Every time we gather, we realize that we in pastoral leadership truly need each other. We can’t do this ministry gig alone.

By Scott DeBlock

Every time we gather, we realize that we in pastoral leadership truly need each other. We can’t do this ministry gig alone.

For the past eight years, six RCA pastors from the northeast have gathered every other month for 24 hours at a retreat center in Rhinebeck, New York, to support one another in our lives and in our callings. We come together to worship, pray, talk, and gaze out at the beautiful, majestic Hudson River that connects us geographically and spiritually.

Six pastors from six similar but wonderfully unique RCA congregations in New York and New Jersey check in and share about how our ministries are going. We talk about our families. We lift each other up during times of tragedy. We offer insight to each other as we share the day to day stuff of ministry, as we discern our future, and as some prepare for the transition to retirement.

We know the statistics, the burnout, and the lack of self care. And as the six of us gather on a hill overlooking the river of our fore-parents in faith, we see transformation taking place in each other, in our families, and in our congregations.We have traveled together to the Iona Community in Scotland, and to Silverton, Colorado, where one of us first experienced God’s call to ministry. There, we each reflected on and shared our call to ministry and how we seek to fulfill it today.

As a lead-pastor affinity group, we affirm the strategic priorities of Transformed and Transforming. And as we look at the second priority of “Equipping emerging leaders of today and tomorrow,” we need to be mindful of the clear need of equipping and sustaining our existing leaders as we continue to share the transforming love of God in Christ and engage our culture.

We pastors need each other. We need to care for each other. We need to lift one another up and hold each other accountable. Transformation of those in pastoral leadership comes in coaching and in clergy networks such as ours; these are vital components that cannot be forgotten.

Our group meets again soon. We can’t wait!

Scott DeBlock recently served as senior pastor of Niskayuna Reformed Church in New York and now serves as a coach to RCA pastors and congregations; he writes here on behalf of his lead-pastor affinity group, which includes Tom Bartha, Scott Brown, Kathleen Edwards Chase, Craig Hoffman, and Taylor Holbrook. “Platform” gives RCA members a chance to share their opinions.