DIFFERENCE. BUILDING. CONNECTION.
The Common Ground Project is committed to fostering, building
and strengthening the next generation of church leaders of color
for congregations and communities.
Consultation Dates: Thursday - Saturday, 30 September-2 October 2010. You may view the consultation schedule here  or download an informational flyer at the bottom of this page.
ABOUT THE CONSULTATION
The Common Ground Project’s Next Generation Consultation seeks to bring together pastors and church leaders of color, with scholars from related fields, to identify and discuss the issues, challenges, commonalities and differences related to the development of the next generations of church leadership for these specific communities and for the greater Church. A significant aspect of this consultation is to create mentoring relationships between key current leaders in the church and emerging church leadership among the next generation*.
This invitation-only consultation will begin with a gathering at McCormick from 30 September - 2 October 2010, and then continue for at least a year with scheduled teleconferences, ongoing web-based communications, and smaller regional group meetings arranged by Project leadership. These activities will culminate approximately one year later with a second gathering at McCormick with this same group to review and assess the consultative process and develop strategies for moving forward. If you are interested in attending, please contact The Common Ground Project. 
This consultation will begin with a gathering at McCormick Theological Seminary from 30 September - 2 October 2010 and will continue for a year with monthly teleconferences, ongoing web-based communications and smaller, quarterly, regional group gatherings. These activities will culminate approximately one year later with a second gathering at McCormick with this same group. There are four primary goals of this consultation:
• Networking.To build an emerging leaders network for on-going dialogue and fellowship through engaging conversation around similarities and differences among the “next generation”.
• Mentorship. Create a cycle of mentorship by bringing together emerging and existing leaders for the purpose of mentorship and developing mentors for the future.
• Collaboration. Identify common issues among the next generation and find creative ways in which the participants of the consultation can collectively address them in the long term.
• Formation. Develop and sustain ministerial practices that form and maintain a healthy ministerial identity.
FOCUS FOR CONVERSATION
There are many issues that the next generation of church leaders face and the planning team has identified the following contextual challenges and issues to focus on in the consultation discussion and mentoring relationships:
• Intergenerational church issues. Language, culture gaps and changes in social realities can contribute to intergenerational tensions.
• Women’s role in church leadership. Women of color often find that their authority as ministers is either disregarded or undermined.
• Building and maintaining a healthy identity. How can emerging church leadership develop a healthy racial/ethnic identity, regardless of context, and navigate the tension between identity preservation and a shifting sense of identity within various contexts?
• Navigating a multicultural context. Identifying and gaining effective tools and models (i.e. leadership and “survival” skills) for navigating multi-cultural congregations/denominations or congregations/denominations where the dominant race or ethnicity is not the same of the minister.
An ongoing value of this event is that of mentorship. For one year, following the initial consultation in October, participants will have an opportunity to participate in ongoing "mentoring" relationships of two kinds:
Mentor-mentee relationships. A select number of well "seasoned" individuals who bring life and professional experiences that address the aforementioned issues will serve as mentors to persons "young in ministry" who are facing these same issues. Information about our mentoring leadership is forthcoming.
Peer mentoring relationships. Some participants are more in need of colleagues who are facing the same issues. For these individuals, peer mentoring cohorts will be formed in order to provide a formal format for conversations and support to continue throughout the year.
If you, or someone you know, is interested in participating in a peer mentoring group or as a mentee, please contact the project director, Rev. Emily McGinley at firstname.lastname@example.org  or 773 947 6319.
What is a consultation? This gathering is participatory for all who attend. A consultation is where everyone’s opinion is desired and being consulted.
What will I be doing? What will I be doing? You will be expected to contribute to the conversation. You are being invited because we believe your perspective is valuable. An additional (optional) component to the consultation is that of mentoring relationships (see below).
What is my commitment? If you are participating in a mentoring relationship, you are expected to participate in both the first and second consultation a year later (date TBA). If you are participating, but not in the mentoring aspect, only your participation in the first gathering is requested.
What's in it for me? At the same time, you will have an opportunity to network with like-minded colleagues, collaborating with them on addressing the issues discussed. You will also have an opportunity to enter into a mentoring relationship – either among peers or with a mentee/mentor. (The mentee/mentor relationships will be arranged beforehand. If you are interested, contact Emily!)