By: Cindy Gregorson
Are you hungry for a community of peer support and learning? Do you sense that your ministry is requiring all your passion, creativity, energy, and courage to lead your congregation, and want to be with a group of folks who are leaning into ministry with full hearts, where you can celebrate the joys, honestly name the challenges, and dream some new dreams with one another? Do you long to be deeply known, prayed for, and encouraged to be the leader God intends you to be? Then it may be time for a Clergy Compass Covenant Group.
This is a cohort of seven to 12 clergy, led by one of your peers who has received intentional training to be a guide to your group process. We call them compass groups because they are about helping us find our way as leaders where we are true to ourselves, faithful to the call of God, and aimed in the right direction given our missional context. They are covenant groups because you create the covenant of how you will be and what you will learn. It is the covenant you create that will guide and shape your group.
So how do you find a group? Click here and you will find the names of those who will be the Compass Guides for the 2016-17 year. If you are interested in being in a group with a particular leader, send them an email or give them a call, and have a discernment conversation with them about what you are seeking and the group they are forming to discover if this is a best fit for and the group in this season. This is an invitational process, and the group guides will be forming the groups either through inviting others to be in their group or by people expressing interest to them.
Compass Covenant Group participants are expected to make a commitment of attending the covenanting retreat which is an offsite for at least 24 hours, and then a monthly gathering. There will be a jubilee next summer during which groups and participants will be free to choose whether to continue on together or move on to something else. So it is not a forever commitment, but it an “all in” priority for the season you are together.
The formation window is until Aug. 31, and then groups will launch, and be closed for the year until the jubilee and re-covenanting time next July.
Why clergy peer groups? In Acts 2, the early church committed themselves to the life together. We believe it is at the heart of our spiritual life “to do life together” and through research and experience, people grow in their practice of ministry, and are sustained best through being with a peer group. The hope of the Bishop and Cabinet is that every clergy will choose to be in an intentional cohort group throughout their ministry. When you first enter ministry, we shape you in that model through the Clergy Leadership Academy. We want that to continue for a lifetime. We know the season of your ministry may call you to different cohort groups: perhaps a transformational process such as MCCI, or it might be Soul Leaders Retreat series, or it may be a group you created and formed for mutual prayer and encouragement. The Clergy Compass Covenant Groups are one more option for those who are ready for intentional peer group process rooted in a circle of trust, focusing on how it is with your soul and how can we grow together in our practice of ministry. Perhaps this is just what you have been yearning for, and good news, they are ready for you.
Rev. Cindy Gregorson is director of ministries for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church