Strengthen your ministry through Unleash peer-to-peer groups
Converge Content Specialist
Church & pastoral health
Ministry can be a lonely journey, but you don’t have to do it alone. And you shouldn’t.
Connecting with other leaders is vital to maintaining your spiritual, emotional and physical health so that your ministry and personal life thrive. The Converge Unleash conference peer-to-peer groups are designed to connect pastors and church leaders facing similar challenges in ministry. Participants discuss topics that matter to you while building strong relationships that will help you move your ministry forward.
At this year’s Unleash conference in Orlando, Florida, Jason Eddy, executive pastor at Bethel Church, Janesville, Wisconsin, led the group of executive pastors of churches with less than 500 members.
“I think the highlight for me is the relationships built with other high-level leaders from around the country who are serving with the same goal of building fruitful churches for the Great Commission. In Luke 22, Jesus told Peter to strengthen his brothers, and after being in a peer-to-peer roundtable at Converge Unleash, I think I better understand what he was asking.
I feel stronger being networked with encouraging colleagues. Pastors who don’t participate in peer-to-peer groups are in greater danger of the struggles that come with isolation. We really are better together.
Dave Blough, executive pastor of Wintonbury Church, Bloomfield, Connecticut, attended Eddy’s group and found the time to be “essential.”
“There are things that only our group understood, and we focused on working out challenges together.”
Eddy and Blough said the relationships formed during the group didn’t end at the conference’s conclusion. “Over the past months a few of us have corresponded on different topics as needs arise,” Eddy said. “We have referred one another to other resources as well.”
Daniel Warren, a campus pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida, facilitated the group of executive pastors for churches with more than 1500 members.
“I believe peer-to-peer groups are an important way for the relationships in our network to grow. We get a chance to share and hear from others about what’s working in our ministries. This is a great place to be able to ask questions and develop an understanding of strategies and programs so that you can contextualize when you get home.”
Warren said peer-to-peer groups offer a benefit not usually seen in workshops.
“In more traditional workshops, you hear [about a topic] but aren’t always able to ask the questions that the topic generates. In these settings, you are able to chase rabbits and collaborate with everyone to truly deepen your knowledge of the topic.
“These relationships are the lifeblood of a network of churches that is committed to being better together. While not every minute may be relevant to you, I found it was relevant to someone in the group. Iron sharpening iron requires both sides to be in the room and engaged in the discussion. You miss out on the opportunity for reciprocal learning when you don’t engage in the peer to peer.”
Twanna Henderson, national director of the Converge Bridge Network, said the women in ministry group allows women to connect with other women from all over the country so that they can glean from one another, develop connections and celebrate what the Lord is doing in their individual lives and ministry areas.
At the Jan. 29-31 Converge Unleash conference in Long Beach, California, there will be groups for a variety of roles based on church size:
Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years. He also was a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.