Covenant Group Resources
CLERGY CONVENANT SEGMENT (HGP) from Great Plains UMC on Vimeo. Starting (Or Re-Starting) a Group:**
Starting a covenant group or restarting a group that is needing some focus may seem like a daunting task. However, we encourage that anyone (YOU!) considering the value of starting a group could begin with the following best practices.
We encourage you to seek out others who may have a similar interest in meeting together regularly for encouragement, support, and accountability.
Select a group size of three to eight people.
Groups may include a combination of elders, deacons, local pastors or clergy from other denominations.
Variety in a group may add to its depth.
Write a covenant
Include ways for the covenant to be reviewed and updated, if necessary
sample covenant Spend adequate time establishing a safe, trusting environment
Consider asking each member of the group to share his or her spiritual journey.
Allow plenty of time for each person to share his or her story. This may mean that it takes more than one meeting time in order to hear from everyone.
Get a good start by establishing spiritual practices from the beginning
Include time in each meeting for a devotion, communion, music, meditation, etc.
Keep a focus on theology and spiritual matters
Establish leadership responsibilities to be shared, rotated, or otherwise appointed
A timekeeper helps keep the meeting structured and moving forward
A program leader maintains the purpose of the meeting
A logistics person to coordinate communication and location planning
Tend to practical matters
Plan meeting times and dates — and keep them
Keep one another accountable for starting and ending on time
Put cell phones away during the duration of the meeting
Communicate with one another in each person’s preferred means of communication
Plan a day of retreat annually
Theological Foundations of a Clergy Covenant Group**
We Believe that:
We are created in the image of God
God created us to live in community with God and others
Incarnational living is a mirror into the Body of Christ
Wellness of the body, mind and soul reflects our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Clergy are called to model Christian living
Spiritual practices enhance our ministry and strength the Church
Being in holy friendships is a continuation of our covenant commitment
Deepening our relationship with God is accomplished in community
Living as the Body of Christ is accomplished in community
Our Wesleyan heritage calls us to holy living in small groups
Within small groups, we experience the fullness of Christian life
Life and death
Christian community is a glimpse and foretaste of the reign of God
Some Characteristics of a Clergy Covenant Group might include:**
A group of three to eight clergy who meet for encouragement, support and accountability
Grounded in spirituality and faith
Creates a safe environment for discussion, contemplation and thought
Creates and encourages holy friendships
Has elements of worship, devotion or spiritual practice in each meeting
Models Christian covenant and holy friendship
Takes seriously its commitment to one another and to the building up on f the Church
Encourages and challenges one another in care of the body, mind and spirit
Is committed to pray for one another
Reviews its covenant and commitment annually
Retreats together regularly for renewal and Sabbath time
Maintains spiritual practices
Uses its time together effectively with a focus on growing in holiness
May be comprised of all United Methodist clergy or be an ecumenical gathering
May have a written covenant
Is accountable to one another for being present and on time for meetings
Meets regularly, at least nine times a year (virtually or in person)
Some of the signs of a Healthy Covenant Group:**
Participants showing up — regularly and consistently
Equitable communication — everyone shares
Doing what we said we would do
Balance between challenge and affirmation
Sense of purpose
Acts of worship
Some of the signs of an Unhealthy Covenant Group:
Trying to “fix” each other
Lack of boundaries or inappropriate boundaries
Domination by one or more persons regarding conversation or neediness
Negativity/victim gripe session
**Adapted from some materials from the Indiana Conf