The mission and purpose of the Iron Sharpens Iron Initiative is to equip pastors, at all stages in their ministry, with the tools needed to navigate and manage the diverse spiritual, physical, psychological and practical leadership challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.
The Alabama Florida Episcopal District is a geographic jurisdictional region of the A.M.E. Zion Church. It includes all of Alabama and Florida and portions of Georgia and Mississippi. Within the bounds of the District, there are 330 ministers, with 223 (67%) serving as pastors. We share a desire to help our pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can mentor them through critical challenges in their ministerial life. Our planning project confirmed the needs of our pastors for mentoring, coaching, counseling and professional development. We need to give our senior pastors more opportunities to exercise their spiritual gifts in mentoring and coaching new pastors and pastors launching new churches. To that end, we have designed a five-year project that will provide mentoring, coaching, counseling, peer-to-peer support groups, pastoral retreats, workshops, seminars and succession planning. We have included formative and summative evaluation at multiple intervals throughout the project, as well as a dedicated team that will work on the sustainability of this initiative beyond the five-year implementation project.