We’ve all heard the little jingle “one of these things in not like the other”…well in our experience NONE of the leaders who make up a cohort should be exactly like the others. We found that our cohort was enriched due to the diversity of culture (both birth culture and geographical culture), the range of ages, and being a mix of single (ok just me!) and married.
As we answered the question “What would kill our sisterhood?” We quickly realized that being from different districts and geographical locations was a MUST! Why? Wouldn’t it be easier to connect and get together in person if you weren’t all spread across the country. Yes. That’s true, it would be yet it would also create some other issues (possible competition between us for leadership roles and seats at the table in our districts…).
We found that being from different districts made it easier for us to not be emotionally responsive when someone was struggling with another leader or issues within their district; we could be support, be prayer partners and keep confidential that struggle without feeling our loyalties to leadership torn! There is a beauty in the diversity of experience that comes from being from different regions that overshadows (just enough) the lack of face to face meet ups!
Another must is that each cohort member should be in different stages of life. When we took those first tentative steps, Leila, a Lead Church Planter in Colorado, was a momma of 2 little ones (Chase, the tiniest of them wasn’t even on the radar! I am SUPER glad he came along eventually though…I’m a little partial to this munchkin!), Rachel had 3 growing boys and had been pastoring for almost 8 years in the same church, Kathy was an Executive Pastor looking for a Lead role and she had only 3 kids at home (now there’s 5!! and she’s a Lead Pastor), Jennifer was still in the beginning stages of planting the Church she leads and her little one was still being carried around in Andy’s arms and I was single and had been Lead pastoring for 9 months (with very little thoughts of ever getting married-Ryan Beaty was definitely not on my radar!). We were so different, it was AWESOME, and yet we all shared one thing that was our binding: We are all called to vocational Lead Pastoral Ministry.
So don’t be afraid to invite someone in who is WAY different from you in experience, personality (don’t get me started on the diversity of personalities we have…just read our get to know you pages and you’ll see!), geographical location or family make up. The diversity makes the experience rich and safeguards against competition (which Kathy addressed in her Compete or Complement Post) among members.
Go forth and create a Cohort where none of these people are quite like the others! Embrace the weirdness and enjoy the journey!