This Covenant Group has been the largest encouragement to my ministry and my soul I have ever received.
I have loved the covenant group experience. I have developed new life-giving friendships. I have a better understanding of soul care and feel replenished and more equipped to provide it to others. I am grateful for Alan’s leadership and wisdom and vision for this ministry. I highly recommend it.
Pastors are notorious for pouring all of their time and energy into others while pouring next to nothing into themselves. I was no different before entering into a covenant group with Alan and 3 other men. Being one who has struggled to truly trust others at a deep level, my covenant group quickly became a safe place I had never experienced nor thought possible before. My soul has been forever changed because of my time with those men in covenant.
The Covenant Group experience was exceptionally life giving for my spiritual, emotional, and relational health. There’s just simply nothing else like it. It’s not shop talk, it’s soul talk! It’s perhaps the one place where you’re not the most influential leader in the room and that’s a good thing! It’s only then I can come face to face with my greatest fears and greatest joys. All the while, being embraced by the caretaker of my soul and understood by guys who know what it’s like to carry the weight of spiritual leadership.
Over the last three years I’ve really enjoyed meeting and connecting with the other guys in our covenant group. It’s probably more about heart and soul development than it is about ministry x’s and o’s. I have found the guys in the group to be very supportive, and they’ve provided some excellent insight as I’ve wrestled with various elements in my world over the past 18 months. Alan is quite enthusiastic (no surprise there) and real. I give the experience a strong thumbs up. I think it’s something you should consider.
“Koinonia” in its truest sense is “knowing and being known.” That is what the experiences in my Fraternity Group has provided me. As someone in a highly visible, and often unforgiving role as a church leader, the opportunity to be part of a group where there are no secrets, and support is offered even in your darkest and most troubling moments, is invaluable. The relationships, challenges, and encouragement I have received in this group has literally changed my life. I would (and do) recommend this to any church leader who is seeking to be healthy and whole in both their public and private worlds.”
I have to confess that when I was invited to be a part of a Covenant Group my first reaction was “No Way!” The thought of having to open up with four guys that I did not know, twice a year over three years in person and every month on the phone just did not sound appealing. All that touchy feely stuff is not for me! But the invitation came to me after I had been praying about growing as a man of God serving in a church. This had to be God. Plus when I told my wife about it, honestly in my most unenthusiastic way, she said – “You need to do it!” God and my wife, I was not able to argue or say no!
Now having completed the three year journey, I am so glad I listened. Covenant Group has been such a deeply rewarding experience. To be held close. To have a place simply for soul care. To be connected to four men of faith in real “no-agenda” friendship has resulted in more blessing that I could have ever imagined. Alan’s deft and wise touch in facilitating our meetings has created a flow where the Holy Spirit has done some deep work in each of our group members. Every meeting has been enriching. I can honestly say that I am a better man today because of my experience with my Covenant Group.
After spending enough time with other pastors to develop trust and feel safe sharing personal issues and hurt, it becomes clear that we all go through the same highs and lows and deep pain that comes with our unique calling. To have bothers who truly understand and truly care has brought me great encouragement! Alan Algrhim is finishing his ministry as a wise and inspiring pastor of pastors. For that I am grateful!
Ministry can be a lonely road. If you’re reading this, I don’t have to tell you that. When I was invited to join this group and I casually shared the idea with my wife, her immediate response was: “You need this, you need to do this.” She was right. I’ve had no other group in 22 years of ministry where I was able to unpack things I was wrestling with personally with men who understood and who were able to do the same. This has been a game changer for me and has kept me in the game in many ways.
Leadership can be a lonely position. Who “pastors” the pastors? Where is it “safe” to vent in a constructive way? And, where can we as pastors go for godly wisdom and direction and support? Our covenant group of pastors has been a wonderful blessing and source of healing. Every pastor would be blessed to be a part of covenant group for encouragement and mutual growth.
Why did I wait so long! Over my years of ministry I heard about the camaraderie of being part of a Covenant Group but I had never experienced it until three years ago. Actually, I was a little envious of others that had the deep ministry colleague relationships I had never encountered. Frankly, I was pretty much a lone ranger in ministry. I’m thankful to Alan Ahlgrim for the prodding and encouragement to participate in a group. This connection of five men literally became a group that shared, discussed and received counsel on any subject. No topic was untouchable! I can’t believe it’s taken me until this season of ministry to finally experience the deep relationships I needed all along. If you haven’t been part of a Covenant Group, I would encourage you to join one. Today, I’m a better Jesus follower, husband, family man, pastor, ministry coach and friend as a result of my Covenant Group!
I don’t share like this any other place. I must admit, I had some reservation about making a three year commitment to a Covenant Group. Now that the three years have flown by, I can say this has been an incredible experience. This is not about church growth; this is about your personal growth. The purpose of a Covenant Group is to provide care for your soul! What I have learned about myself and what I have learned about drawing closer to God has changed my future! If you have an opportunity to join a group – don’t look for a reason to say no, say yes! The Lord wants to enrich your soul!
We all have people that care for all our temporary stuff like lawns, cars, homes, hair, etc. It makes sense that we would invest in the eternal and have some soul care. Covenant Group was a great investment in my soul and I am at a better place because of that investment.
You need someone to care for your soul-life! In a three-year covenant group, you will laugh, cry, sigh, roll your eyes, and take a deep-dive into caring for your soul. Where and Who cares for your soul, or encourages you to care for your soul? A covenant group can do that! (I have only experienced a guys-group, but I know that a gals-group could be organized!) I said to our facilitator recently, “This is an authentic group. Some groups let you look into the windows of their life, some the front door. But, a Covenant Group lets you look in the garage.” You know, the real stuff that causes you the real pain and keeps you from realizing you are a beloved child of the Most High God. These men are my “heart-friends” and will influence me for the rest of my life!
This has brought new perspective to me about what I should do next. It’s been deeply impactful! I’m a bigger man now and feel like I can become a bigger man still.
Typically mega-church guys are clustered by pecking order, but this group is more of a circle than a pyramid. Ministry can be `the best of times and the worst of times.’ During one of those `worst of times’ I got connected with a Fraternity Group of pastors who encouraged, challenged, and inspired me. Over three years we bonded together as brothers and experienced a whole new level of soul care. I may not have made it through that challenging season of ministry had it not been for my Fraternity Group. I can’t recommend these groups highly enough!”
Walking through this process has been life changing for me. I am in such a better place than when we began and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime. I wish I had been able to have this experience much earlier in life but am certainly glad I found it when I did.
These are guys I’d go fishing with even if the fish weren’t biting! I have nothing else in my life like this… We’ll be at each others funerals.
I was in Alan’s first Covenant group and not knowing what to expect or how it would go, I was amazed at how quickly our group bonded and the depth that our conversations went! We eagerly looked forward to each session because Alan Ahlgrim did a great job of creating an environment where we could learn, challenge each other, and honestly open up and share that lead pastors, to their detriment, typically keep bottled up! The experience meant so much to us that our group continued with occasional calls for years after our in-person meetings. Together, we have worked through some really tough issues and ultimately, we grieved at the sudden & untimely death of one of our group, our friend John Seitz. If you have not been in a Covenant Group, you need to be in one!
In an increasingly efficiency minded culture of ministry, networking around kingdom advancement is highly valued. Most friendships among church leaders seem to be formed and inspired by sharing Kingdom vision. As “iron sharpens iron” we meet to pray over, discuss and drive the growth of the eternal Body, the church. While these friendships are important, we all need a cohesive group of friends, a fraternity so to speak, that goes beyond seeking a greater harvest in the execution of practical ministry. We need a fraternity that will challenge the current and future health of our souls. We all need to have a group of friends with whom we can share the things of our inner world. The Fraternity of which I am a part has been an amazing blessing and has changed the trajectory of my life. You need one too.
My Fraternity (Covenant) Group experience changed my life and my ministry more than any other group or commitment over my ministry career. The group made me a better husband, father, and minister. The Spirit of God directed my life clearly through my group to a new ministry calling that continues to be a source of blessing in my life. My experience with Alan was incredible! I would encourage every minister to be a part of a group like this.