It’s All About Relationships…and Networking…and Resources

by Debbie Gline Allen


Sometimes we can get bogged down in the details. Sometimes we get caught up in needing to do it all ourselves. Sometimes we forget that we could benefit from an exchange of ideas. These are common behaviors among those who serve congregations, particularly among those who serve in faith forming ministries — Christian educators, youth ministry leaders, Sunday School volunteers, and ministers, to name a few.

The Massachusetts Conference provides opportunities for these professionals and volunteers to gather monthly to share resources, ideas, and to support each other in these ministries. They are called Christian Education & Youth Ministry Communities of Practice and they are provided for anyone in the church who could benefit from connecting with others in faith formation and Christian education & youth ministries.

There are eight of these Communities of Practice that meet monthly throughout the state of Massachusetts — in Framingham, Newburyport, Northampton, Plymouth, Sherborn, Wellesley, Winchester, and one that rotates its meeting locations through the churches in the Central Association.

The facilitators are trained and experienced church educators who guide their groups in fostering collegial relationships, sharing of best practices, and offering support in the day-to-day joys and struggles in this ministry. One of the aspects that makes these groups so effective is that the facilitators ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak who desires to, and are trained to avoid a focus on complaints and grievances. The purpose of the group is to create an uplifting atmosphere that enhances each participants’ ministry and supports them in positive ways.

Participants come away with new resource and program ideas, affirmation of their ministry, and connections with colleagues who are a phone call away to offer support when needed. One participant has shared that “this group is my lifeline. When I get stuck or need a fresh idea, I receive several proven ideas and resources to choose from and then try with my congregation.” Another stated, “These people are my best colleagues, and some of them have become good friends. It can get lonely out there; I can’t imagine being in this ministry without them.”

Click here for more information and to contact the CE COP facilitator nearest you.

Faith formation ministries are about Christian community and the relationships formed in walking together in the ways of Jesus. Christian Education & Youth Ministry Communities of Practice are here to assist you in this journey.

Debbie Gline Allen

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