Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Arriving at base camp (2)

Pitching tents with me were the first facilitators who will be responsible for creating strong peer learning groups for pastors.  In the next few years we hope to prepare tens of men and women who will oversee these groups, which are properly termed: Clergy Communities of Practice.  A growing literature about these groups focuses on key dimensions: on ministry because of shared interest in commitment to God and church; on community so that clergy can build relationships of trust and mutual accountability in the group; on practice as knowledge is developed and tested in their own situations.

We are starting small. What especially struck me as I read the facilitator training manual was the listing of necessary characteristics by 15 criteria.  Some are obvious such as the need for experienced pastors who serve healthy congregations, who have faced difficulties, are theologically inquisitive, emotionally mature, intellectually curious and generous with time and energy.  But what about these?:
  • they are full of grace, continually making room for others and giving love away
  • they are confident in their own gifts but humbly do not see themselves as 'experts'.
  • they are listeners before they are talkers.
  • they are good at asking questions that invite others to explore issues more deeply.
  • they hold a clear and deeply theological sense of what it means to offer hospitality to others.
I couldn't help but examine myself and find multiple challenges!  In climbing the mountain ahead I know I need God's help to overcome inadequacies - especially listening before talking and asking good questions!   I wonder whether you are challenged by the list too?

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