This article is being written at a time when the Body of Christ is missing their mentors and leaders from their sons and daughters. Before I entered ministry, I observed that more experienced pastors taught younger, inexperienced. Mentoring is essential for those entering ministry because ministers are hungry for someone to adequately and lovingly take them under their wing and prepare them for this thing called “Gospel Preaching.” However, I have noticed that long-time ministers often go un-mentored, and avoid mentoring others as well.
In 1989 a Fuller Institute project, used the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development ( FASICLD) to show 35 to 40% of pastors actually leave the ministry, most after five years of ministry. Additionally, 81% of pastors reported that regular discipleship programs did not exist nor did they did they learn effective techniques for mentoring others (FASICLD 1989). These troubling findings indicate that some leaders were simply never taught themselves. Also, pastors who were deprived of discipleship go about mentoring from a broken place or unmet needs. It is important that we transition mentoring from this broken place to a healthy place and produce healthy leaders with healthy churches and ministries. Broken is a statement that is usually used to describe “church hurt” this is where a person feel the body treated them like an anti-body and perhaps it made them feel unwelcome. Perhaps they’ve been the subjects of church correction, or maybe they have been the subjects of gossip, or maybe they have been shunned in some way. We need to admit that there may be situations where a congregation has taken action (as in the case of correction) and such actions can feel like hurt inflicted by the entire body. And those actions may be taken in imperfect ways, causing some of the hurt. Moreover, there have been instances where a person, usually in a small church, has felt judged, shunned and/or gossiped about. As leaders we must challenge the old way of mentoring that is only, discipline-driven, loveless, and steeped in negative emotions.
“Mentoring is a developmental relationship through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspectives to foster personal spiritual growth of someone else.
DR. Judy F. Simpson
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