One of my priorities as a senior pastor is to mentor my church leaders. To do so pays tremendous dividends in developing and maintaining unity in the church body and keeping the church going forward.
The primary principle of mentoring is to encourage and help the person realize his potential in and for God (see 2 Timothy 2:2, NASB). Therefore, I focus on (1) relationship building and (2) practical application. I set aside a 1 1/2- to 2-hour time slot each week to meet with each one.
I let the staff person set the agenda for the first half of the time slot. This "permission to speak freely" time allows us to discuss whatever issues they want. During the second half of our time, I set the agenda and address matters relating to each area of ministry: follow-through on assignments, people issues, vision implementation, and planning.
Next, I move into personal life and character issues: ministry, marriage, family relations, finances. We may discuss frustrations with ministry and life. We talk about temptation issues, spiritual formation (prayer time, Scripture reading, and study), books they are reading to enhance their personal and spiritual growth, and educational pursuits.
Then I ask, "Am I doing anything that frustrates you or inhibits your ministry?" In my follow-up response I ask what I can do to help in each area of ministry. The capstone of our accountability time: I look them in the eyes and ask, "Have you been honest with me in everything we have discussed?" This is essential for building a solid relationship.
In closing I make several positive comments----who they are and their contributions to ministry in our church----thus affirming to them that I enjoy working with them in ministry.
The second thing I do in mentoring my staff is to provide practical avenues of ministerial growth. This simply means that I take them with me in hospital visitation; delegate them to handle portions of funeral services and weddings; include them in decision making; and give them regular opportunity to speak to the congregation.
During His life on earth: Jesus spent time with His disciples in all aspects of life. It was a priority for Him.
Clancy Hayes is training coordinator and district liaison for the Sunday School Department, Springfield, Missouri. Sunday School. All rights reserved. Used with permission.