A Wonderful New Cohort in Fort Worth

A Gateway to New Relationships

The Fort Worth pastoral cohort is comprised of leaders from numerous denominations and congregational models– all serving together in a dynamic, diverse metropolitan area of around 2 million people. As one of the fastest growing cities in America, Fort Worth is a convergence of racial and ethnic traditions, and serves as the gateway to America’s west.

This dynamism makes for a fascinating– and sometimes challenging– cultural context in which to do Christian ministry. This cohort creates a safe community in which to explore these challenges, and a productive laboratory for creative ideas that will help them maximize their opportunities to minister Christ’s love to their city.

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Charles Foster Johnson, Cohort Mentor

Pastor, Bread Fellowship

When Macedonian Ministry asked me to lead another pastoral cohort in Fort Worth, I immediately accepted. The resonance of MM with God’s call on my life to create community in Jesus Christ is strong and clear. If we can keep God’s pastors vibrant with spiritual joy and energy in their lives, we can strengthen the entire Church. Macedonian Ministry leaders are among the finest pastors I know. Working alongside them and receiving their guidance and counsel is a huge resource in my own ministry, and I thank God for it and them!

Katy Hays, Cohort Member

Lead Evangelist, Galileo Christian Church

A lot of ministry is figuring out what to do next, the next most urgent thing. But, I need this group to remind me why, why we do any of it. So, coming together without any urgency of the next thing on the list is really important.

Estrus Tucker, Cohort Member

Board Chair & Facilitator, Center for Courage & Renewal

Given all the challenges and opportunities that exist in our world today, how our faith is expressed in our relationships with one another, both within particular faith cultures and beyond our faith cultures, is critically important. How we come together as human beings is being tested in ways that are challenging for the soul.

I think the capacity to love, to forgive, to trust, and to work together for understanding and advancing our potential as beloved community, is at the forefront of these challenges. If our faith in its purest, simplest form, if our faith does anything, the best is to compel us to love. So, this is an opportunity to go deep together, to learn a little bit more about trusting, and loving, and seeking understanding in the context of faith.

Fritz Ritsch

Pastor, St. Stephen Presbyterian

I said yes to being a part of this cohort because I really believe that deeper conversations between pastors in a local community are vitally important, both to those pastors and to the community. Pastors can get very isolated without necessarily meaning to, and sometimes we need something to wake us up and say, go out and build community. We need it. It’s essential.

Jessica Vacketta

Associate Minister, University Christian Church

I said yes to being in this cohort because I know the importance of community within clergy networks. It’s a place where you can be vulnerable and share silence, share joy, talk about ministry, celebrate and pray together, and it’s a place to be challenged. So, I knew that this group would challenge me and would be a great place to learn and be supported, and it was something I wanted to incorporate into my rhythm of life. The trip to the Holy Land is just a plus!

Jorene Taylor Swift

Co-Pastor, Bread Fellowship

I have been in professional ministry for almost 22 years, and this is the first group like this that I’ve ever been a part of. I find it energizing, creative, refreshing, and I’ve been thinking, it’s too bad it hasn’t happened before now – but I’m grateful that it happened now! It was a great opportunity to get to know pastors I didn’t already know in my local community.

Christy Drechsel

Associate Minister, First Christian Church

So often in ministry we get into silos, and so it’s nice to be a part of a group that intentionally crosses those lines and helps us facilitate conversation, and partner together to determine what we can be doing to further God’s Kingdom here on earth. It’s my understanding that’s really the point of these cohorts, to create relationships that will further those missions.

Melinda Veatch

Executive Director, Tarrant Churches Together

“I think the opportunity to engage in pilgrimage with other pastors is really an opportunity not to miss. To be able to not only journey with them, here in our local setting, but also to pilgrimage to Israel, to have the relationship built before we go, and then to have the relationship continue when we return is really important.

I think it builds community among pastors that is rare. It certainly requires us to take some time out for ourselves, not only for our own growth, but to be part of the growth of other pastors, and to recognize that we are all in a place where we cannot be static as people and pastors, that we have to continue to walk the path, and we have to have sojourners to do that well.

Ryan Baer

Pastor, Ridglea Presbyterian

I said yes to be a part of this cohort because I find that ministry, even though you’re around people all the time, can be a particularly lonely vocation, and there’s nobody who “gets it” like other clergy. I’m a Presbyterian, and we can be kind of insular and get in our own little worlds, so this is an opportunity to engage with clergy colleagues who come from other traditions, but share this vocation in common. I’ve been part of cohorts that involve people from other parts of the country, but to have colleagues that are down the street makes a particularly huge difference.

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