“Mentoring” at Starbucks?

What is commonly called “ministry mentoring” often doesn’t amount to much more than an old man and a young man meeting at Starbucks to talk about whatever the old man really likes or really dislikes.  Don’t get me wrong, I think these sorts of conversations are an important dimension of the older mentoring the younger.  However, it falls far short of the biblically comprehensive mentoring to which we should aspire.

Over the years, I have heard many in theological education say that they recognize that more mentoring should be taking place in the church, but that church leaders just aren’t willing or ready to do it.  Bible colleges, seminaries, and other specialty ministries have risen up to try to fill the perceived lack of mentoring in the churches.  Yet, the fact remains that churches, church networks, and church planting are contexts which God designed for the mentoring of leaders.  Church leaders can indeed mentor existing and emerging leaders.  It is just a matter of them accepting their responsibility and leveraging the tools that God has given for this purpose.

When we say that BILD and the Antioch School support “biblically comprehensive mentoring,” we are not saying that our tools cover everything or do all things perfectly well.  We are saying that a fundamental orientation to the New Testament (particularly the Pauline Epistles) as tools for establishing churches and leaders is the key starting point.  Our Personal Development Assessment tools (particularly the Becoming Established and Life & Ministry Assessment tools) simply attempt to capture the things that are emphasized in the Epistles in a form that can be readily used by leaders to mentor others.   In this manner, it brings the mentoring very close to the biblical documents themselves.

We think that any student in a ministry training degree program of a theological education institution should have this sort of mentoring.  Thus, each Antioch School student is required to be mentored at least quarterly by those that God has already put into their lives for this purpose.  Our Leadership Series courses are great, but they are made even better when they are placed in the context of personal, vibrant, and “biblically comprehensive” mentoring . . . even if it takes place at Starbucks.

Here are some links to Antioch School resources to support you in mentoring: