Soul Leaders is a clergy peer group program being developed by the Minnesota Conference. Clergy peer groups provide an opportunity for spiritual sustainment, ongoing learning, and mutual accountability.
At this time, it consists of a five-retreat series that offers active clergy an opportunity to reconnect with their passion and purpose; explore issues related to heart, courage, and call; and help their congregations embrace God-sized dreams. Participants are part of a cohort of 20 to 25 colleagues and are gently, yet thoughtfully, led by two excellent facilitators who have been trained by the Center for Courage and Renewal. The retreats use a “circle of trust” approach developed by author and educator Parker Palmer. Using poetry, readings, and other content introduced by the facilitators, participants lean in to listening to their own voice and discerning the movement of the Spirit to gain clarity about how and where God is calling them to lead and which God-sized dream they are being called to pursue in their ministry setting. All retreats include time for journaling, listening to one another, building community, and silence—and each retreat builds on the previous one. The retreats begin with dinner on Monday evening and conclude with lunch on Wednesday. The current retreat series started in February 2016.
• May 16-18
• September 19-21
• November 7-9
• March 6-8
*Additionally, there will be a phone coaching session in July, December, January, and February.
Cost: $2,100 (includes lodging and facilitation); it can be paid over two years
To apply for the Soul Leaders retreat series, you must have completed a Soul Leaders introductory (sampler) retreat or a similar courage-to-lead experience. Sampler retreats are typically offered each fall, and the cost is $200 for food and lodging. This retreat provides a valuable time apart and will assist participating clergy in discerning whether the full retreat series would be a good fit at this time in their ministry. This page will be updated with detailed information when registration opens for the next sampler retreat.
To attend: If you are interested in attending the next sampler retreat or applying for the full retreat series, Dreaming a God-Sized Dream, e-mail Barb Hummel (one of the facilitators) with a short statement about your interest, hopes, and expectations for participation. If you have questions about Soul Leaders, e-mail Director of Ministries Cindy Gregorson.
“Soul Leaders helped me search deep within for those ideas and God-sized dreams that might be hidden away, and then grow the courage to speak them aloud to truly supportive colleagues. Now that my group of Soul Leaders has concluded, I’m taking steps to help my idea (an intercultural and interfaith program to prepare children for kindergarten) find its wings and take flight. And if I run into a roadblock, I’ve got a number of Soul Leaders to call on to help me find my courage again to press on.”
—Rev. Carol Zaagsma, Portland Avenue UMC (Bloomington)
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church