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Circles of Calling for Mentoring

The mentor-mentee relationship is an environment in which God is actively at work, developing the mentee who is serving in a new role, in a context with its own culture and expectations, as a person growing into full maturity in Christ. We call these three elements (Role, Context and Person) the “Circles of Calling”. Distinguishing each element from each other permits conversation on how each is impacted by experiences the new pastor faces, as well as how each element interacts with the others in the course of ministry. The foundational conviction is that God is at work shaping the new pastor’s understanding of their role as a pastor with its responsibilities and expectations within a particular context that has its own unique culture and values as a person God is sanctifying and developing. The “Circles of Calling” paradigm shapes PCR’s approach to mentoring. It honors the rich complexity of what a calling from God entails.

Circle #1: The Role
The role of pastor is surprisingly difficult to define. The primary tasks of preaching, prayer and pastoral care are a start, but there are a plethora of responsibilities and expectations for what a pastor actually does. The Role element of calling focuses on the tasks and perceptions of what a pastor does and who a pastor is. Using this element, the mentor can uncover the mentee’s assumptions about the role of pastor, as well as address the expectations that members of the congregations they serve may have. 

Circle #2: The Context
Each church and ministry setting is unique. Culture and values change depending on whether the church is big…or small; urban…suburban…or rural; established…or emerging; in Canada…or in the United States, ethnically diverse…or ethnically similar. The Context element of call acknowledges the impact that place and culture have on a church’s expectations for their pastor, as well as the sense of belonging and fit the person serving as pastor experiences.

Circle #3: The Person
The maturation process for a pastor is not just enhancing professional competencies…it’s about the personal development that happens as the Holy Spirit repurposes ministry failures and successes to shape a pastor’s character. A fully-formed pastor is one who engages regularly in spiritual practices, and distills lessons through prayerful reflection and mentoring. The Person element separates the Person from the Role in order to focus on the transformational work God is doing to the one he called, made in his Image and redeemed by his Son. 

The 4th edition of Toward Effective Pastoral Mentoring (English, Spanish, Korean) is designed to explore calling through the elements of call named above in the various situations, relationships, and leadership dynamics new ministers face. Questions for reflection are included in each module and direct the reflection toward God’s work in understanding the role of pastor, the context within which it takes place, and the person fulfilling the call. Hard copies are available through Faith Alive Christian Resources.

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