Jibstay

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Value of Cohorts

Cohort is a fairly new term for me. I was introduced to it during this seminar called "Getting to Great." The pastoral staff members of four conference churches contracted with two facilitators to meet with us as a gathered group every quarter over the year. We were assigned books to read ahead of time (Good to Great, Simple Church, Crisis in the American Church) and given assignments to work on.
Gathering as church leadership teams is like packs of dogs meeting in an alley; it's highly competitive and even combative. I want to broadcast my strengths and achievements and never show my weaknesses. I want to give advice and provide insights into other's situations, but not solicit help (for goodness sake I've been doing this too long to need anyone else's help, much less pastoral team members as young as my children!). Sparks indeed did fly at times and feelings were hurt. But after we kept coming back and meeting each other, we began to listen deeper and react slower. We began (I began) to value the insight of others into my situation and what next steps I really did need to take. It is enormously valuable to watch others ask my staff members insightful questions I never thought to ask, and listen to their revealing answers.
We must discuss today as we formally end if there is a next chapter to our cohort. Will we re-gather in 3 months or 6 months? I hope we do something more together. I need other voices listening to me and me listening to them. I value the mystery of this thing called the church. Gathering affirms so much of what we are doing and where we are going. It inspires me to get back into it as quickly as possible. I so appreciate my time with Lisa Holmlund, having uninterrupted conversations about church and about life in general. It's good not to be alone, but to have a cohort.

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