Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-07-01


The Resource Center for Pastoral Excellence at Samford University is using a grant to pursue research that will ultimately enhance work with clergy peer groups.

The $4,500 grant, awarded in fall 2010 by the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) Coordination office at Duke Divinity School, supports a collaborative project among Samford’s RCPE and eight other “Southern Cluster” SPE projects.

The two-year mini-grant is matched by an equal amount from the Southern Cluster members to promote a continued collaboration with a focus on clergy peer groups and their congregational connections.

While research shows that pastoral leaders with peer group experience both reflect and shape participants and missional congregations, it does not identify the “how,” said RCPE director Michael K.  Wilson, who adds that the grant is helping the group study that relationship from the perspective of the congregations

“A deeper understanding of that relationship should lead to new and better models of leadership for the future of the church,” said Wilson.

Besides Samford, the other cluster members are: Institute for Clergy Excellence in Alabama, Millsaps College Center for Ministry in Mississippi, Triangle Pastoral Counseling Center in North Carolina, Texas Methodist Foundation, Pentecostal Theological Seminary and Memphis Theological Seminary, both in Tennessee, and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Columbia Theological Seminary, both in Georgia.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.