PASTORS IN COVENANT
A Safe Place to Share Life
Pastors, we need each other! Facing ministry alone is among the greatest struggles pastors face. Across evangelical denominations, one thing is the same: Living life in community is both biblical and necessary for the most successful Christian walk. “Sharing life” in a small-group environment empowers and encourages Christ-followers as they grow and serve in their daily lives.
But where can pastors go for this vital, personal ministry? When a pastor needs a listening ear about family life, struggles with marriage and ministry balance, or concerns about the day-to-day challenges we all face—where can he turn?
Our prayer is that pastors can unite in Pastors in Covenant (PIC) groups.
What Is PIC?
A PIC group is simply a group of pastors bound together by a covenant relationship with God and one another to pray for and encourage each other. Each group is comprised of three to seven pastors from different evangelical denominations and similar church sizes meeting monthly in the same location for about two hours. In these groups, no theology or events are discussed. PIC focuses on relationships.
At the monthly meeting, discussion is confidential and dedicated to one thing—prayer for one another on a personal level. There are three parts to a PIC group meeting.
First, members are encouraged to share what is going on in their personal lives. This could include such issues as struggles with marriage or parenting, confusion or discouragement about their ability to minister effectively, difficulty with the daily Christian walk, or praises about answered prayers in these areas.
After all members have shared, the group takes time to pray. This can be done in whatever way the group feels comfortable.
Finally, between group meetings, members are encouraged to send an email with their prayer updates and praises to the other members
To remove aloneness in ministry, the Lord has given us relationships with one another as pastors. As the spiritual leader of a church, the pastor fills an ordained leadership role that makes personal vulnerability in an intimate setting a difficult task. PIC groups are designed to provide practical and meaningful support by a group of peers who can understand the struggles and victories unique to those in full-time ministry.
Transforming a city for Christ requires a culture of prayer. PIC provides a way for pastors to build relationships with each other in the context of that culture of prayer, empowering and encouraging pastors as they seek to take the lead in that transformation.
When and Where do PIC groups meet?
Usually PIC groups meet once a month for two to three hours. They meet in a place that would be comfortable for all and ensures confidentiality, possibly in the home of one of the pastors or in a private office.
How do PIC groups meet?
Groups meetings are simply about relationships. This is not a time for discussion of theology or planning events together, but instead a time for discussion and prayer for relationships. The purpose of the monthly meetings is to pray for and encourage one another. One member of the group serves as the facilitator to ensure that every member has time to share and prayer is offered for the needs expressed.
Who makes up PIC groups?
Pastors make up Pastors in Covenant groups. The pastors are of evangelical conviction, but it is encouraged that they are from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Pastors from the same church are encouraged to join separate groups.
What are some challenges or roadblocks PIC groups face?
PIC groups must be careful to maintain a cooperative, supportive spirit across evangelical denominations. For pastors who are accustomed to counseling others as spiritual leaders, it can be challenging to simply listen and commit to pray. PIC groups can certainly have thoughtful discussion, but members are not there to solve problems or argue theological solutions. Pastors need a safe place to be themselves, openly discussing the most vulnerable issues in their spiritual, mental and physical lives. That safe place requires commitment from all members.
Do’s and Don’ts of PIC groups
- Discuss theology.
- Use PIC groups as a platform to do ministry together.
- Breach confidentiality.
- Miss more than 25 percent of meetings.
- Check in with group members at meetings and between.
- Participate with the level of transparency and vulnerability that is comfortable.
- Commit to build relationships and pray faithfully for fellow group members.
- Attend regularly (75 percent or more meetings)
Pastors in Covenant is designed to provide a safe haven for pastors of all ages and church sizes, as they balance their own needs and struggles with their responsibilities as spiritual leaders of their churches and cities. Connecting people with this unique common denominator can provide the support and relationships pastors need to effectively and powerfully serve Christ in their calling.