Nobody Does It Better

In these days of struggling denominational middle judicatories, this post offers a h/t and thankStronghold Castel you to The Synod of Lincoln Trails who sponsors (what I think is the only remaining) New Pastors program in our denomination. I’m with NP23 this week which is why the posts will be few and far between.

When I was a New Pastor, there was a denominational program that brought together the newly ordained for a three year cohort to discuss everything from the grief of losing our civilian lives to the discernment of our second call.  The program was eliminated for financial reasons.  But my Synod still does this for our own eight Presbyteries in Illinois and Indiana.

Where else can new pastors (and I include those in specialized ministry as pastors as well) talk freely about Crucial Conversations, Personal Boundaries, Personal Finance and other delicate issues without fear?  Clergy colleagues are essential in this life and we are creating strong bonds with every campfire.

Short post today because I get to be with these colleagues in a few minutes. Nobody does New Pastors better than my Synod.  Grateful.

Image of Stronghold Castle where NP23 is meeting for the 4th (out of 6) retreats.

5 responses to “Nobody Does It Better

  1. Landon Whitsitt

    Yep. These programs are pretty great. Thanks so much for lifting up the great work Synod do.

    New Pastors is actually the number one priority of the Synod of Mid -America as well.


  2. The Company of New Pastors is also working to expand the network of offerings for first-call pastors. Our goal (which I’m sure you would support) is that every first-call pastor has the opportunity to be part of a peer learning/support group like the ones your synods provide. Thanks for the systems of support you have built.


  3. And the Pastoral Excellence Network (supporting Transition into Ministry type programs such as Pastoral Residencies and The Company of New Pastors) is offering ongoing support for communities of practice for clergy, new and more experienced, including training/support for facilitators.


  4. One resource that I’ve found invaluable in the first few years of ministry has been The Young Clergy Women Project. While it’s not a cohort-based model like some of these programs, the online space as well as the yearly conference have provided me with significant support, answers to questions both serious and silly, a community of peers, and access to a broad range of perspectives and experience. I am so thankful the project includes women who have been in ministry both 3 days and 15+ years, and so grateful for their continued willingness to engage in ongoing, thoughtful conversation.


  5. I was one of five in a first call cohort in Muskingum Valley Presbytery in 2012. I am sure that it made a huge difference in my first and now subsequent years in ministry. Terrible tragedy struck when one of our number, a young woman, was killed in a head-on collision on her way to a session meeting one evening, but we were all left with the memory of her celebrating communion at the first Presbytery meeting after we had all been ordained, a meeting at which our little group was invited to lead worship. I am no longer in that Presbytery, but the three others in our cohort are all now in leadership positions there. So our first call cohort experience affected not only our congregational ministries, but also our service to the broader church.


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