Most of us remember Augustine (345 – 430 AD) for the quotes attributed to him. A book entitled Augustine as Mentor suggests that in addition to being a theologian and bishop of Hippo (today’s Algeria), he played a significant role in mentoring leaders. Let’s first identify a few quotes, then we’ll define mentoring and describe selected principles for mentoring.
- You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.
- If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.
- What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
- Love the sinner and hate the sin.
- Christ is not valued at all unless He be valued above all.
- Do not seek to understand in order to believe, but believe that you may understand.
Mentoring is “ the work of one Christian helping another disciple or group of disciples grow in their knowledge and application of the teachings of Jesus and the Scriptures. Put another way, the mentor coached his disciples toward realizing the fullness of their salvation” (in Augustine as Mentor, p.55)
This is a good, albeit broad, definition. It could also refer to discipleship or coaching. The working definition used by CLC is “a developmental relationship between a more experienced person (mentor) and a less experienced partner (mentee). Through regular interactions, the less experienced partner trusts and applies the mentor’s guidance for gaining perspective, skills, information, and experience.”
For either definition, several principles provide helpful guidance for the mentors and mentees. These include the following.
- Relationships: Mentors and mentees are invited into a caring personal relationship that is characterized by both discipline and grace.
- Modeling and Involvement: Mentors not only model effectiveness and maturity in ministry but also involve mentees in the work of ministry, so that the mentees can grow from both the experience as well as from supervised feedback.
- Releasing into ministry: Releasing flows from modeling as the mentee matures into new levels of responsibility and interdependence. Releasing is essential in order to avoid an unhealthy dependency on the mentor.
- Resourcing leaders: Mentors provide continued encouragement, advice, and support to guide mentees in their dealings with the opportunities and challenge of life and ministry.
Church Leadership Center participates in matching all of our participants with mentors. We also provide orientation and supervision of the mentoring process. “Mentor Check-in Reports” are conducted twice a year, where mentors are solicited for information (below), while their responses are followed up as is appropriate.
- We are meeting (underline one) weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, less.
- Activities, accomplishments, or areas of progress of the candidate during the past six months.
- Areas about which I or classis leadership should be informed regarding the candidate’s progress.
- Ways that we can be of further assistance to you or your mentee.
Mentoring is at the heart of how Church Leadership Center works in partnership with pastors, churches, and other ministry groups. We also do assessment interviews and reports; personalized training plans, classes, and certification so that participants are able to increase their effectiveness in all areas of church life. To view videos about Commissioned Pastors and those who support them, click here.