On Friday I suggested that mentoring is an ideal approach to training preachers, while in no way diminishing the value of formal training or personal improvement approaches like reading, attending seminars, etc. On Saturday I offered the concept of mentoring to a small group of church leaders and suggested that biblically mentoring is at the heart of ministry, and especially the core ingredient in leadership development. Instead of viewing church life as seasons of stability interrupted by periodic crisis when transition needs to occur, we would be better off viewing leadership development and even transition as a continual process.
So regarding mentoring, I’d like to offer a couple of clarification comments:
1. Mentoring by definition implies a purposeful relationship for building up another person. Stanley and Clinton define mentoring as “a relational process in which one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources.”
2. Mentoring is not imitation. The person being mentored is invested in by the mentor, who shares resources and helps the “mentee” to be who God made them to be, not to be who the mentor is.
3. The mentor is not in control of the mentee’s life. Mentoring can easily be abused when the agenda becomes the mentor’s agenda and the mentee becomes a person somehow “owned” by the mentor. The agenda is really the mentee’s, even though the mentor may sometimes know what would benefit them more than they do.
4. There is no reason why the mentor should not be surpassed by the mentee in some way. The mentor is not an absolute limit beyond which the mentee may not pass. A good mentor will look to leverage their own resources for the sake of the mentee, as well as the resources of others that either may be able to access, always leaning on the Lord since He is the giver of all resources, and looking to launch the mentee into greater fruitfulness, growth and maturity.
So much more could be said, but perhaps that can come via comments or in future posts. The question is, are we being mentored and are we mentoring others in the realm of preaching?