Getting Started in Mentoring

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Mentoring is the KeyA pastor’s energies are often caught in leading programs rather than people.  But increasingly church leaders are recognizing the strategic value of building one-on-one relationships through mentoring.

Mentoring can be defined as a deliberate transfer of wisdom from one person to another, with an emphasis on credibility, experience, time and relationship in the transfer process.

There are a variety of types of mentoring ranging from tutoring someone in their golf game to guiding a protégé through self discovery of identity and personal call.

Even if you have never been formally mentored, you can be a mentor.  Mentoring does not require perfection; it demands commitment.  Here are some practical steps you can take to be a mentor:

  1.  Identify the area of your life most likely to be marketable in mentoring context.  What skills, strengths, or particular expertise do you have that would benefit another?
  2. Refine that area through education, self study, and personal discipline.
  3. Acquaint yourself with the philosophy and techniques of mentoring.  Excellent resources are available that will give you practical training in the mentoring process.
  4. Ask God to direct you to individuals whose interest in personal development would coincide with your strength.  Look for those with potential and with a willingness to learn.
  5. Offer yourself as a mentor in a high-expectation relationship to your prospective protégé.  Be prepared to workout a definitive proposal including details of time expectancy, duration of commitment, personal preparations, etc.
  6. Allow God to orchestrate the outcome of the relationship. 

Though you may not see the full impact of your mentoring right away, you can trust that those seeds are sown for a long-term harvest.

Bob Shank

Bob Shank, Excerpted from “Enhancing Your Ministry Through Mentoring”, Ministry Advantage, volume 4, number 4, March-April 1993

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