Leading SGAUMC Forward: A Bright Future with Hope

S3: A Program for Sustaining Excellence in Ministry

Sponsored by the South Georgia Order of Elders and the Board of Ordained Ministry

S3 is a program for sustaining excellence in ministry sponsored by the South Georgia Order of Elders and the Board of Ordained Ministry.  S3 is a collaborative, small group, action learning experience that will help sustain/promote excellence in ordained ministry.  You and your peer group develop and implement a two-year long small group learning experience focused on three areas: Sabbath, Study, and Service.  S3 groups are self-selected and self-directed: you choose the members of your group and you develop the S3 learning project for your group (with direction from the S3 project committee).



If you have questions, contact Rev. Dr. Jimmy R. Asbell, Jr, Director of S3, at jasbell@vinevillemethodist.org or 478-745-3331. 

“The purpose of an S3 group is to create a sanctuary in time providing a Sabbath environment for six to eight self-chosen participants who desire to spend a significant amount of time together over the next 2 years.  Through Sabbath, study, and service the groups create deep, sustaining, enriching relationships with God and one another that sustain/enhance pastoral excellence through life giving settings of their choosing and creating.”

- Purpose Statement of South Georgia’s S3 Group

Information and Application





Applications being accepted for S3 clergy groups

Over 100 South Georgia elders and deacons are currently involved in self-selected groups designed to create deep and lasting friendships and carve out Sabbath time for overworked clergy. These groups of 5-8 pastors are also studying, praying and serving together, although most would probably say that the friendship and Sabbath components of this program are the most valuable.


No other annual conference in Methodism has an ongoing S-3 (Sabbath, Service, Study) program, though several annual conferences are exploring how to copy what South Georgia is doing. 


Here’s how the program works: a group of 5-8 deacons or elders self selects their group, then completes a brief application form which includes how the group plans to spend it’s time together. 


Current South Georgia groups are focusing on everything from bicycling the barrier islands to playing golf, from fly fishing to visiting Georgia state parks, from shooting at rifle ranges to cooking and hospitality. This is the Sabbath component of the program. Each group also chooses a study component and eventually a service project.


Groups selected to become new S-3 groups will be trained at St. Simons Island during 2-night retreat in September. The training will be provided by South Georgia’s first S-3 group, which has now been together for twelve years. Group members include: Shane Green, Jimmy Asbell, Ben Martin, Tommy Martin, Tim Bagwell, Creede Hinshaw and John Stephens. 


Each group will receive $500 per person per year for 2 years to help defray costs of meeting, Sabbath time activities, etc. This money can be used however the group mutually decides.The funds come from contributions from current S-3 members, from grateful churches in South Georgia and from other generous individuals and foundations who are interested in promoting pastoral excellence and clergy health.


You are encouraged to consider forming a group. It can make a lifetime of difference for your ministry, family and personal life.  If you ask around the annual conference you’ll undoubtedly find peers who are enthusiastic supporters and participants in this ministry of clergy health. Friendships and Sabbath are waiting to happen! 


Deadline for applications is July 9, 2021. Applications are available here. Any members of the leader group (listed above) will be happy to give you an encouraging word about this ministry. 

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