2024 COM/CPM Gathering: Workshops

We are so glad that you will be attending “Serving with Energy,” this year’s Synod of Lincoln Trails COM/CPM Gathering in Indianapolis.

++ Leadership style key: 75-25; or 50-50; or 25-75.

  • 75-25 (leader’s voice will account for 75% of the workshop, and participants’ “voices” 25% of the workshop)
  • 50-50 (pretty even, between leader’s voice and participants’ leadership/voices)
  • 25-75 (much more participant-led; with participants directing most of the class)

Workshop descriptions:

Navigating the New Church Leadership Connection Manuel Silva-Esterrich (Offered three times)
Learn about the updated Church Leadership Connection (CLC) and how to navigate and use this tool for discernment for yourself and to accompany faith communities and leaders in the call process.

Conflict: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Ann Schwartz (Offered twice)
COM; STYLE: 50/50
Conflict happens in the church — between pastors and sessions, among staff, with governing bodies and churches. While it can be tempting to ignore it, deny it, or engage in it with relish, there are healthier ways to manage conflict. We will talk about strategies to assess and address conflict that have theological integrity and pastoral sensitivity.

Intercultural Development: Helping Search Teams (and Others) Address Implicit Bias Jihyun Oh (Offered twice)
All participants; STYLE: 25/75
Learn about implicit bias, why it matters, and a framework to engage in intercultural competence. This workshop will specifically address the use of the Intercultural Development Continuum and Inventory (IDI), a tool that can help churches and committees by providing a framework to assess and develop members’ intercultural competence through fostering awareness and facilitating dialogue to create more inclusive and effective ministries. The IDI guides individuals and the church as a whole in navigating cultural diversity and creating environments of belonging. 

Room for Repair:  The Spirit in Trauma-Informed Ministry Rebecca Blair
COM; STYLE: 50/50
Room for Repair Web Handout
Trauma — a word we reserve to name catastrophe and to diagnose and set apart those who experience catastrophic events.  Yet, trauma happens daily, and at some point in each of our lives it happens to us all.  Since those who have experienced trauma often seek healing community in church settings, how those in the church respond to trauma becomes crucial in providing spiritual care to mitigate the potential long-term effects of trauma.  Trauma is the experience we in the church often don’t talk about, but one that we should normalize.  This workshop will explore how we can identify trauma in our midst, respond to it in healthy ways that don’t generate further trauma, and create healing spaces for communal and individual repair.

The Care and Feeding of  Commissioned Pastors/Commissioned Ruling Elders Jennifer Burns Lewis
COM and CPM. STYLE: 50/50

From discerning a call to service and ministry to commissioning and nurture for those who serve in commissioned roles, both CPM and COM can provide clarity and care for ruling elders who feel called to serve. What does the Book of Order say about commissioned pastors? How can we be creative and responsive in our role with ruling elders and congregations?

CPMs: What your candidates most need to know;And what you most need to know to help them!  Ken Green
COM and CPM. STYLE: 75/25.
SOLT CPM ’24 BOP Slidedeck

Beginning a career in ministry presents a variety of challenges to the new pastor. How compensation, benefits, and taxes work for clergy is unusual, even unique. As members of CPM, you can help them be prepared and avoid expensive mistakes.

Our Way or God’s Way?  Eric Heinekamp
COM; STYLE: 75/25
Our Way or Gods Way Slides
How does the church plan for the future? Many of us are trained to use the secular skills of decision making  — making plans based on facts and figures. How can we incorporate the process of discernment to learn what God wants us to be and do?

The Pastor Problem: A Decidedly Presbyterian Approach Nate Brantingham and Macy Ruple
COM and CPM; STYLE: 75/25
Do you have churches in your area looking to COM and CPM to “fix the pastor problem” like we do?  PSEI has launched a fascinating initiative called “Presbytery on the Road” where we have met with clusters of churches in various regions in order to reframe that concern.  In this workshop we will share how we structured these meetings, what we learned from them, and recommend ways of empowering churches of all sizes to take agency in their futures.

Providing Care and Nurture for a New Generation of Inquirers and Candidates Jennifer Burns Lewis
CPM. STYLE: 50/50
What can CPMs do to be great sources of nurture, support and preparation for the gifts and challenges of ministry?

Small Groups that Work: Creating the Space for Making Smart Decisions Susan McGhee
COM and CPM; STYLE 75/25
COMs, CPMs, PNCs, ACs, ICs, and even PJCs: Regardless of the particular alphabet soup you’re swimming in, you’re working with a small group. How we lead and participate in small groups can make a big difference. 

Those Who Have Ears to Hear: Using Story as a Tool of Discernment in COM and CPM Craig Howard
COM and CPM; STYLE: 50/50
Those Who Have Ears to Hear Slides
Good Listening Habits Notes

What do COM and CPM have in common? Both are involved in the work of discernment. CPM is the discernment of call — the deep understanding of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of an individual. COM is the discernment of a congregation. What is the Holy Spirit saying in this time of transition? Conflict? Dissolution? To discern well means to listen well. This workshop helps us to use story as a tool of discernment. It will seek to shift us from analytics to narrative. Furthermore, it will teach listening skills that will help us to hear the still small voice of the spirit in the lives of individuals, sessions, and congregations.


Presbyterian Polity Potpourri: To the Session and Beyond Ken Hockenberry
For ruling elders; STYLE: 25/75
Jeopardy Game 1
Jeopardy Game 2
Church officer training resources from Rev. Brent Anderson
This workshop will update Presbyterians on our polity, helping us better live out this promise we made at our ordination as ruling and teaching elders:
Will you be governed by our Church’s polity, and will you abide by its discipline?  Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry, working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit?  All questions welcome.


  • Workshop 1: Monday at 4 PM
  • Workshop 2: Tuesday at 10:30 AM
  • Workshop 3: Tuesday at 2:30 PM
  • Workshop 4: Tuesday at 3:30 PM