I have received support, wisdom and practical guidance from the process we use with the Cornerstone Pastor’s Network curriculum and structure for our meetings. We always have a question that helps us get to know each other more and our ministries but in a way that refreshes our call to ministry. Then we learn about a new organizational or leadership skill or soul care practice and finally share in a GPS or discernment for one of the group and a situation they need our discernment.
We often call or e-mail each other in-between meetings to see how we are doing personally in the areas we shared about and then ask each other for resources in areas we talked about. For example, one of us really needed a sabbatical and he was helped by one of us meeting individually and saying that they weren’t out of gas (not needing just a fresh wind) in ministry but out of oil (needing to do life and ministry sustainably).
The greatest gift I have received is a process for thinking through and dealing with the challenges of ministry. It helps to state problems, think about consequences of dealing/not dealing with them, and brainstorm practical solutions. The wonderful thing about this process is that it is also something I can share with my leaders and members of my congregation to help them name and face up to their own challenges.
These meetings are a way of sharpening one another as pastors. We ask hard questions, we take on hard problems. The mixture of experience and youth and our various personalities help to sharpen our pastoral abilities and sensibilities. We are affirmed by being challenged.
It has provided me with a community of pastors who know me, my ministry style and my ministry context. They will be able to continue to provide wisdom and counsel as we continue to meet together on a monthly basis.
The system the group uses is really great! The tools we learn to utilize to process our group are very helpful to bring back to use in the local church as well.
I am currently involved in three groups of Covenant pastors; our district, a local group I’ve been meeting with for over 12 years, and this one. While each has its place, this group seems to have the best focus and purpose. We know what to expect, there are components of learning, ministry assistance, and personal connection. I really love this group!
Sr. Pastor, Keith Robinson, Riverwood Covenant Church, M
I have gained a safe place and group to be transparent with ministry challenges. I have a sounding board for navigating difficult situations, and am gaining a lot from the collective wisdom of the other pastors. There is a good mix of ages — both younger pastors and seasoned pastors — to gain various perspectives from.
Practically, we are using the Cornerstone Pastor’s Network curriculum to guide our gatherings. The GPS exercise is the most helpful which focuses all of us on helping one person navigate a ministry challenge, offering practical suggestions and then
holding them accountable (next time we gather) for taking action and not avoiding difficult situations. Our conversations have a good blend of both practical ministry strategies and personal soul care issues. These guys have become indispensable
friends and I don’t know how I have gone so long without a group like this. Our group is forming friendships that offer support well beyond talking ministry. We are sharing our lives together, and starting to encourage one another in our personal pursuits, family health, etc. For example, I just went back to school for doctoral studies, and it was nice to have this group sharing in my excitement and acting as cheerleaders as I begin this new journey. Another member of the group is questioning the sustainability of his current call / role, and taking a sabbatical to gain clarity and direction. We were able to offer some suggestions and support in this critical moment.
We have gained so much by this group, and we’ve still only hardly begun. I know we will continue to strengthen bonds and deepen our times together. I hope we will get away together overnight for a weekend retreat as well soon for an even richer
This time was wonderfully supportive and enriching. To have people that “get it” you meet with often for prayer, support and encouragement is priceless. The format we use helps us dig into certain topics or questions and also has a formational component with it. I have been a part of a lot of pastors groups. This group and the format of this group by far has
been the most valuable.
Every meeting I gain wisdom from the group in our “gps” process (a tool in the Cornerstone Pastors Network)that helps process key issues in life/ministry. Along with the encouragement I gain, I also feel I have gained true ministry friends who are helping me take care of myself so I can do this vital work and be less prone to burn out.
The group has a diverse crew of well-seasoned pastors and newer pastors and we learn from each other and keep each other fresh. I love that it is inter-generational. I would love to see this framework and some of the tools from the Cornerstone Pastor’s network shared across our denomination. It’s the right amount of tools mixed with the right amount of time and dialogue that seems to create the right balance in these meetings to truly help develop and care for one another. Again, I have been in many pastors’ groups this is by far the most enriching.
Thank you for the annual report from Chase Oaks and everything you do for me. I am so thankful to have friends like you. More than that I am blessed. We are doing the Bible Experience, thanks to you. You have made a great impact in my life.
Mark Gillming, Exec. Pastor, Bethlehem Church
Just finished listening to the most recent PRC with Mark Buchanan. In my opinion, one of the best ever. So many quick thoughts that are worth deep reflection. I will listen to this one again and again. Great teaching.
Thursday’s shifted for me, so listening live does not work out. I catch it once posted.
Dennis M Papp | SouthField Church
As pastors we are constantly telling our people how important community is. We encourage everyone to join a Small Group, Life Group, TLC Group, Sunday School Class, or whatever ministry we may have in place to help people connect for spiritual growth, encouragement, accountability and shepherding. But we often don’t practice what we preach.
Pastor all too often are like eagles. We don’t flock. We fly solo.
I am not sure why we as pastors are often resistant to connecting with each other on a regular bases, for spiritual growth, encouragement, accountability and care giving and receiving – but we are. Maybe it is pride. (We think we don’t need others). Maybe it is insecurity. (We don’t want to be vulnerable with each other and admit we don’t have it all figured out.) Maybe it is because we are “too busy.” (We don’t feel it is important enough to carve out the time.) It could be something else entirely.
The longer I am in ministry the more I realize I need the “community” of other pastors. Who else understands the responsibility we feel for “watching over peoples’ souls”? Who else knows how to pray with true empathy for us in our struggles – and knows how to rejoice with us in our victories?
Cornerstone Pastors Network is a great ministry with a focus on helping us pastors find the sense of “community” that we encourage our people to seek out. I recommend them highly – and encourage you, as a pastor, to set aside your pride, or your insecurity – and carve out the time to be a part of a mutually encouraging group.
“Do not forsake the gathering of yourselves together, as some are in the habit of doing…”
John Snyder, Lead Pastor