Clergy Peer Learning

We Journey Together

How can we flourish in ministry, not just for the short-term but over the long run? We journey together! Studies conducted in more than 40 countries around the world have found that positive, caring, nurturing relationships are among the most important conditions to maintain well-being. Research also suggests that clergy in peer groups are more likely to lead congregations in building a culture of engagement with high levels of congregational involvement. In fact, 77 percent of clergy report better health when other clergy intentionally support them. Peer learning binds people together, breaks isolation, increases trust, and enhances leadership and our common sense of mission.

Because we are better in connection to one another, the Minnesota Conference has a goal of every clergy person journeying with peers through a covenant group. Our commitment is to support and resource this journey.

The Minnesota Conference offers two formats for covenant groups:

Option 1: Peer covenant groups

These are best when they annually examine their covenant and either re-commit to it or find new expressions that meet their needs. We offer resources for developing your group covenant, leading and facilitating your peer group, and potential learning content for your group to incorporate. Each year, covenant group leaders and participants are encouraged to attend a reSource retreat as new groups are formed and existing groups discern and update their covenant.

Next step: Please take five minutes to fill out this online survey and we’ll send your peer covenant group a check for $25 that you can use as the first of many resources we’d like to provide to your group. Use the money to buy everyone in your group coffee for your next gathering, a book or resource to share, or whatever the group feels they might need! We want to find out how we can help make your experience as part of a peer covenant group even more life-giving.

Option 2: Peer coaching circles

 Coaching is a way of being together that focuses on asking powerful questions and opening up possibilities for one another. Peer coaching circles are covenant groups designed to grow your own coaching skills by practicing in a peer group or circle. The Minnesota Conference offers six-month peer coaching circles facilitated by an external coach who introduces coaching skills and practices in a workshop and then facilitates the coaching circle over the next six months.  

Next step: Dive deeper with a peer coaching circle.

On Oct. 8, with your peer covenant group, attend an orientation session that introduces coaching practices, like asking powerful questions and exploring how to open up possibilities to one another. After this session, each circle will meet monthly over a six-month period. Each coaching circle includes reflection, sharing, support, and accountability. Circle members will learn and practice coaching skills while being coached themselves.  

These circles are facilitated by Executive Coach and Trainer Debbie Okerlund, who has extensive experience partnering with non-profit executives, managers, and educators to navigate changes and grow leadership.

The cost is $225. This includes the workshop with lunch and materials, plus six months of facilitated peer coaching. Learn more and sign up.


If you have questions about clergy peer learning or wish to learn more, contact:

Jody Thone, Director of Leadership Development
612-230-6134 /

Cullen Tanner, Connectional Ministries Project Coordinator
612-230-6138 / 

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058