Minimal requirement: Meet with mentor face-to-face at least twice per year.
Optimal scenario: Meet with mentor four times a year, assisting in continuous ongoing growth and development, and ensuring accountability. The mentor will help you to hold unto the dreams and visions which brought about the calling into ministry. Moreover, through life you learn to have somebody close to you whilst conducting an honest, authentic and transparent life in the light of God. To model this transparent living and thereby passing it on to the next generation.
Much mentoring within churches lacks conversation about God and faith. Currently, churches often focus on psychological therapy or corporate coaching. We have borrowed and have been inspired so much from both psychology and business that we have sometimes lost our distinctiveness regarding conversations about God and Faith. It is a pity as the church has a long tradition of keeping Jesus in the center of conversation, meaning the church has something special to offer. Thus, conversation should not neglect the importance of keeping Jesus at the center, while still dealing with personal issues and goals.
Mentoring is not purely psychological therapy, where the human individual is at the centre. Nor is it solely spiritual guidance, where only religious issues are dealt with. Further, mentoring is not just corporate coaching where individuals are encouraged to become more effective at tasks. Rather, mentoring in a Christian context lies in the field between these three and therefore is unique.
In terms of content mentoring includes three levels. First and foremost, there is a practical level that deals with common everyday events and processes, as well as challenges and objectives within these areas. Next, it also covers a psychological level where human history, identity and the inner life are treated. Thirdly and most importantly, mentoring in a Christian context has its foundation and roots at the existential level, where questions about life and faith are found.
In Christian mentoring Christ is at the center of conversation. Therefore, neither the confident nor the mentor is the most important factor in conversation, but rather the presence and leadership of God. Secondly, mentoring has love as the boundary which hereby eliminates certain thought patterns, goals and actions as solutions to given problems, as Christianity teaches us that they will ultimately do us more harm than good.
The conversation may cover wishes, consequences, obstacles and goals. Thus, conversation may cover practical, psychological and existential elements but Christianity remains the central focus. In practice, it may be helpful to utilize prayer, the Bible and the Church. It may be of use to utilize life stories from the bible as a reflection and prayer tool as an end to a mentoring session, or as an ecclesiastical resource during.
- As a leader you will have chosen your mentor
- We recommend you meet about four times a year, minimally twice a year
- The conversations will challenge you to growth personally, socially and spiritually
- Your mentor will assist you in reflecting and refocusing
- Your mentor will share his experience but the mentor will often be the one asking questions during mentoring sessions
Practice and contextual clarification regarding the conversation:
- Around 1½ hours every mentoring session (it is rare that more information is added to the conversations after 1½ hours)
- The conversation will always take its point of departure concerning what currently occupies you
- Both parties are expected to take notes from the conversation
- Post conversation decisions made will be clarified and agreements will be written down to work towards until the next session
- Harmonizing expectations within mentoring– see examples below;
- Which areas would you like us to focus on?
- Frequency of conversations
- Sending an email, a couple of days prior to the conversation regarding subjects you wish to include in the conversation
- The goal being to return home with valuable ideas
- The method consists in us speaking together – and particularly the mentor posing questions
- If there are questions you do not wish to answer, it is of course OK not to answer – the conversation is also confidential.
- Follow-up present in the next session
- The conversation starting and ending with prayer
- Returning questions – what should the mentor keep you focused on?
Practical example of how a mentor conversation can take place with the above elements:
- On a scale of 1-10 how are you right now?
- Mention three good things from your life right now, and what do you find difficult?
- What would you like to talk about today?
- Which agenda should we agree upon?
Personal life and character
- How did the last few months go regarding your personal life and character?
- What would you like to succeed better with in relation to your personal life and character?
- Which are your greatest character weaknesses? How do you handle that?
- Who is close to you at the moment?
- Who are your best friends and how do you nurse them?
- How do you seek to develop yourself?
- Where is it natural for you to seek development?
- In which areas is it more difficult for you to seek development?
My relationship to the family
- What did you succeed best at in regards to your family over the last six months?
- What would you like to succeed better in? How can that take place?
- In relation to your family, what has been your greatest success within the past 6 months?
- What do you find easy in regards to developing people around you?
- How are you involved in this?
- What challenges you within these areas? How do you overcome these challenges?
- What is your next step in relation to development in leadership training within the church?
Practical sides of being a pastor/leader
- What pleases you most within your role as a pastor/leader?
- What challenges you most? How do you handle that?
- What have you learnt over the last six months?
How do your personal weaknesses and challenges affect you?
Which feelings are the most dominating in this context, and how would you explain them?
How do you handle all this, and who helps you in this context?
How does your service affect you emotionally at the moment?
How strong are these feelings, and do they have a physical effect on you?
How can you embrace these feelings, and who do you talk to about them?
What would you like to succeed better at within this context and how can that happen?
What do you think is God’s perspective on your life and service?
Within which areas does Jesus speak to you or affect you at the moment?
Why do you think that he talks about this specifically?
What is God’s calling and His promise over your life?
How do you think that you could act on this?
Could you challenge your faith life somehow?
The good finish
What affected you most in this conversation?
What things do you wish to take away with you from this conversation?
- What are your goals for the next period – personally, socially, professionally and spiritually?
- Resource: Smart Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attractive, Realistic, Temporary