A Powerful First Experience

His eyes filled with tears as he spoke to us. Exhausted and overwhelmed by stress and the constant opposition of “the old guard” in his first church out of seminary, Jim was ready to quit the ministry. “I just can’t take it anymore,” he screamed, “I’ve had enough!” Our Macedonian group listened intently.

As Jim told his story, his voice cracked and he began to sob like a small boy. I gently asked if we could pray for him, and he agreed. We asked if we could surround him and lay hands on him. He nodded in agreement. Then, a woman in our group who had some oil in her purse asked if she could anoint him with oil. He smiled and said, “I need all the help I can get!” As every member of our group uttered a heartfelt prayer of hope for Jim, we could feel him start to relax. It was as if “the weight of the world” was lifted off of his shoulders! He realized that he was NOT alone! Amid tears, he told us that he had forgotten who he was. He mistakenly thought of himself as “the CEO of a small, struggling business,” instead of as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jim’s struggle with “the old guard” didn’t miraculously disappear. Rather, the conflict intensified. But, he received the strength and the courage from the Macedonian pastors to persevere in his challenging ministry. “This was my true ordination to the ministry,” he later explained. Jim not only survived, but he began to thrive in ministry. The result was a pastor and congregation that “turned the corner,” reoriented their life together, and took strides to impact their local community with the gospel.

Jim was a participant in the original Macedonian Ministry program, a prototype of the current Macedonian Ministry model, which began in September of 2008 with a cohort of fourteen clergy from the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. Encouraged and facilitated by a grant from the CF Foundation, they covenanted to meet together on a regular basis, and over the next three years, grew into a healthy, sustaining community of peers. The quality of their experience led to the establishment of Macedonian Ministry for the purpose of encouraging and helping to facilitate more of these cohorts.

Who We Serve

Over the past 9 years, we have responded to the needs expressed by pastors, priests, bishops, denominational executives, and seminary presidents. Today, there are 33 current or former Macedonian Ministry cohorts consisting of over 480 pastors around the country, serving congregations of all sizes and denominations.

Occasionally, a denominational judicatory has been a partner in establishing the cohort. Sometimes, we partner with a group of clergy who do not have a sponsoring organization, but believe in the Macedonian Ministry concept of peer learning. Theological seminaries and divinity schools have often been partners in these cohorts, including Princeton Theological Seminary, the Candler School of Theology, and Wake Forest Divinity School.

Stories of Celebration

Get a glimpse of our Cohort group successes.

Asheville, NC

The Asheville group has a deep affection for one another, and finds in the cohort on-going support, ideas, prayers, and learning. The cohort started out as a bit of a hybrid – with an ecumenical group and a Presbyterian group each meeting separately for part of the meeting, and overlapping for a portion of the meeting. Additionally, the cohort had two mentors in year one due to a scheduled sabbatical. There is great potential for significant growth with this cohort going forward, and strong motivation to do so.

Birmingham, AL

The Birmingham group feels the Program has helped strengthen their sense of call, and deepened their trust in God. Overall, participants feel the group has given them a strong sense of support and encouragement – realizing they are not in it alone. They are sharing and shaping each other’s lives through discipleship and mentoring. The participants feel refreshed and have learned to be more awake, relaxed, mindful, and attentive to family needs and the needs of their congregations. With a stronger sense of self-realization, humility, and patience, they feel more purposeful in their prayer life.

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX

The Dallas-Forth Worth group was designed with the idea of creating community among pastoral leaders of traditional and non-traditional churches, in an effort to facilitate a conversation between the so-called “inherited” church and the so-called “emergent” church. The “legacy” churches provide a spiritual anchor for the community at large, while the “new-styled” churches provide energy and innovation for the Body of Christ. The group has bonded closely in a short period of time, and there is a sweet, lively fellowship among our ministers.

Jacksonville, FL

The Jacksonville group felt the program has given them a loving, supportive, and safe environment where they can trust each other and enjoy a shared sense of leadership and learning. Furthermore, the group found the first year to be a positive influence on their prayer-life, and said it transformed the way they do ministry – they feel more confident and affirmed. The Jacksonville group is a close-knit group of pastors that are deeply committed to the program.