Mentoring

website mentoringMoses mentored Joshua. Elijah mentored Elisha. Jesus mentored the Twelve. Paul mentored Silas … and Timothy … and Titus. Mentoring was the biblical manner in which the past was entrusted to the future. Through mentoring relationships, a chain of leadership was forged that reached through the Patriarchs and Israel into the early church.

Mentor:

  1. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher.
  2. An influential senior sponsor or supporter.
  3. A guide and role model.
  4. Someone who shares practical wisdom about work and life.
  5. One with expertise who develops a relationship with one who has potential.

The word comes from Greek mythology. “Mentor” was the name of Odysseus’s trusted counselor, an older man who advised his king on matters pertaining to war, government, and the household.

In today’s church, we have better schools and seminaries to train ministers, better books and journals, better seminars and training opportunities. But the fine art of “mentoring” has been lost. Younger ministers, so well schooled, don’t understand the need for it. Churches, hopeful and often naïve, do not insist upon it. And older, experienced ministers—possessed of so much hard-won-wisdom—are too involved in their own work to notice the need of those who must carry the baton after them.

Though I am not a prophet, I see hard times ahead for our churches and for the ministers who lead them. The pool of qualified, passionate, dedicated, and experienced ministers is shrinking. Decades of struggle, overwork, conflict, and politics are taking their toll. Yet the pool of younger ministers, rising to fill empty pulpits and ministerial roles, is very shallow. The best and brightest of a new generation do not see themselves leading churches, preaching for churches. Our church-related schools are churning out doctors and lawyers, but few ministers. Our seminaries are producing counselors and youth directors, but few preachers.

Which places a high value on those of a younger generation who have made the commitment to preach. It places a high responsibility on those of us who have the maturity and experience to help them do so effectively … to help younger ministers avoid mistakes of competence or character … to show them—pragmatically and personally—how to lead churches.

Part of my personal ministry is focused on mentoring. I want to build relationships with younger men who have dedicated themselves to the call of preaching for the purpose of encouraging, advising, and modeling for them. I want to walk with younger preachers for a period and bring to bear the benefits of my ministerial successes and failures, my insights and experiences, on their ministries and churches.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact me: tim@timwoodroof.com.

Also, check out mentorNETWORK.

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.