Training or equipping our ministry teams is often the missing ingredient in our recruiting efforts. We need people to help us, but guiding them in how to help us takes some intentional effort, and it’s often the effort that doesn’t occur amidst the busyness of ministry life. So we just hope for the best. As a friend of mine often said, “Many churches have a two-part training program for their workers—here’s your book and there’s your room.” Funny…but not very effective.
Some churches establish formal training processes. They plan weekend seminars or programs to equip their team members, but most don’t have such strategies available. Why not take a mentoring approach instead? That’s what Jesus did.
“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.”
Jesus welcomed people to come to Him for mentoring. He was and is the ultimate Mentor. He developed imperfect humans to become effective leaders. Jesus did everything a mentor can do to enable the disciples to flourish in their personal lives and ministry.
What is mentoring? Mentoring is a relational experience where one person empowers another by sharing God-given resources. Mentoring is a relational connection where we simply share our lives with others. In informal settings, like a breakfast meeting or grabbing a cup of coffee, we share our values, our experiences, and our perspectives with individuals so they can begin to understand the things that matter most. And in those moments, we discuss their challenges and the situations they’re facing, just like Jesus did during His days of walking with His disciples.
You may think that sounds like you’ll be drinking a lot of coffee. But mentoring people doesn’t demand an intense schedule. It does demand an attitude of living life with those who are a part of your team. In fact, mentoring requires three primary commitments.
- We must be committed to a PERSON.
Our mentees must sense our commitment to them as people, not as projects. We must love them and have their best interests in mind. Leaders cannot be developed in massive crowds. They are developed individually through life-in-life mentoring.
- We must be committed to a PROCESS.
There will be ups and downs through the season you meet with your mentee. We must step back and see the process they are in and the steps required for growth, understanding the big picture of their lives. We must be discerning.
- We must be committed to a PURPOSE.
Our final commitment must be to the end result. We must determine that we will help them get from where they are to the goal that has been mutually set. Just as God will complete the work He has begun in us (Philippians 1:9), we must see the finished product inside our mentees and fulfill our commitment to them. We must be diligent.
The goal of mentoring isn’t to simply fill a slot on your roster, but to grow those that have joined your team. When those on your team are growing, their effectiveness in ministry and their capacity for an even greater future become the focus. Mentoring connects closely with the whole idea and process of making disciples and it will prove to be your most satisfying work.
And when people see how they can grow when they’re on your team, your recruiting tasks get a lot easier.