways to be continually renewed in their own faith and practices. Communities of Practice (COP) are groups focused on support and learning. These groups are gathered around parameters such as ministry setting, geography and length of service. Some groups will gather in person and others will hold conversations using virtual meeting technology.
"My Clergy Community of Practice is a lifeline for me. The members of my group serve as valuable resources for ministry, sharing wisdom and best practices from their own ministry settings. They support me as a pastor and as a person, giving me space to share about the joys and challenges of ministry as well as life outside the church. I’m forever grateful to have these companions on the journey."
~ Rev. Jennie Barrett Siegal
Intentional Support & Learning
While each COP is unique in some ways, they all have some common intentions:
- Share information, insight and advice around case studies or situations in participant's own settings
- Ponder common issues, explore ideas and act as sounding boards to colleagues
- Feel a bond in learning and spiritual support together
- Create environments for intentional learning where each perspective can be heard
- Develop a common body of knowledge, practices, and approaches
- Develop personal relationships with colleagues
- Provide spiritual discernment and prayerful support to one another
Each COP is facilitated by a clergy colleague who receives specialized training and financial support in their role. COP Facilitators are charged with keeping the group’s calendar, lifting up the mutually created covenant, providing hospitality, and creating worship for the group, as well as facilitating the conversations. Participation fees help cover the cost of the facilitator's stipend and the group hospitality budget.
What type of group is right for you?
New Clergy Groups
New Clergy Groups (NCG) are specifically for those who have been serving in ministry for three years or less. Each NCG is facilitated by a seasoned clergy person who has been specially selected and trained to lead the group. With many clergy at risk of leaving ministry within the first five years, these groups offer extra support and resources to help new clergy adjust to the challenges of ministry and process situations and circumstances as they arise in their setting.
With several denominations participating in the Together We Thrive Initiative, it is likely that groups will be ecumenical, with clergy from the Together We Thrive partner denominations and perhaps beyond. This will add a unique richness to these groups.
There is a participation fee for joining a group each program year; the fee is invoiced yearly and is pro-rated in the beginning based on when you join the program. The fee can be paid in full or payment schedules are available. Often pastors use funds from their continuing education budget or request their setting cover part of the cost.
Fee: $150 per person per program year.
Clergy Communities of Practice
The Clergy Communities of Practice (CCOP) are groups for those who have been serving in ministry for more than three years. With the leadership of the Facilitator, groups are free to determine their schedule and format, allowing the experience to be tailored to the needs of the participants in that group. Some groups have met for a couple of hours each month, while others have met every 6 weeks and had a "retreat" at the start or end of the program year. Groups that gather virtually are encouraged to meet in person at least once each year. It is likely that groups will be ecumenical with clergy from the Together We Thrive partner denominations and perhaps beyond.
The facilitator for each group is a clergy colleague who has been selected based on their leadership skills and gifts for small group facilitation. Facilitators are often recommended for the role by colleagues or judicatory staff.
The participation fee for joining a CCOP group is invoiced on a pro-rated basis as you join a group. The fee can be paid in full or payment schedules are available.
Fee: $250 per person per program year.
"My New Clergy group was key to my confidence and my success in those early years of my ordained ministry. I looked forward to those monthly meetings every time and the facilitator was generous with her time and wisdom, even outside our gathering times."
~ Rev. Heather Ramsey Mabrouk
Ready to jump in?
Together We Thrive sponsored groups will be forming on an on-going basis as more registrations are submitted. If you are interested in becoming part of a Community of Practice, please complete the registration form below. Please be sure to answer all the questions on the registration so that we can place you in the best possible group for you. If you would prefer to be a part of a group that is outside your immediate area, please include that in the box labeled "notes."
CCOP Facilitator's Report: macucc-reg.brtapp.com/TWTCCOPFacRep