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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The north Jersey company of pastors: Building competencies and strengthening relationships for ministry as a community of practice
by Foltz-Morrison, Robert C., D.Min., Hartford Seminary, 2013, 175; 3574237
Abstract (Summary)

This final project report set out to design a peer-led learning model that would assist pastors in building competencies and strengthening peer relationships among Presbyterian pastors in northern New Jersey. The project addressed a national trend that reveals an increasing number of pastors are leaving Christian ministry today because of inadequate support and their lack of varied and specialized skills to serve congregations. However, some of the most recent research by the U. S. Congregational Life Survey (US CLS Wave Two), the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) project, and the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey confirmed pastors and their congregations benefit by pastors participating in peer learning.

Grounded in the theology that Christian ministry is nurtured by communities that embody and practice what they believe, and by theories that enduring learning takes place in association with others, this project drew from Presbyterian ecclesiology, the company of pastors (Calvin), a community of practice (Wenger), self-directed learning (Knowles), group theory (Johnsons), and the areas of learning pastors volunteered to lead. There were no attending costs and the monthly format was simple: pastors shared a meal and fellowship followed by worship and relevant teaching led by the pastors themselves.

Twenty-five pastors, representing one-fifth of the congregations in three regional bodies, attended one or more of the nine gatherings. A large part of the report concentrated on the more active twelve mature, highly stressed, and highly motivated pastors who represented different urban and suburban communities, genders, races, and sexual orientations. The report evaluated what facilitated and hindered this project's objectives. Its conclusion provided seven insights for pastors and seminarians, denominational agencies and regional body leaders, seminaries and foundations concerned about pastoral preparation for the rigors and challenges of congregational ministry.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thumma, Scott
Commitee: Roozen, David, Woolever, Cynthia
School: Hartford Seminary
Department: Doctor of Ministry
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clerical studies, Religious education, Continuing education
Keywords: Community of practice, Company of pastors, Group theory, Northern New Jersey, Peer learning, Presbyterian pastors
Publication Number: 3574237
ISBN: 978-1-303-49017-0
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