Great Lakes

Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Click on a program to be taken to a description and contact information, or scroll down to browse all entries.

Evangelical Covenant Church: Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
Chicago, IL

Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ: Clergy Communities of Practice
Crystal Lake, IL

Benedict Inn: Women Touched by Grace
Beech Grove, IN

Bethany Theological Seminary: Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership
Richmond, IN

Board of Church Extension Disciples of Christ: Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation
Indianapolis, IN

Church of God Ministries: Sustaining Health And Pastoral Excellence (SHAPE)
Anderson, IN

Christian Reformed Church in North America: Creating a Culture of Pastoral Excellence
Grand Rapids, MI

Ecumenical Theological Seminary: Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
Detroit, MI

Reformed Church in America: Renewed Leadership for Revitalized Church
Grand Rapids, MI

St. Francis Retreat Center: SPE at St. Francis Retreat Center
DeWitt, MI

Western Theological Seminary: Journey Groups
Holland, MI

Ashland Theological Seminary: Pastors of Excellence
Ashland, OH

Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations, Ohio Conference, United Church of Christ: Pastoral Excellence Program
Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Wisconsin Conference, UCC: Communities of Practice
De Forest, WI

Full listings

Evangelical Covenant Church: Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
http://www.covchurch.org/vocational-ministry/spe/

We ask a lot of our ministerial leaders. The SPE Initiative coordinates the funding of retreats, learning cohorts, and spiritual direction for our Ministerium to foster ministerial renewal and health. SPE has been and is being designed by ministers, for ministers. This is the key strength of the initiative. The intent is not to outsource, but instead to tap into the rich diversity of gifts present in our ministerial community. Together we are writing a story of positive and lasting change, and our ministers are becoming healthier.

Contact:
Tanya Constanza, Manager, Develop Leaders (spe@covchurch.org)
8303 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631
773-442-6581

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Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ: Clergy Communities of Practice

The Clergy Communities of Practice of the Illinois Conference peer learning groups are opportunities for pastors to gather for learning, support, prayer, encouragement, and fellowship. Our pilot group began in 2014 and has grown to include a facilitator support group as well as five peer learning groups. We are expanding throughout the Illinois Conference and new groups are forming to support our rapidly growing program.

Each group designs its own covenant and agrees on the objectives for their scheduled meeting times. The primary goal of the program is to support and encourage pastors as they support and encourage the congregations they serve. Clergy Communities of Practice is supported by the Committee on the Ministry of the Fox Valley Association of the United Church of Christ. 

Contact:
Lindsey Halpern-Givens (revlhg@gmail.com)
3001 Sutton Woods Ct., Crystal Lake, IL 60012
815-546-8357

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Benedict Inn: Women Touched by Grace
Women Touched by Grace

Women Touched by Grace is a spiritual renewal program for women pastors serving congregations. Women pastors from across the country convene for five ten-day sessions focusing on building community, parish leadership, spiritual direction, systems theory, and prayer disciplines.

This project brings together the best Catholic and Protestant traditions of prayer and leadership in order to equip clergywomen to be spiritual leaders of their congregations. Each of the five gatherings has a specific focus along with adequate time for prayer, reflection and meditation. The goal of the project is to provide a strong, cohesive body of women pastors, strengthened in the spiritual disciplines. They, in turn, will return to their congregations as spiritual leaders rather than simply administrators or managers. This project is unique in that it brings together Protestant clergywomen and Catholic women religious. Participants of the program are expected to share what they have learned with an already established group in their congregation. The goal is to foster long-term practices and not simply have "bursts of spiritual renewal" followed by business as usual.

Contact:
Mary Luke Jones, Project Coordinator (ljonesosb@benedictine.com)
1402 Southern Avenue, Beech Grove, IN 46107
317-788-7851

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Bethany Theological Seminary: Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership

The new Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar continuing education option will include components from Sustaining Pastoral Excellence and the Advanced Pastoral Seminar offered in the past. Participants will examine the church and its mission in today’s society; focus on holistic health (intellectual, spiritual, emotional, relational, physical); create strategies for personal and professional growth; participate in community with other ministers; and explore theological issues and ministry topics with seminary faculty, denominational leaders, and seminar members. In addition to full-time pastors, cohorts will be formed for bi-vocational pastors, chaplains, ordained camp staff, and those serving in other ministry contexts.

Contact:
Julie Hostetter, Director, Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership (hosteju@bethanyseminary.edu)
615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374
765-983-1820

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Board of Church Extension Disciples of Christ: Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation

Hope Partnership for Missional Transformation is a coaching network for new church planters and pastors engaged in congregational transformation serving reformed tradition denominations. This network allows planters to receive coaching from a person with a history of planting or church development and has helped 962 churches in their process to date. The network also provides both on-line and face-to-face peer groups led by professional facilitators.

Contact:
Richard Morse, Vice President (rmorse@churchextension.org)
130 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
800-274-1883

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Church of God Ministries: Sustaining Health And Pastoral Excellence (SHAPE)

A collaborative national/regional initiative of the Church of God (Anderson, Indiana), SHAPE provides opportunities for pastors to join small groups or clusters for inspiration, instruction, and encouragement. Group activities encourage and facilitate proactive strategies. Ministers integrate hallmarks of effective ministry including spiritual vitality, relational connectedness, knowledge, vision, and health. SHAPE has cohorts in 21 geographical regions in North America as well as expansion into the Church of God in Jamaica and Barbados. The influence of SHAPE is helping transform the credentialing process of the Church of God in North America.

Contact:
Paul Dreger, SHAPE Program Coordinator (pdreger@chog.org)
1201 East Fifth Street, Anderson, IN 46012
765-608-3023

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Christian Reformed Church in North America: Creating a Culture of Pastoral Excellence
www.crcna.org/spe

The CRCNA’s SPE program has three main components: Pastors’ Peer Learning Groups; pastors’ wives’ conferences; and pastor-couple learning events. The overriding goal is to support and encourage pastors and pastors’ spouses. Peer Learning Groups are opportunities for pastors to gather for learning, support, prayer, encouragement, and fellowship. The freedom the pastors have to design the entire peer group experience is key to individual and corporate engagement. Peer learning is stressed and, therefore, no leader or group facilitator is named. Seventy-five percent of CRCNA pastors have found that peer groups are great places for sharing life and ministry. Pastors’ wives' conferences provide women with a safe place to gather and the freedom to be themselves. Appreciation for their ministry is clearly expressed in a variety of ways. Keynote speakers and workshops focus on a number of topics related to the overarching theme. Learning events allow pastor-couples (pastor and his/her spouse) to spend 48 hours in a beautiful setting where they can enjoy each other, interact with colleagues, and discover healthy ways of flourishing in ministry. Relationships are strengthened. Refreshment is enjoyed. The result is renewed ministry leaders.

Contact:
Lis Van Harten, Program Director (Ivanharten@crcna.org)
1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
616-224-0805

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Ecumenical Theological Seminary: Sustaining Pastoral Excellence
Ecumenical Theological Seminary SPE

The program at ETS has evolved into new post-SPE-funded activities. The best of what we learned from the SPE experience has been retained and continues in various formats. The colleague group format has evolved into three new courses that all master’s-level students take over two or three years. Year One is Formation for Ministry. Year Two is Formation for Leadership. Year Three is Formation for Service. The Detroit Immersion Experience is under review and will probably be opened to all students and the public to offer this opportunity to the broader community. Each class is allowed to plan and execute a retreat-like experience of their choice. We will continue to review these formation experiences that have blessed pastors and other leaders in the metropolitan Detroit area.

Contact:
Floyd Davis, Project Director (fadavis0176@sbcglobal.net)
2930 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
313-831-5200 x228

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Reformed Church in America: Renewed Leadership for Revitalized Church
Renewed Leadership

Renewed Leadership for Revitalized ChurchThe Reformed Church in America supports a system of pastors’ networks utilizing trained facilitators which provide safe places for transformational peer learning, accountability, and support. The learning done in the networks is supported and empowered through RCA coaches through peer coaching relationships. Approximately 500 pastors representing the eight regions in the denomination participate in 75 network groups. There has been an increased focus on ethnic minority leaders, particularly in the Hispanic community.

Contact:
Kenneth Eriks, Director of Congregational Mission (keriks@rca.org)
4500 60th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
616-541-0872

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St. Francis Retreat Center: SPE at St. Francis Retreat Center
www.spe-stfrancis.org

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence at St. Francis Retreat Center promotes personal and professional vitality among pastoral leaders by: providing opportunities for refreshment and renewal; creating opportunities for spiritual growth, education, and fellowship; offering seminars and workshops addressing practical issues of ministry; providing cutting edge multi-media resources in a contemplative environment. This includes: quality programming, boundary training, art exhibitions, workshops, and Sabbath Retreats.

Contact:
David Rosenberg (drosenberg@stfrancis.ws)
703 East Main Street, DeWitt, MI 48820
517-669-8321 x22

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Western Theological Seminary: Journey Groups
http://www.westernsem.edu/journey/journey-groups/

Western Theological Seminary, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, offers groups consisting of six to eight pastoral leaders who gather together for several immersion experiences, which focus on a particular theme. These themes are organized around formation, exploration, cultivation, transformation, and celebration. Each three-day gathering encourages members to develop shared learning pathways, give and receive mutual support and accountability, practice spiritual disciplines, and create ways to share their learning with others.

Contact:
Pam Bush, Associate Director of Discipleship for Journey (pam@westernsem.edu)
Journey Center Learning, 101 East 13th Street, Holland, MI 49423
616-283-7755

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Ashland Theological Seminary: Pastors of Excellence
www.pastorsofexcellence.com

This program is designed to equip pastors to grow and sustain authenticity in Christ and excellence in ministry transforming the pastor from the inside out; healthy pastors produce healthy ministries. Pastors of Excellence (PoE) is a 13-month transformational program offered in Ashland, OH where 30 to 50 pastors attend two and a half day retreats (four times over 13 months). Each pastor is placed in a small group with five other pastors and a trained pastor/mentor. These small groups of peers develop powerful bonds of love over this spiritually enriching journey. Many peer groups choose to stay connected long after their PoE program has ended. We also offer a modified version to pastors through the Generative Leaders Academy of the Florida Conference United Methodist Church.

Contact:
Matthew Lewis, Director for Excellence in Leadership (mlewis@ashland.edu)
910 Center Street, Ashland, OH 44805
419-289-5485

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Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations, Ohio Conference, United Church of Christ: Pastoral Excellence Program
http://www.eoawraucc.org/our-associations-at-work/pastoral-excellence/

Authorized Ministers are invited to participate in small groups that meet monthly for prayer, mutual support, and professional growth. There are New Clergy Groups for those who have been ordained for three years or less, as well as Communities of Practice for those who have been in ministry longer term. Those groups include some that are based around commonalities in ministry, such as Pastoral Care, Renewing Churches, and Associate Ministers. A new group is being formed for those who are seeking authorization for ministry.

Contact:
Richard Plant, Associate for Leadership Vitality and Development (rich@eoawraucc.org)
960 Portage Trail, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221
330-940-2220

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Wisconsin Conference, UCC: Communities of Practice

We offer peer learning and support groups for authorized ministers in locations across the state. Our groups are led by trained facilitators who are seasoned pastors or UCC lay leaders, trained in counseling and have experience working with groups. Most groups gather based on geographic proximity, but we also offer groups designed for clergy new to ministry.

Contact:
Rev. Joanne Thomson, Associate Conference Minister (jthomson@wcucc.org)
4459 Gray Road, De Forest, WI 53532
608-846-7880

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