RNS Press Release Service

New weekly video series to provoke and inspire ministers

The “Three Minute Ministry Mentor” brings research-based, resource-rich, support for ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new 52-week video series, “Three Minute Ministry Mentor” (3MMM), is launching online this Advent.

Each video, just three minutes in length, is designed to help ministers by easing the burden of isolation, inspiring attention to learning, and expanding their pastoral imagination.

Every week 3MMM creator and host Eileen Campbell-Reed introduces a key idea, tells a story to flesh it out, and offers a practical resource for ministers who want to go deeper. Each episode closes with a provocative question to engage ministers at all stages of their professional and spiritual development.

For some ministers, Campbell-Reed’s experience and mentoring will offer the connecting point for growth they seek. For other pastors, seminary students and professors the 3MMM series will provide ideas and questions that empower their existing mentoring relationships.

Seminary professor Duane Bidwell says the 3MMM series promises to “cultivate the skills of intentional reflection.” Bidwell is Professor of Practical Theology, Spiritual Care, and Counseling at Claremont School of Theology (CA).

“This video series offers new ministers a wise, seasoned voice to focus attention on what really matters about learning the practices of ministry. Eileen Campbell-Reed functions like both a guardian angel and a devil’s advocate to promote reflective practice in real time,” says Bidwell, an ordained Presbyterian minister, and practitioner of vipassana (insight meditation) in the Theravada Buddhist tradition.

Mentoring relationships – with peers or senior ministers – are key for new ministers to understand and reflect on how their ministry practice changes and grows over time. Earlier studies led by Penny Long Marler of “pastoral leader peer groups” show multiple benefits for pastors and congregations when ministers take part in well-structured peer groups.

Campbell-Reed’s research in the Learning Pastoral Imagination (LPI) Project, which has been following 50 seminary graduates since 2009, also provides grounding for the 3MMM series. Findings in the LPI study confirm over and again the power of mentoring for shaping pastoral identity and practice. However, time constraints on ministry, professional isolation, and other social barriers often contribute to a deficit when it comes to mentoring relationships.

More troublesome than busyness or isolation, however, is a lack of clear understanding that to flourish in ministry one needs thoughtful questions, reflective conversation, and practical feedback from others. The 3MMM series creates opportunities to consider how ministry skills, knowledge, relationships, and everyday experience are integrated into a flourishing practice of ministry.

Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Care at Duke Divinity School, Jan Holton calls the newly launched Three Minute Ministry Mentor series “a valuable resource.” Holton plans to use it in her teaching, “to help students shape, claim, and live into their emerging pastoral identities.”

Holton, an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church, plans to assign 3MMM videos to her Pastoral Theology and Care class in order “to immerse students in crucial self-reflection not only about their developing pastoral care skills but also the broader frame of learning from pastoral practice.”

Pastor Amy Mears has served Glendale Baptist Church in Nashville for 15 years, following a decade of chaplaincy. Looking back she wonders, “What would the trajectory of my ministry have been like if there had been mentors—in addition to pastors, teachers, and counselors—in the early days?”

Mears, who also teaches courses in preaching and worship says, “Campbell-Reed provides another level of understanding and practice in the task of mentoring. I will use her prompts with field-education students who come for supervision. In my preaching classes, we’ll watch the videos as we discuss the formation of preachers in their spiritual and practical development.”

The video series, produced by Adelecia Company and shot in Nashville, aims to foster growth in pastoral imagination for:
• Chaplains, pastors, activists, and congregational staff ministers
• Seminary students
• Ministers who are geographically and professionally isolated
• First call pastors
• Ministers in peer and covenant groups
• All ministers seeking more meaningful mentoring relationships

Episode one of 3MMM introduces “ministry as a practice.” Other topics in the series include: seeing holy depths, self-reflection, “being there,” embodiment, listening, and collaboration.

“Every minister needs a mentor,” says Campbell-Reed. “That mentoring can take many forms. My hope each week is to prompt reflection and start conversations that bring fresh attention to the practice of ministry.”

To receive weekly posts to your inbox, sign up at 3MinuteMinistryMentor.org.

About Three Minute Ministry Mentor host
Rev. Dr. Eileen R. Campbell-Reed teaches at Central Seminary’s Nashville campus. She is the author of the “State of Clergywomen in the U.S.” (2018). She is the co-director of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project and author of numerous articles on the practice of ministry, women’s leadership, and qualitative research. Her latest book is Anatomy of a Schism: How Clergywomen’s Narratives Reinterpret the Fracturing of the Southern Baptist Convention (UT Press, 2016).

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Eileen Campbell-Reed
[email protected]
(615) 436-2550