Alongside is a new programme of prayerful, personal support for church leaders, facilitated by ReSource staff, ReSource Ministers and others. The heart of the Alongside initiative is one-to-one companionship for church leaders, with a commitment to befriend, pray with and for, and journey alongside them, whatever kind or level of ministry they are in.
Why the Alongside Scheme?
We have long recognised that many church leaders can become isolated, depleted and discouraged. The Church of England, along with other denominations, has been addressing this through the Clergy Wellbeing agenda, reports and recommendations. The particular demands of the last two years have inevitably increased the pressures and challenges upon everyone in Christian leadership.
What is the Alongside Scheme?
Alongside offers personal, prayerful, support for anyone in church leadership, lay or ordained, aiming to sustain and encourage them in their life, ministry and calling. It is offered voluntarily by a cohort of those aware of these needs and with a particular call to this work.
While some clergy have mentors, coaches or work consultants many have no one alongside them at close quarters as what we might
call a prophetic companion or critical friend, with whom they can be vulnerable and transparent. This is exactly what the ReSource Alongside scheme has been set up to provide.
How does the Alongside Scheme work?
ReSource identifies, interviews and approves wise and mature Christians who recognise a call to offer prayerful companionship to church leaders. We then train them appropriately. The ReSource Companion undertakes to pray for the church leader in and between their meetings, and commits to listening to God as a prophetic voice and critical friend in their life. They offer:
• a prayerful commitment
• an objectivity from outside the context
• the wisdom of their own ministry experience
• the courage to ask searching questions
• the giftedness to offer wise counsel where that might enrich a leader’s life and ministry
This is not mentoring, spiritual direction in a classic sense, work coaching, nor counselling, though Companions may bring complementary experience of any or all of these. Companions are trained to identify and suggest when these further skills and support might be necessary. ReSource undertakes to provide ongoing training, supervisor support and accountability for the Companions
Jolyon Trickey, Alongside Manager
How does the Companion Relationship work?
The Church Leader expresses interest in having a Companion (via the ReSource website) and will be contacted by the Alongside Manager. On the basis of this conversation, contact with a potential Companion is initiated by the Alongside Manager. The Church Leader and Companion have an initial meeting and if they choose to proceed agree their own blend of physical and remote contact negotiated to suit both parties. This will be as frequent as the Church Leader wants, usually every two or three months, maybe more often or longer at first. Continuation of the relationship will usually be reviewed and agreed annually. All conversations are confidential, with no reporting lines back to either church or ReSource leadership, though within the usual safeguarding requirements and limitations.
Reflections from a Church Leader
“I am Naomi, over the past couple of years I have greatly valued my ReSource companion. I am really excited to now have the chance to come alongside others as they discern and process. For me, the conversations have helped navigate the joys, celebrations, pains and disappointments of ministry. I have found no judgement as I honestly shared my unfiltered thoughts and questions. I am passionate about other Church Leaders having the space they need too and look forward to offering listening space and prayerful support to a Church Leader as their companion.”
Interested in finding an Alongside Companion? Click here
If you’re interested in finding out more about what may be in involved in becoming an Alongside Companion yourself get in touch