What Sustains Excellence in Ministry?
July 11, 2016—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):
- Gathering regularly for prayer and worship
- Examining each other’s leadership activities
- Analyzing congregational contexts
- Identifying points of needed knowledge or skill
- Designing or engaging in appropriate learning activities
- Practicing what is learned in leadership initiatives
- Evaluating the results for new educational directions.
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.
By Israel Galindo, Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning and Director of Online Education
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 three other locations: Portland OR, Lynchburg VA, and Boston MA) uses a coached peer-learning model using Bowen Systems Theory as a theory of practice for ministry. The Colloquy for Clergy Series is a peer-learning experience for those already in ministry.
Join us for these “so much better” personal and professional growth experiences!