The demands of pastoral ministry are many, and the conditions in which pastors serve are changing rapidly. Pastors often note the common experience of feeling isolated in their work, especially from other ministry colleagues. Recent studies point to the importance of collegial relationships to flourishing in pastoral leadership. The primary goal of Beeson’s Thriving Pastors Initiative is to improve the quality of relationships pastors have with one another. Our chief strategy for doing so is the formation and support of Thrive Groups.

Peer groups of five to seven congregational leaders meet every six weeks for fellowship, mutual support, learning and professional development. Beeson provides support for each group to develop and carry out a plan for thriving in ministry. We are especially eager to include pastors in their first full-time position after seminary, those transitioning from associate pastoral roles to lead pastoral roles, and pastors facing acute personal and/or family crises.

What is a Thrive Group?

A group of five to seven pastors who meet regularly to encourage one another and to help one another thrive in congregational leadership.

Who may be part of a Thrive Group?

Pastors in congregational leadership positions, i.e. the lead or senior minister in a multi-staff church or the solo pastor in a single-staff church

Are Thrive Groups for Beeson Divinity School alumni only?

Priority is given to Beeson alumni, but Thrive Groups may include others as well.

Should the members of a Thrive Group be part of the same denomination?

No; in fact, diversity in ecclesial tradition, age, gender, ethnicity, and ministry setting is encouraged.

Are there other criteria for being part of a Thrive Group?

No, but special consideration is given to members or groups who are in their first full-time ministry position following seminary, those who have moved from an associate pastoral position to a lead pastoral position, and those who are experiencing personal and/or family crises.

How often does a Thrive Group meet?

At least nine (9) times in a 12-month period, so approximately every six weeks

For how long will a Thrive Group continue to meet?

A Thrive Group must meet for at least one year. A group may continue to meet for up to four years.

May new members be added to a Thrive Group?

New members may be added to a group at the beginning of a new 12-month period. Groups, however, should continue to be five to seven members in size. As group size exceeds that, consideration should be given to starting a new group.

What are the expectations or requirements of Thrive Group members?

Members are expected to attend the group meetings, unless providentially hindered, and to participate fully in the group process. Each group must express in writing what it believes are the marks of thriving in ministry, develop goals and plans for improving the members’ personal and pastoral well-being, and report on the steps taken toward that end.

Will the Thrive Group have any support for its work?

Yes; each group will have a leader who is recruited and trained to facilitate the work. The leader has access to financial and other resources to assist the group in its meetings and work, i.e. for meals, books, meeting location. Thrive Groups will also benefit from conferences and events hosted by Beeson Divinity School as part of the Thriving Pastors Initiative.

How can I start a Thrive Group or learn more about Thrive Groups?

Click on “Start a Thrive Groups” on the right. Complete and submit the form and someone will contact you very soon.