A group of pastors in the Enid District of the Oklahoma Annual Conference began meeting together in September to work through Reclaiming the Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today. I think the study went over well, but we also found that we just enjoyed getting together and having a chance to check in and see how things are going in our ministries. So, what began as a group meeting specifically to go through one book has become more permanent as we decided to continue meeting.

We met today to discuss what to do next. We decided to read together Bishop Robert Schnase’s Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. I am excited to read and discuss it together because it is a book that has been on my radar for awhile, and I just haven’t gotten around to picking up a copy. The way we decided on this book was that we all brought books that we wanted to recommend and then we talked about each one and finally arrived at a consensus to read Bishop Schnase’s book. I really enjoyed getting to hear from different folks about the books that had spoken to them, and now my “Book to Read” list is several titles longer!

The best part about this group, though, is that we are really getting to know each other. I think we are starting to form a degree of trust and comfort with one another. It has been exciting to me because I now feel like I know some pastor’s pretty well that I didn’t know at all before. It has increased a sense of collegiality in our district and it has caused me to feel a deeper sense of hope for our conference and our church as I have come to realize what gifted and passionate pastors God has blessed us with. I have often heard people mention that they are struggling to feel connected to other people. I think the simple act of committing to meet once a week with members of the covenant community is a powerful way to connect to each other, and strengthen the connection that all Methodist ministers are a part of.

Are you in a group of other pastors? What have you done that has made you feel the connectional system was strengthened?