Leadership Training

The Conference offers a number of leadership training opportunities for clergy and lay leaders. Learn about some of them below.

Ministerial Excellence Groups

What is a Ministerial Excellence Group?

ucc-leadership-trainings-minnesotaA “Community of Practice (CoP)” is a group of people who share a craft and/or a profession and who learn from each other, support each other, and develop themselves personally and professionally by sharing information and experiences. The Minnesota Conference UCC has a number of such groups, called “Ministry Excellence Groups,” which meet 8-10 times a year with a facilitator.

Some of these groups meet in person, but others meet via video web-conferencing because the participants are hundreds of miles apart. Each group of 5 or 6 develops its own covenant, and each meeting typically involves a time of worship, personal check-in, and a case study or topic for discussion presented by one of the members. A paid, trained facilitator leads the worship, sends email reminders, and attends to group process to ensure the time is well spent.

How Much Does it Cost?

Each participant pays $250/year to be part of the group. The Conference invoices participants twice a year ($125 each time) and many pastors pay for this out of continuing education or professional expenses.

Get Involved: Join a Group

New groups can be started at any time as long as we have a facilitator available and a minimum of 4 participants. Contact Rev. Rick Wagner if you’re interested either in becoming part of a group or in being trained as a facilitator (rickw@uccmn.org or 612-871-0359). Distance is not an issue if you have a good internet connection, and some financial assistance may be available if the cost is a problem. Ministry is a challenging and sometimes lonely profession. Why not join a group that is both supportive and educational?


Our initial groups are now in their second year. Most participants have re-upped and we’ve gotten some excellent feedback.

“I had my Ministry Excellence Group this morning. Given the weather and my current workload, I thought, ‘Do I really want to drive all that way and devote half of my day to this?’ Well, yes. I went, and as always, I drove away afterwards feeling heard, renewed, a little bit smarter, and grateful for the people in our group. They are good, good people and it is gift to be able to travel together in our various ministries, with humor and tears and stuff in between. And our facilitator is fantastic, which is a bonus. Thanks for forming these Ministry Excellence Groups!”
— Ministerial Excellence Group Participant