Peer Group Programs

The Bethany Fellowships
Higher Education and Leadership Ministries (DOC)
Kim Gage Ryan, Director (
3100 Yorktown Drive, Columbia, MO 65203
Bethany Fellowships provide a four-year program for young pastors newly ordained and serving their first or second congregation, with two retreats per year for a total of 40 days in all. The four year time period is one key to making a significant impact. Over that period of time there may be numerous changes in the lives of young pastors, the most critical being the time between a first and second call. The sustaining bridge of Bethany Fellows is a crucial one in navigating the arc of ministry and life. The strong, deep roots of The Bethany Fellowships is its leadership team of experienced pastors (six to eight) who model sharing, vulnerability, accountability, spiritual practices, and agreement in and through their relationships with one another. As the Bethany model/process is being multiplied and shared, we find that taking the time for the development of the leadership core is essential. We now have three Bethany groups—Bethany Disciple Fellows, Bethany Ecumenical Fellows, and a pilot project called Bethany West in Southern California, which is including both ordained and commissioned/licensed Disciple ministers.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
CBF Fellows Program
P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145
Currently we are hosting a CBF Fellows Program, which is mentoring 25 ministers in their first call of ministry. We partner with the Baptist Hospital System to provide coaches for this group. They meet five times over two years for on-going community and didactic interaction.

Massachusetts Conference, UCC
Pastoral Excellence Program New Clergy Groups
Ellie Richardson (
One Badger Road, Framingham, MA 01702
508-875-5233 x233
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ Pastoral Excellence Program supports a conference-wide network of New Clergy Groups, which are Community of Practice groups for clergy in their first three years of ministry. New Clergy Group members share information, insights, and advice around situations within their ministries or through case studies; they ponder common issues, explore ideas, and act as sounding boards for colleagues; they develop a common body of knowledge, practices, and approaches as they engage the many “firsts” in their ministries; they develop personal relationships with colleagues; and they provide spiritual discernment and prayerful support to one another. Each group is facilitated by a seasoned clergy person who receives specialized training and financial support and is charged with maintaining the group’s calendar, lifting up a mutually created covenant, providing hospitality, leading worship, and facilitating discussion.

McAfee School of Theology
Center For Teaching Churches
Ron Grizzle (
3001 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341
The Center for Teaching Churches offers new ministers graduating from the McAfee School of Theology three on-going learning experiences. One is a two-year ministry coach. These coaches have undergone training at the Pastoral Institute, Columbus, GA, and work with the new minister during the first two years in his or her first congregation. Second, a Minister Support Committee made up of members of the new minister’s first church works with the new minister in examining a 12-part online curriculum. Third, each new minister joins a Peer Learning Group that meets for reflection and sharing of ministry experiences regularly.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Company of New Pastors
Karen Russell, Program Associate (
100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40205
The Company of New Pastors

Reformed Church in America
First Call Ministry
Andrew Bossardet (
4500 60th Street SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512
The aim of the RCA First Call ministry is to foster deeper learning about how pastoral identity is formed and excellence is nurtured during one's first call. Learning occurs over a three-year time frame within a facilitated peer group. Learning is directed by First Call pastors and brings together congregations, denominational assemblies, and theological agents to facilitate empowerment and growth in pastors and congregations they serve.

Virginia Theological Seminary
The Second Three Years Program
Allison St. Louis (
3737 Seminary Road, Alexandria, VA 22304

Wesley Theological Seminary
Lewis Fellows Transition into Ministry Program
Ann Michel (
4500 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, DC 20016
Lewis Fellow Transition into Ministry

Western North Carolina Conference, UMC
Transition into Ministry Program
Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley (
3400 Shamrock Drive, Charlotte, NC 28215
704-817-3990, ext. 1505

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