Journey Leadership Team
You need a team just to get ready. Find at least three people who are committed to making this happen. These three (or more) people need to begin by praying together for God’s guidance in preparing and in calling participants. This group will:
- Recruit potential Companions (not required but encouraged!
- Decide if you will charge the participant (we encourage you to charge something as people value what they pay for) or if the congregation will cover the cost of the program (if this decision has budget implications it will need to be approved by the Vestry or other governing body).
- Help the Companion(s) lead introductory meetings designed to introduce potential participants to Journey in Faith.
- Help the Companion(s) invite people to become participants (announcements are fine but rarely work – personal invitations are essential).
- Work with the Companion(s) to help select a meeting time and put it on the congregation’s calendar (this will include talking with potential participants and other program and committee leaders to make sure you don’t conflict with their meetings)
Experience has shown that a trained Companion is essential to the successful implementation of Journey in Faith. A Companion is someone with professional or practical experience in group process and adult education who is skilled at being a “guide from the side” rather than a “sage on the stage.” The Companion does not lead the group – the participants lead the sessions. The Companion organizes the group, leads the first couple of sessions to model the process, coaches the participants, introduces the “tools of the trade” and skills to the group, helps the group evaluate their progress and plan for next steps, assists the group in resolving difficulties, etc.
The Companion usally is the contact person with LeaderResources. Companion training is available through LeaderResources. EfM grads, J2A youth leaders and others with comparable experience are encouraged to become Companions. For more information about Companions contact LeaderResources (800-941-2218 or staff@LeaderResources.org).
The Role of Clergy
It is important that your Rector, Vicar or Priest-in-charge is supportive of Journey in Faith. Even in very large churches, nothing happens if the clergy do not support it. It is the role of clergy to highlight the need for and value of adult education. If your priest is enthusiastic about Journey in Faith that is even better. But, at a minimum, he or she must be openly and regularly supportive.
Your priest might serve as your Journey in Faith Companion – provided that he or she is able to fulfill that role without taking over the group or having the group make him/her into the primary leader. Your priest or minister might also be a group member. Many clergy have few learning opportunities. If your priest or minister has the personality to become an “ordinary member” and the group has the ability to accept him/her as such, Journey in Faith can be a valuable continuing education process for clergy. He/she might choose to do some of the more advanced reading or simply enjoy the sessions as presented.