John HuldenBy Pastor John Hulden, Assistant to the Bishop

I hated assigned seats. Especially in seventh grade. My first experience with a different teacher for every subject was at Ramsey Junior High in south Minneapolis. Some teachers would let us sit where we wanted; others, … no way. I always wanted to sit by the window, or in the back, or, most importantly, by my friends.

That was in 1971. But I still like to pick where and with whom I sit. I guess I haven’t changed much.

Now that I got that off my chest, let’s talk about something really important: Peer Groups.

Did you know the best leaders are in peer groups?
If you don’t believe me, ask someone who is in a peer group.

Why are the best leaders in a peer group?
Because when you gather regularly with a group of colleagues (where you support, learn, and pray together), the Holy Spirit has a better chance to blow through your life – to keep you in balance, to hear real praise, to accept honest criticism … from people you’ve grown to trust and respect.

Do you know how we start peer groups in our synod?
Trick question.
We don’t start peer groups. We want you to start your own peer group.

There are no assigned seats for peer groups. Not on my watch.

peer groups logo
If you work at a MAS congregation, here’s how you start your own peer group.

  • Find a couple of people who do the same kind of work you do, or do ministry in the same community, or folks in radically different contexts.
  • Make sure you like spending time with them.
  • Ask them to lunch.
  • Invite me to that same lunch. And yes, I’ll buy. (Well, I’ll use our MÁS Peer Group grant money.)
  • We’ll talk about how best to make your peer group work for you and your friends.

I look forward to hearing from you when you set up your MÁS Peer Group lunch. Just don’t tell me where to sit.