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It’s easy to feel isolated when you’re leading a ministry. If the attendance drops, a volunteer steps down, or parents are unhappy, everyone looks to you for solutions and direction. But who do you look to for support, encouragement, and advice?

Last week I attended a workshop led by Betsy Ensign-George and Meg Rift from the Congregational Ministries Division of the PCUSA. They asked us to identify people we can count on to be our sounding boards, advisors, and prayer partners. They even had a diagram that included several categories—people from our church, our denomination, our community (like children’s ministry leaders from other churches), and relationships outside the church with our friends and family.

Too often when the going gets tough I just buckle down and try harder instead of pausing to pray, asking someone for advice, or searching for new ideas. It was encouraging to see Betsy and Meg’s chart with the word “Me” in the middle connected to over a dozen colorful circles with labels like “Pastoral Staff,” “Committee Members,” “Outside Interests,” and “Mentor,” all with empty lines underneath—spaces for the names of people who could encircle me with encouragement!

I hope that’s also what this network will be—one more connection to others who are on the same journey, others who might have ideas we’ve never tried before or questions we haven’t thought of yet. It won’t replace the listening ear of a trusted mentor, but it might be one more link in the web of support we’re weaving.

Who are some of your greatest encouragers? People who provide help when you’re feeling overwhelmed? People who help you sort through the priorities and pray about the path ahead?

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