This brief guide is intended for those who are seeking to mentor as well as information for those who are thinking about finding a mentor.

About Mentoring

Most of us can point to at least one or two people in our lives who have been significant in our spiritual development and emotional maturation. Sometimes these people are alongside us for a season, and others may have walked our journey with us more closely, offering a space for us to be truly ourselves, accepting us and helping us to move on in life with God and with others. These are examples of mentoring.

Mentoring has become a skilled, practical and academic practise as well as a practice that some people do naturally, as they draw alongside others.

A definition of Christian mentoring is:

‘A dynamic, intentional relationship of trust in which one person enables another to maximise the grace of God in their life and service’ (Mallison 1998).

Christian mentoring can enable a person to become what God intended them to be and to help them keep focused on the way forward, in the context of their everyday lives. Theory and application work together and can be lived out in a successful mentoring relationship. A mentoring relationship provides the confidential space to wonder, to listen to God and to apply in life what you know in theory to be true from the promises in the Bible.

  • It can include aspects of discipleship, but it is more than this.
  • It can include aspects of coaching, (when this means learning a new skill), but it is more than this.
  • It can include aspects of spiritual direction but it is more than this too.
  • Sometimes it can include identifying areas of emotional need and pathways towards resolution, and yet it is not counselling or psychotherapy.
  • It can include aspects of pastoral care, yet it is much more than supporting someone.

If you want someone to walk alongside you in your journey, for a short time, or even for a longer time, then a mentor might be worth considering.

If you are a person who can offer someone a space to consider what God is doing in their lives and be consistently available, you have good listening skills and a spiritual vibrancy to share, you might consider mentoring someone.

There are wide variety of roles in Christian mentoring, from an informal relationship with someone rising out of incidental or church contact, through to a contracted, structured and paid for relationship with explicit boundaries, that exists for a defined period of time, after which time it is reviewed and a decision is made whether or not to continue.

Training to become a mentor

There are several Christian based courses that can be undertaken to develop mentoring skills. These range from an informal half or full teaching day, through to full academic qualifications such as a Master’s Degree.

Some of the institutions that offer mentoring courses are listed below.

Cliff College – Certificate in Christian Mentoring, running each year in February for one week. For more information see
http://www.cliffcollege.ac.uk/students/shortcourses/cliff-certificates/cicm/

Moorlands Bible College – Certificate in Christian Mentoring running twice a year. For more information see http://www.moorlands.ac.uk/studying/courses/short-courses/christian-mentoring/

The above institutions also offer diplomas and Master’s level degrees in Christian mentoring as well.

For less formal training, there is a purchasable training guide from CPAS called Mentoring Matters. Details of this can be seen at https://www.cpas.org.uk/church-resources/mentoring-matters/#.WElCuqKLSYU

Formissions College also offers Christian mentoring training http://formission.org.uk/trainings/mentoring-training/

The Mentoring Network can connect Christian mentors who train and teach mentoring on a bespoke basis for individual churches and groups. For more information you can contact The Mentoring Network or email Alison Cansdale.

Seeking a mentor

An effective mentoring relationship means that both mentor and mentee will work separately and together regarding the mentee’s goals. For a mentoring relationship to be effective there are some things to consider.

  • Are you prepared to be responsible for your own spiritual walk with God and have someone alongside you in it?
  • Are you willing to meet and share with someone on a regular basis to discuss how God is working in your life?
  • Are you willing to set yourself targets and goals with the help of a mentor and to work through them in a way that is accountable?

There are programmes where leaders can specifically seek a mentor, such as Mentor Connect, a website based Christian mentoring introduction package. For more information see https://www.mentorconnect.org.uk/

Resources

Here are some introductory books that may help you to think further about mentoring.

  • Horsfall, T., Mentoring for Spiritual Growth: sharing the journey of faith, BRF: Oxford, 2008
  • Lewis, R., Mentoring Matters, Marston: Oxford, 2009
  • Lawrence, J. Mentoring Matters, CPAS, 2011
  • Mallison, J., Mentoring to Develop Leaders and Disciples, (free online), http://www.johnmallison.com/ 1998
  • Ogne, S., & Roehl, T., Transformissional Coaching: empowering leaders in a changing ministry world, B & H: Tennessee, 2008
  • Wilcox, P., Intentional Mentoring, available online at http://thementoringnetwork.net/product/intentional-mentoring/ 2015

 

Prepared by Alison Cansdale, Project Manager, Mentor Connect December 2016