The Ministry Studio is a clergy group that I am convening to provide a place of support, theological reflection, prayer, encouragement, accountability, development, and friendship. The group is about:
- Growing in grace
- Honoring the work of the Spirit in each person
- Providing a place to tell what we need to tell
- Learning from practice
- Sharing resources
- Identifying the edges of our knowledge
- Balancing support and challenge
The Concept: A studio is a place of learning, practice, feedback, and inspiration.
A studio is both a place for instruction and a workroom. In a studio artists can get honest opinions about their work, new ideas, and a space to perfect one’s art. But, the art and the responsibility to create it always belongs to the artist. The studio is also my twist on good clergy groups of which I have been a participant, and the Pastoral Excellence Network’s latest thinking about clergy communities of practice.
A studio group would meet monthly for an Annual Conference year from August until May. In each studio session, we would use the time to check in, hold worship, hear a case study, reflect, and consider next steps. A case study might be a presentation of reading or learning. A case might be about issues of self-care, relationships, or a place in ministry where a participant feels stuck. A single meeting would last 2 and 1/2 hours, and includes time for snacks or a meal.
In our initial meetings we will spend time developing a group covenant. Participants would commit to the covenant and make every effort to attend each meeting. Participants would need to purchase any book the group might decide to read, worship materials, and their own lunch. Costs outside of lunch are expected to be less than $100.
As the convener I commit to organizing and facilitating the group. I’d like to limit the group to 8-10 people. The first willing participants I get will comprise the group. Email or call me to inquire, apply, express interest, or whatever other verb you need to use. When you decide you officially want to sign up, write to me with a response to these two questions: 1) What do you need this group to be and do in order to make an enthusiastic commitment to show up for every meeting? 2) What do you need this group to be and do in order for it to make a positive difference in your life and ministry? More than anything these questions are to help you think. Your answers needn’t be long, and they will be shared with the group. Once I get your responses, I’ll give you a phone call and follow up with some additional material in preparation for our first meeting.
Part of my facilitation will be my promise not to be an expert, but to be a guardian of the space and process. I’ll be looking to share some responsibilities as we get going.
Nuts and Bolts
The first meeting will be on August 10th at St. Andrew’s UMC. We will meet from 10am to 12:30pm. Bring your calendar. I’ve plotted future meetings as a reference point. If we need to slide some dates in a manner that can accommodate everyone, we will do so at the first meeting.
The Meeting Date Has Changed
We have shifted the projected schedule from Mondays to Tuesdays. Here are the dates : August 11, September 15, October 13, November 10, December 15, January 12, February 9, March 15, April 12, and May 10. We will also nail down time of day and location for future meetings.
I’ll be prepared with case material for the first couple of sessions to get us started. I’ll reflect on the impact that family systems theory has had on my leadership. After that, the group can decide what we need next and start presenting our own cases. Part of what will make this a group worth attending is that we will be Spirit led as to what we need next as adult learners. Let me know what you think.