Throughout a student’s program, a seasoned pastor will accompany the student, offering support, posing exploratory questions, examining ministerial identity, evaluating the competency exercises and normally facilitating the capstone project.
For Students: How is a Student Assigned a Local Mentor?
- Jan Ehrmantraut, the coordinator of the mentoring program will consult Regional/Conference leaders or other ministry staff and will create a list of clergy in the student’s geographical area who would be good candidates to serve as a local mentor.
- Normally & preferably, the local mentor is someone other than the pastor in the student’s church.
- The student will interview, using the following guidelines, one or more potential local mentors from this list and together they will determine whether they would like to work together.
- The student will communicate the name of the local mentor to the Professor of Pastoral Leadership, the congregation where the student serves and the church judicatory office.
Local Mentor Qualifications
- Minimum of three years in a related full-time congregational ministry position post seminary.
- Minimum of one year in current position and have standing in his/her denomination.
- Formal theological education (Master of Divinity from an ATS accredited program).
- Knowledgeable about and committed to the Lexington Theological Seminary curriculum and the integration of the intellectual, practical and spiritual.
- Committed to and positively enriched by congregational ministry.
- Committed, when the student is enrolled in classes, to spend at least one hour per week one on one with the student to explore key issues of ministry and the student’s development in ministry. (Although not required, you are encouraged to meet even when the student is not taking classes.)
- Committed to accompanying the student through his/her program, including the facilitation of the Capstone Project.
- Committed to communicate regularly with the Professor of Pastoral Leadership concerning the student’s development.
Expectations Local Mentor: Learning-Serving Relationship
- Attend the local mentor’s orientation (either in person or online).
- Fulfill the following requirements:
- Meet regularly
- Complete evaluation form every six months
- Facilitate the Capstone Project
3. Discuss with the student your method of mentoring, emphasizing your commitment to confidentiality.
4. Observe the student in ministry.
5. When the student is enrolled in classes, spend at least one hour per week one on one with the student to explore key issues of ministry and the student’s development in ministry (Although not required, you are encouraged to meet even when the student is not taking classes.)
6. Provide a centering moment or process to connect your conversation with the wider elements of a life in a community of faith (e.g., prayer, psalms, lament, nature encounters).
1. Point out the student’s strengths
2. Explore areas for student growth
3. Offer a caring and concerned manner
4. Discuss relational tensions between you and the student as they arise and come to a resolution
5. Engage in clarifying the student’s ministerial identity
1. Help student in difficult situations
2. Act as an advocate for student when necessary and appropriate
3. Show a willingness to learn from and with the student
4. Encourage the student in her/his self-care
1. Build and maintain a relationship with the student.
2. Teach the student to identify the moments and events of tension in her/his work and explore those tensions as key sources of learning about the student-in-ministry.
3. Fill a particular knowledge gap in order for the student to learn how to do things more effectively.
4. Provide open and authentic communication, aided by listening effectively and articulating clearly and unambiguously.
5. Encourage by cheerleading, confidence building, gently pushing at the right time, motivating, and inspiring.
6. Facilitate learning by creating a hospitable climate and involving the student in planning, designing, implementing, and evaluating learning.
7. Assist student in crystallizing, clarifying, and setting realistic goals.
8. Guide by role modeling.
9. Invite dialogue to understand varying points of view.
10. Provide assistance in the problem-solving process rather than provide the answer.
11. Provide constructive feedback and assist student in asking for feedback.
12. Sustain a process of reflection with the ability to step back, evaluate, process, assess, and articulate learning.
13. Lay the groundwork for the student to connect with other people who can be resources.
14. Anticipate the firsts a student will experience in the cycle of a congregation’s life and walk through them with the student.