By Laura Stephens-Reed
The peer learning group breakfast at General Assembly has traditionally been a time of fellowship, learning, and encouragement. This trend will continue in Dallas, with Garrett and Cameron Vickrey reflecting on the impact PLGs have had on their ministry and family for multiple generations. Garrett is pastor of Woodland Baptist Church in San Antonio and a participant in a group, and his father Ray (longtime pastor of Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas) is a member of the long-running PLG known as The Neighborhood. Garrett and Cameron have three daughters.
Here is a preview of what our speakers will share:
Garrett, when and how did you first become aware of your father’s involvement in The Neighborhood?
“My father worked hard at maintaining relationships with his peers. Whether it was the neighborhood or other ministry friends, he was constantly in touch and spending significant time with friends. The neighborhood group was always constant. I guess I was in elementary school when they started getting together. I didn’t really know what it was about. I just knew cigars were involved. I knew my dad was gone for a week and that he was at someplace he called ‘The hood.’ I assumed he was with friends.”
Garrett, what was important to you about connecting with a peer learning group yourself?
“Sometimes as ministers we are the charcoal filter for people’s crazy. We need an outlet. We need perspective. My peer group reminds me of the ridiculous nature of our jobs (at times), as well as the impact and significance of our calling.”
Cameron, how has Garrett’s involvement in a PLG made a difference in your family?
“There are certainly benefits in how Garrett goes about his work. The sharing of sermon ideas and illustrations is a great benefit and helps shorten (at times) the length of preparation for sermons during the week. This group has become some of his closest friends and they support each other and share experiences.”
Come and hear more at the peer learning group breakfast. It will take place at 7:30 am on Friday, June 15. The cost is $20 for conveners and $25 for all other interested parties. You can sign up and pay for the breakfast when you register for General Assembly. (If you have already registered for the week, you can modify your registration to add the breakfast.) See you in Dallas!
Laura Stephens-Reed is Peer Learning Group Regional Director for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. She also serves as a clergy coach and congregational consultant.