Disciples News Service

Indiana pastor reflects on gifts of regional support group

Submitted by Rev. Maggie Archibald

Growing up, and even today, one of my favorite Christmas stories was that of “The Little Drummer Boy.” I know, it should probably be a scripture or something a little more Biblical, but I just can’t help it. I love this story! I still cry every time I watch the movie and the song is one of my favorite Christmas songs. The idea that this little boy who has nothing tangible to give to Jesus is still welcomed, still embraced, still celebrated, is overwhelming to me. Because that is true for each of us.

When Rev. Carolyn Reed first invited me to be part of a new ministry cohort she was starting, I was a little unsure. What gifts could I possibly bring to this group of truly wonderful colleagues and ministers? Despite my hesitations, I joined the group and I am so grateful that I did because this group has been both life-changing and life-giving. Having a group of colleagues whom I could walk with during these first few years of ministry has impacted my work in ways I could not have begun to imagine. Our time together always consists of listening, worship, laughter, and love.

There are eight clergy who make up our group, each of at different stages in our life, but all are in the first few years of ordained ministry. Between the eight of us, we serve congregational, regional, and general ministries, both full-time and part-time, all over Indiana. Whether we are meeting in person, using video calls to connect with each other, or checking in with each other on Facebook, our group is always available to be a sounding board, a place of resources, a space to ask for and offer prayers, and a place of understanding from people who share similar experiences. Together, this group has entered new calls, welcomed babies, celebrated moves, grieved beloved congregants, shared the joys and the struggles of our work, and so much more. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am in my ministry without the love, support, and encouragement of this group.

Just like the little drummer boy, each of us brings “our finest gifts” to this group and to our ministry. Each of these gifts is unique and beautiful. Because of this group, I have had the great joy of seeing and experiencing these great gifts from my seven colleagues. They are a living, tangible reminder to me that no matter what gift we each bring, we are all still welcomed, still embraced, still celebrated, by each other and by Jesus. I am so grateful to the Indiana region and to Rev. Reed for creating this group, for allowing me to be part of it, and for supporting new ministers in the region.

To strengthen the work that regions do for Disciples across our Church, you’re invited to support the 2018 Christmas Special Day Offering, which will support your own regional ministry.