I’ve just recently started my 25th year as a seminary professor. Throughout those years, I’ve seen students and young pastors increasing and almost desperately want a mentor. Here are some reasons why:
- They take ministry responsibilities seriously. They take them so seriously, in fact, that they want a veteran leader to walk with them so they get “it” right.
- They’ve seen other church leaders get hurt in ministry. It’s far too easy to get hurt and remain in that pain when we’re fighting these battles on own—so these young leaders want someone walking with them to keep them focused.
- They see great value in learning about life from older leaders. Even if these young church leaders weren’t leaders, they would still want senior saints to walk beside them. They delight in learning from others.
- The work of ministry can be frightening to them. Ministry is a life-and-death work. We minister to all kinds of people in all kinds of pain—and young leaders want guidance from others.
- They don’t want to do ministry alone. They believe without question that a plurality of leaders is the biblical norm—and that belief pushes them to lean on others. A mentor can be a source of great strength and accountability for them.
- They want to see faith lived out. The reality is that many church leaders have never seen a genuine, on fire, Holy-Spirit believer—but they certainly want to see it. A mentor’s faith can thus become another source of strength and encouragement.
- They have friends who have a mentor, and they’ve seen the value of a mentoring relationship. In fact, seeing a successful mentor/mentee commitment only makes them long for it even more.
- Many of them have never really been discipled. Yes, they’re in leadership positions—but those appointments aren’t a guarantee they’ve previously been discipled. Some young leaders are operating in their own strength, and they don’t even recognize their tendency.
- They know their ongoing struggles with sin. They might be hiding their battles temporarily, but this generation is quite willing to be honest with someone—particularly an older someone who’s conquered particular temptations. They welcome accountability with someone they respect.
Young church leaders, I encourage you to prayerfully seek a godly mentor. Older believers, I plead with you to make connections with young leaders and give them some of yourself. You won’t be disappointed.