Mentors are under-utilized resources in the Body of Christ. Mentor-pastors even more so.
I’ve been doing some reading on this subject. According to both Focus On The Family and Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development over 70% of pastors surveyed stated that they had no close personal friendships.
I believe it. I think if pastor’s wives were surveyed the percentage might be even greater.
When issues arise, who can a pastor turn to for counsel? Who would understand the unique challenges they face on a daily basis? Who is a safe person to whom they can vent their frustrations? Their wife? Um, probably not a good idea. Church board chairman? Not unless they want to stir up a hornet’s nest. A neighbor? The local barista? Who?
Studies involving the care and retention of pastors consistently show that mentoring is an integral part of the solution.
- Successful pastors tend to have mentors, seek professional development, and learn to balance personal, family, and church responsibilities. (2007 Fresno Biblical Seminary study)
- Successful congregations support pastors through encouraging mentors, congregational leadership, active congregational ministry and sensitivity to pastor’s needs. (2007 Fresno Biblical Seminary study)
- “Young ministers still have much to learn, and without a controlled environment and without honest critiquing and mentoring by seasoned ministers, they can find themselves as disillusioned and lonely persons, questioning or even rejecting their vocation.” (Lily Endowment Initiative’s “Transition into Ministry” program director Reverend David Wood – 2007)
My husband, Ken, currently mentors several young pastors, and the number seems to be growing weekly! As someone who has traveled the path already, he is able to speak into the lives and ministries of these men. He’s pretty passionate about it because he never had a mentor himself. He didn’t know who to ask or how to go about choosing a mentor. He was a lonely Lone Ranger at times. Sad. It didn’t have to be that way. He struggled with feeling like a failure. He could have used a wiser, more experienced friend.
I never had a mentor either. There were times I desperately wanted an older Godly woman as a sounding board. I felt lonely, frustrated, overwhelmed, and unappreciated. I also felt like the Chief of Sinners because I had those feelings. It made me think I was the worst pastor’s wife in the history of the church!
Ken and I are determined to make a difference, in our own small way, in the lives of these hurting pastors and their wives. We feel blessed to be able to share our experiences with them and are honored to have the chance to speak healing and uplifting words into their lives. We don’t take it lightly.
So, how do you find a mentor? The first step is to pray for the Lord’s direction. As He leads, look around at the pastors that you know in your community. Look for a man (or woman, if you are a pastor’s wife) that walks in grace and mercy! You want someone who reflects Jesus Christ. That is absolutely essential. You will have to put yourself out there to initiate contact. Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts are unsuccessful. Trust God to lead you to the right person.
Standing Stone Ministry may be of assistance to you as well. We have many contacts around the country, with the Lord bring more to us all the time. We may know of someone in your area that would be willing to mentor you or someone that would be willing to mentor you from a distance. Ken and I skype with couples all over the world. So don’t limit yourself geographically.
If you are a seasoned pastor, perhaps you would consider becoming a mentor. I assure you the rewards are great.
Too many talented, sincere, and once zealous men and women are struggling. A mentoring relationship could make all the difference. Are you called to be a mentor or mentee? Pray about it.
Peace to all of you who are in Christ,