Pastor, Is Your Mentoring Well?
Much is said about “mentoring” today in pastoral ministry. Some advise that every pastor should be Timothy
to a Paul and a Paul to Timothy.
Connecting with a seasoned pastor provides invaluable wisdom. As well, sharing one’s knowledge with the next
ministerial generation is a privilege.
While the origin of “mentor” is traced to ancient poetry, its need could
not be more modern.
Examples abound in the Scripture for a mentoring relationship
that furthered one’s walk with God:
Jethro and Moses; Moses and Joshua; Eli and Samuel; Samuel and Saul;
Nathan and David; Elijah and Elisha; Naomi and Ruth; Jesus and the twelve;
etc. While these relationships existed
among heroes of the faith, all believers must embrace this ministry as a
calling form the Lord. Mentoring must be
received and it must be given.
Pastor, you mentor congregation members constantly. Whether intentional or not, you are guiding
them in their thinking, response, and growth.
In time, God will provide a mentoring relationship with a ministry
student. This does not always mean that
the student will be in the early 20s or even in college/seminary. Some mentoring is done face-to-face and some
will be done keyboard to computer screen.
Either way, your shared experiential wisdom can help the new minister
add ministerial maturity to his blessed vocation.
Below, you will find a few written reminders from the author
to those studying for the ministry. Many
of the recipients are already serving in a church or other ministry
organization, but they are formal students pursuing a degree.
Ministry is a calling. The privileged opportunity of
serving the Kingdom through the pastoral/ministerial vocation is a divine
opportunity. It is the joy of walking with people thorough the joys and pains
of life. Such occasions are transformed into holy ground as God's Word is
brought into every situation.
Ministry can be challenging. Some have unrealistic
expectations of the minister. Please remember that you ultimately have an
audience of ONE to please. Ministry is akin to the practice of medicine or law.
Think of it as the practice of ministry. Not all things will be done
perfectly. After 19-plus years of ministry, I have been encouraged by seasoned
pastors who have publicly shared their difficulties in public forums, such as
Ministry requires connection. Stay in-tune with your
family. Do not sacrifice your loved ones on the altar of ministry. Know that
there will be times when you have to miss a family event due to an emergency,
but remember that not every need qualifies for your immediate attention.
Empower lay leaders for ministry. Take the phone off the hook/turn off phones
during family meal times. No one is more important than those gathered around
Ministry requires camaraderie. Ministry can be lonely. A connection with other ministers through
regular meetings is most encouraging. Fellowship
with like-minded peers can be just what is needed to fan the flame of
Ministry requires communication. Clear lines of
supervision must be established. Whether it is to the deacon body or personnel
committee (not both), others must be willingly informed of the minister’s
vacation plans, needs, etc. Accountability is critical to integrity.
Ministry may require a change. God may uproot you to transplant in another ministry location or
role. While we strive to “bloom where we
are planted,” the Vinedresser may need us in another garden.
Experience. Were you mentored as a young
minister? Formal education is important,
but mentoring generally exists outside the classroom in the field of labor.
Enthusiasm. Are you looking forward to being a
mentor? Losing the joy of ministry will
cause the calling to become a burden.
Ensure your heart is content.
Will you engage a mentoring relationship, even if you have never been the
recipient of such wisdom? Ponder some
problems you have faced and see if they could have been prevented with seasoned
© Jim Fisher, Ph.D.
Christian Education and Leadership Concepts, LLC.
Fit for the Fight, April
Much of the information is taken from the author’s dissertation: The
Relationship between Selected Disciplines of Physical Wellness and Spiritual
Wellness among Southern Baptist Pastors
 Mentor was a character in Homer’s Odyssey, circa 1150 BC.