Clergy Community of Practice

What is a Community of Practice?

The term comes from the work of Etienne Wenger who defines a community of practice as a group of peers who share a concern or a passion for something they do and who learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Group members support one another, learn together, and share resources – experiences, stories, practices, ways of addressing recurring issues and problems. Building this community takes time and sustained interaction.

Are You Interested?

Register online for a group. For additional information, contact the Rev. Ashlee Alley Crawford.

Purpose of a Clergy Community of Practice

  • Focuses on both the practice of ministry and growth as a pastor
  • Encourages peer support, care, and reflection
  • Guided by a mutual covenant
  • Nurtures the practice of spiritual disciplines
  • Strengthens effective leadership practices
  • Forms life-sustaining, trusting friendships
  • Knowledge is developed and tested through actual practice so that new skills are developed
  • Prepares clergy for a church whose future we cannot yet see or imagine

Identified benefits

  • Renewed enthusiasm about ministry
  • Reduction in the number of violations of clergy ethics
  • Offers a place where problems can be dealt with before they reach emergency-room dimensions
  • Clergy come together to share best practices, to resource one another, not to compete with one another
  • Pastors who attend peer-learning groups with trained facilitators and curriculums, and who participate for several years, have more impressive records of growth at their churches

What does a Clergy Community of Practice group look like?

The group meets every month, approximately, either face to face or with an electronic option. A typical group spends time gathering in worship, reflection, checking in with one another, and in learning together. As the gathering ends, participants talk about what they have learned and how they will use that learning in their ministry.
What costs are involved?

Each participant is asked to pay $75 for the appointive year to help cover the cost of an honorarium to the facilitator. Participation counts towards the requirement for 20 contact hours and will be granted according to the check-in form the facilitators are required to submit. A specific CCOP group may decide to read and study a book together, or attend a continuing education event together. These expenses would be in addition to the $75.

Comments from participant evaluations:

"This safe and supportive peer group is just about the best thing I've ever done in 18 years of ministry. I have a place
now to take issues and frustrations and experiences that I can't share with anyone else. It will keep me healthy and
make me a better pastor."

"This group has given me a safe place to discuss sensitive issues as they relate to my ministry setting and call upon
the combined wisdom of a fine group of pastors."

"This has been an absolutely enriching and nurturing spiritual practice."

"I have learned I am not alone in this calling of ministry. I have felt accepted and listened to."