Colleague Groups are small, informal gatherings of APC members and others for the purpose of mutual support and discussion of case studies in ministry.
A colleague group is a peer-learning group; ministry practitioners who share a concern and a passion for for learning how to develop skills for ministry. Members of colleague groups engage in joint activities and discussions, support each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other. They also develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems. This takes time and sustained interaction.
Austin Seminary conducted a study of clergy colleague groups and found that the most effective groups had:
- regular attendance and commitment,
- some sort of curriculum,
- a facilitator, and
- opportunities to connect in between meetings, via email, Facebook, etc.
To ensure that a clergy group experience is better or much better than other peer-group experiences, Austin recommended the following:
- The group meetings should be regularly attended
- The group process should be guided by a formal covenant
- The group should have a high-quality leader or facilitator
- The group should be denominationally diverse
- The group should provide intimacy & accountability
- The group’s practices should include expressing spirituality in creative ways, e.g. through art, music, literature or drama.
For years, APC colleague groups have provided these types of diverse, committed, spiritually enriching groups for its members. For information on current colleague groups that are meeting, to join a virtual colleague group, or to learn how you can start a new colleague group, please contact Rev. Lolly Dominski at firstname.lastname@example.org.