By Janet Ober Lambert
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other…. A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a, 12b).
The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is offering a new type of continuing education experience for ministers. Strength for the Journey brings together small groups of ministers to share experiences, hone skills, explore ideas, wrestle with common dilemmas, and take on topics that spark new energy for ministry, all while earning continuing education units (CEUs).
Strength for the Journey offers resources for up to five ministry cohorts each year. Cohorts of 5 to 8 ministers meet via Zoom for 10 to 12, 90-minute sessions during the year. Each group is assisted by a skilled convener, a designated Zoom account, and a budget for resources. Additional funds are available to help groups gather in person at the end of their year, if they so choose.
Every cohort will incorporate time for worship and prayer, as well as continuing education. CEUs will be awarded for the latter.
Ministers may choose from three different types of cohorts:
— A Deep Dive Cohort. Participants will engage in a conversation about a topic of mutual interest. Explore a book, an area of ministry, or a social concern. Develop skills for worship, preaching, or peacebuilding. The possibilities for topics and focus are nearly endless!
— A Specialized Ministry Cohort. The Church of the Brethren recognizes a variety of ministries: pastors, chaplains, spiritual directors, pastoral counselors, outdoor ministers, religious educators, etc. Specialized Ministry Cohorts allow those who share a calling to gather for mutual support as well as personal and professional growth.
— A Case Study Cohort. After a time of community building and preparation, participants will draw on the collective wisdom of their cohort as they bring case studies for discussion from their own ministry settings.
Ministers may apply as individuals or as a group for any of the three types of cohorts. Ministers who apply individually will be matched with a group as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted between Sept. 1 and Oct. 30, with cohorts to begin meeting in early 2023. Those interested in participating in Strength for the Journey should be serving in one of the ministry areas recognized by the Church of the Brethren.
A full description of the program and fillable applications can be found at https://bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy, see “Continuing Education.” For questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-287-8822 ext. 1824.
The Brethren Academy is a partnership of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren. Funding for Strength for the Journey registration and resources, as well as some assistance with travel, is provided through the David J. and Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust.
— Janet Ober Lambert is director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.