Mentoring Future Ministers Is a Community Project

Jeff Robinson | June 8, 2017

When I first began mentoring young men who sensed a call to pastoral ministry, my approach was mostly one-on-one discipleship on steroids. I had him read a high stack of books, discussed them with him, and shared how I did my daily devotions, how I sought to love my family, and so on. Before long I realized that, while these were good and necessary things, I was really just transforming him into a “mini-me,” subject to my myriad weaknesses and limitations. He was getting a flat, one-dimensional view of shepherding a local congregation. 

My longtime friend Phil Newton showed me a more excellent way. It transformed the way the church I served approached mentoring and internships. In addition to reading and talking about core doctrines, preaching, and ecclesiology, I began to take young men with me on hospital visits, include them in counseling sessions, and let them preach God’s Word to our congregation. I had them spend time with church members in real-life settings. In short, I began to see mentoring future ministers as a community project.

Thankfully, Phil has made available all he told me and much more in his new book, The Mentoring Church: How Pastors and Congregations Cultivate Leaders (Kregel). These are principles he’s honed…

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