“I have a greater sense of self — being able to be the pastor God has called me to be…”
—A CARE group participant
Is this you?
As a pastor, does it sometimes feel like you’re on your own, with the concerns and the pressures of leading a faith community weighing on your emotional, mental, physical, and, yes, even spiritual health?
Do you wish you had peers with whom you could share ideas, frustrations, aspirations and to whom you could turn to explore questions and challenges of faith, call and leadership as you strive to transform your ministry from a congregation of members to one of disciples?
Are you seeking to share an accessible and safe environment of support and understanding with those on similar journeys as yours?
If the answer is yes…
An online Hope Partnership CARE peer group may be what – and who – you need to be the effective leader that God has called you to be.
What are CARE groups?
Using “Zoom!,” an online meeting platform, you and other pastors enjoy the benefits of participating in regular peer group gatherings at an affordable cost and without having to invest in large amounts of travel and meeting time.
Facilitated by trained and experienced hosts, CARE groups of six to eight pastors from various locations meet online once a month for a year. Meetings last about 90 minutes at a cost per individual of $50/meeting or $600/year.
How will CARE groups be organized?
Groups may be convened either around broad topics or themes, such as self-care, local church transformation or theological reflection, or around more specific interests or demographics, such as church planting, immigration issues, church relocation or approaching retirement.
Other themes or cohorts may include:
- Entrepreneurial ministry
- Rediscovering my “why”
- After New Beginnings
- After Mission Pathways
- After Epiphany
- Revising your future story
- Social justice
- New pastors
- Recent seminary graduates
- Leading a racial/ethnic congregation
- Thriving churches
Offerings are based on host availability and participant demand.
How might you benefit from joining a CARE group?
Benefits are as numerous and varied as participants themselves!
- A safe space to share
- Self care and renewal
- Peer bonding and camaraderie
- Ideas and resources for improving ministries
- Intellectual challenges
- A recharge of “spiritual batteries”
- Discovering ways to renew commitment to ministry
- Revitalization of body, mind and spirit
- Clarity of goals and limitations
- Reconnection with vibrant and hopeful calls to ministry
- Discovery of creative and spiritual community
- Peer support and networking opportunities
- Empowering engagement
Where can I learn more about the effectiveness of peer groups?
- “A Study of the Effects of Participation in SPE Pastoral Leaders Peer Groups”
- “Sustaining Pastoral Excellence: A Progress Report on a Lilly Endowment Initiative”
- William Snyder: Cultivating communities
- Peer groups change the work of denominational officials
- Clergy support groups – what do they look like and what is their impact?
What do others say about Hope Partnership CARE groups?
“I’m more willing to risk; more secure within myself; willing to allow others to lead; open to other views.”
“I have adopted more of a coaching point of view. It is more important for the church folk to feel safe expressing their ideas than it is for me to get my way. I ask more questions, get them to think more and share more.”
“It became a more important part of my pastoral identity and role than I anticipated .”
“I am much more willing to share my challenges and problems with other clergy to get their opinion and their advice. I often leave with a real sense of purpose and even an action plan.”
“…that my identity is not tied to the people of our church. I think I can love them better from this place.”
“I am better at seeing the larger picture…in both my life and in a church or group.”
“Meeting as a peer group is a strengthening relational aspect that will continue to provide support and ideas. This is a good idea that has merits.”
Want more information?