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Clus*ter: /’klester/ (noun) A group of similar things or people positioned or occurring closely together.

Each month on the east coast, groups of Coffee Break/Small Group leaders called “Clusters” meet for an hour over the phone. The word “closely”, found in the above definition of a cluster, aptly describes the way members have bonded as a result of their cluster conversations.

The cluster conference call connects leaders from Florida to Connecticut. As the East Coast regional support person for Coffee Break/Small Groups, I assist by facilitating the calls, which vary in size with between three and five people.

What do the leaders talk about? During the phone call, the groups learn together. They discuss practical topics that apply to their local ministry. These topics include questions on materials, leadership development, how to ask good application questions and ways to keep their groups outreaching.  They also keep in touch regarding new materials and regional events.  And they share stories where they see God working in their lives and, and give praise for answered prayers. In fact, a very important aspect of the cluster is prayer. Leaders take time during the cluster conversation to pray for each other as well as for their ministries.   

Even though these leaders are physically far from each other, a closeness has developed as they share joys and challenges with each other. You can imagine this group looks forward to connecting each month!

One member of a cluster expressed her experience this way; “Since we are a small church, and I am the only leader of Coffee Break at the moment, the cluster is like having a leader’s meeting. It is encouraging to hear from other leaders who provide helpful information and ideas…I am thankful for the positive use of technology and the way God has provided the means to interact with one another even over long distances.

Want to connect to a cluster? We’re here to help! Get in touch with us by emailing here or by posting your comments on the Network site.


There is another organization using the word "cluster" that also is working to connect churches on the East Coast and elsewhere. It's an ecumenical movement to end child sexual abuse and it arises out of the work of Linda Crockett and the Samaritan Safe Church initiative. It started in Pennsylvania (after the Penn State scandal) and is now spreading to other areas as well. Many churches are joining this movement of those who are taking a stand against child sexual abuse. Current research says that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before they reach the age of 18. Many believe that it's time to stand up and say, this is NOT OK! The idea behind the "cluster" is that we are not called to do our work alone; there is a strength and a synergy that is only possible when we partner with others, whether it's other CRC congregations, or other Christians, or others with a similar vision. We're stronger in "clusters" whether it's to end child sexual abuse, strengthen congregations, or become effective coffee break leaders. If you'd like more information about the Samaritan Safe Church movement - please contact Safe Church Ministry; maybe there is a "cluster" in your area.

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