What Sustains Excellence in Ministry?

What Sustains Excellence in Ministry?

By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning

The power of peer-group learning is explored in the book by Brenda Harwood, D. Bruce Roberts, and others, So Much Better: How Thousands of Pastors Help Each Other Thrive.” The book presents findings from the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Peer Learning Project, with contributions from a variety of denominations and educational and church institutions.

One key finding is that excellence in ministry is a product of a sustained commitment to lifelong learning. The book identifies the ways peer learning groups promote personal and professional growth. These include the following specific practices (p. 171):

If you are a part of a peer learning group, that checklist can be a helpful evaluative tool. How many, and how well, does your peer learning group practice the elements on the list? If you are starting a peer learning group the list can be helpful for establishing parameters for a peer learning covenant.

The Center for Lifelong Learning offers two peer-learning opportunities through its Pastoral Excellence Programs. The Leadership in Ministry workshops, meeting on the campus of Columbia Theological Seminary (and in the spring of 2017 meeting in three other locations: Portland OR, Lost River WV, and Boston MA) uses a coached peer-learning model using Bowen Systems Theory as a theory of practice for ministry. The Colloquy to Mid-Career Clergy is a peer-learning experience for those in ministry at least 15 years.

Join us for these “so much better” personal and professional growth experiences!


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