Newly ordained pastors, as well as those entering the CRC from other denominations, are required to have mentors for the first five years of their ordained ministry. Mentors are experienced pastors, usually from within the classis, available to help with personal and spiritual matters, professional practices and pastoral formation. Ideally, new pastors choose their mentors and initiate contact toward this relationship, but regional pastors are also available to assist in finding a suitable mentor. Learn more details about the mentoring program for newly ordained pastors.
The mentor-mentee relationship is intended to foster healthy discussion and reflection about the “firsts” of ministry. It is also 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. The mentor’s privileged role is to help the mentee identify where God is at work in all three (Role, Context and Person). We call these three elements the “Circles of Calling”.
Distinguishing each element from each other invites 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 our approach to mentoring. It honors the rich complexity of what a calling from God entails. The 4th edition of Toward Effective Pastoral Mentoring 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. Learn more about “Circles of Calling”.
Pastor Church Resources maintains an updated roster of these mentoring relationships, receiving current information from the regional pastors. Mentors may also be assigned or requested on an ad hoc basis in times of significant stress or trouble. Though only required during the first five years of ministry, being involved in mentoring relationships, both as mentor and mentee is encouraged as a career-long, life-giving practice. A helpful resource,Toward Effective Pastoral Mentoring (English, Spanish, Korean), is provided to every minister upon ordination. Hard copies are available through Faith Alive Christian Resources.