BWIM’s Peer Community Groups are an opportunity for Baptist women who are in congregational or non-congregational ministry to connect with and learn from one another.
BWIM’s 2024 Peer Community Groups will be a pilot program to learn how we might best facilitate community among women in ministry.
Women who serve in ministry will apply to be a part of a peer community group of 6-8 other female ministers with whom they have elements of commonality.
The Peer Community Group Experience
Selected applicants will meet monthly via Zoom over the course of 9 months, and will be provided $1,500 to use for one or more of the following:
- travel to spend time connecting in person,
- resources to facilitate Zoom meetings
- communal ministry wellbeing.
For example, a group may choose to use their funds to attend an online event or conference together and curate discussions for their next few months of Zoom calls from their shared experience at the event.
BWIM will provide resources for monthly group discussions, or the group can formulate the content of their meetings in response to needs that emerge from within the group.
Each group will have a facilitator who is a member of the group. The facilitator will be responsible for arranging Zoom meetings and having their church/organization serve as host for the group’s funds.
Why Peer Community Groups?
Matt Bloom’s seminal research study, Flourishing in Ministry: How to Cultivate Clergy Wellbeing (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), describes the contributing factors to a minister’s ability to thrive. Among these factors is social support which has multiple forms—one of which is support from “similar others” or peers.
Too often women in ministry do not have “similar others” to interact with on their church staffs or in close geographic proximity to them. Isolation can be overwhelming and continues to be one of the prevalent contributors to clergy burnout.
From BWIM’s Mentoring Program, we have learned that women in ministry benefited not only from the relationship with a mentor, but also the peer relationships that formed throughout the program. We developed the Peer Community Groups program with the hope of providing these benefits to more Baptist women who are ministers.
BWIM’s Peer Community Groups Program seeks to provide an opportunity for women in ministry to connect with peers, combat the isolation which highly contributes to clergy burnout, and have a safe space to examine aspects of their overall wellbeing.
Who Can Join Peer Community Groups?
Women who serve in congregational or non-congregational ministry who looking for an opportunity to develop relationships with other women in ministry may apply to be a part of the pilot Peer Community Groups program in 2024.
How Can I Join Peer Community Groups?
Applications open on February 15, 2024 and close on March 22, 2024. Groups will meet once monthly from April to December 2024.
Click below to apply to be a part of BWIM’s 2024 Peer Community Groups Program. Applicants will be placed in groups based on commonality in one of the following areas: geography, similar ministry roles, similar lengths of ministry tenure, or similar congregations (if serving as a congregational minister). Applicants also have the opportunity to share any additional factors that they may wish the BWIM staff to know as they consider the dynamics of various groups.