Peer Group Study Guidelines

Guidelines for Formation of Peer Groups
Pastors in Indiana are invited to form peer groups that reflect the following guidelines: 

  • All of the plans, topics, and activities must relate to the overall goal of the Indiana Clergy Peer Group Study Program
  • The primary focus is on leadership and/or worship and resources for congregational life.
  • The program holds up the principle of self-selection of pastors into peer groups.
  • Pastors will be expected to take the initiative to seek out colleagues with whom they can study and interact on a fairly intensive basis over three years. 
  • At the same time, it is important to hold up the expectation that peer groups are inclusive and diverse and have at least four of eight diversity factors (race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, denominational background, size of congregation, location of church and theology).


A recommended process to form the peer group is the following:

a) one colleague identifies another

b) the two colleagues meet to identify two others to meet with them

c) four colleagues meet to identify together four other colleagues to invite into the peer group.  This is a possible way to build ownership in the formation of a peer group


Once the proposed peer group has been identified and approved to proceed, the Project Manager is informed, and a Coach is assigned to meet with the peer group during its initial retreat and other scheduled times. The purpose of the retreat is to begin the process of group formation and to further explain the program.  Groups will meet initially in a two full day retreat in Indiana, with their Coach.  There is $1500 to help with the cost of this retreat for group members and Coach.

Following the retreat, a detailed plan of study for three years is developed.  It should include goals and objectives, how they will be met, time lines, procedures for evaluation, and consultations that will take place with the appropriate congregational groups about their plans.  In addition, budgets must be prepared for each year giving costs for leadership, travel, study materials, etc.   All of the plans, topics and activities must relate to the overall goal of the Indiana Clergy Peer Group Study Program to focus primarily on leadership and/or worship and resources for congregational life.  It is expected that a Peer Group of eight will take from three to six months to put together a three year study program.  Meetings need to be a minimum of six hour and be related to the project to be reimbursed for mileage and one meal.  Up to $500 is available for travel related to planning meetings and presentation of the proposal for groups that have been approved. 

As soon as a draft of a peer group’s three year plan is available, there should be consultation with the Project Manager.  After the consultation, a final proposal is submitted for approval.   The peer groups will meet with the Project Leadership Team (PLT) to present their final proposals.  These presentations may be power point, posters, paper, video or a combination.  Be creative!  It is expected that all members of the group will be present for this time with the Project Leadership Team.

After final approval from PLT, the peer group proceeds with implementation of the three year plan and receives funds according to the time line that has been worked out. Plans can be amended with approval from the PLT.

Indicate when and how the three year study plan will be reviewed annually by the congregations.

Checklist and timeline for Peer Groups

___1.  Form group of 8 pastors according to PGSP guidelines.


___2.  Contact PGSP Project Manager with names and contact information of each member.  Individual applications sent to group members.


___3.  Individual applications submitted.


___4.  Upon acceptance as a group, Coach assigned.  Set date for Initial Retreat.  The group is responsible for setting up the retreat with the Coach.  (The retreat is not part of the group’s budget but is part of a separate budget line.)  There are guidelines for the retreat. Decide on a name for the group.


___5.  Begin work on proposal and budget.  (The group may have the Coach for a day, if needed.)


___6.  Upon completion, present proposal to the Project Leadership Team. PLT meetings are typically set one year in advance.  Check with Becki or Karen for dates.


___7.  Group application due with project proposal.


 ___8.  Upon acceptance of proposal:

a. Schedule group/spouse/partner orientation
b. Schedule group/congregational leadership team orientation

Group responsibility for setting up and clearing dates with CTS office for both orientations.  The group is also responsible to set up the schedule.  (The orientations are on separate budget lines and are not part of the group’s budget but there are guidelines.)


 ___9.  Begin 3 year project

a. After each event – follow up reflection day within a month.
b. Every Meeting Feedback Form – This form is also on the web and will be received electronically upon completion.  An evaluation form must accompany any reimbursement form. A form must be completed for each event, meeting, and reflection meeting.
c. Travel Expense Report – The Business Office will only reimburse with this form and there must be original receipts; must be submitted within 3 months of the event.


___10.  Update proposal as necessary – all changes must be approved by PLT


 ___11.  Yearly a group has up to 3 days with a Coach

a. Annual budget review
b. Annual review of learning objectives – goals
c. Annual congregational evaluation

 Download PGSP Checklist/Timeline (PDF)