Mentors are given an important and vital role in the Book of Discipline for the development of candidates and clergy (2016 BOD, ¶348). Those who can serve as mentors are clergy in full connection (Elders and Deacons), Associate Members, and Local Pastors who have completed the Course of Study. Mentors must also have undergone Mentor training. (Note that only clergy in full connection may serve as mentors of Provisional Members.) Featured on this page are resources for mentors, including:
- Categories of Mentors and their Responsibilities
- Mentor Report Forms
- General Criteria for the Selection of Mentors
Categories of Mentors
(Video: Overview of the responsibilities of Candidacy Mentors)
These mentors give counsel and guidance to those who are going through the annual conference’s candidacy process as Exploring Candidates until they become Certified Candidates. They continue to give counsel to Certified Candidates until they become clergy. Candidacy Mentors are assigned by the District Superintendent and District Committee on Ordained Ministry. Their responsibilities include.
(Video: Overview of the responsibilities of Clergy Mentors)
These mentors provide ongoing oversight and counsel to licensed local pastors in their professional development as clergy. Licensed Local Pastors are mentored while they are in the Course of Study or seminary. Licensed Local Pastors who are pursuing Associate or Provisional Membership are to continue under a mentor beyond Course of Study or seminary in preparation for their change of status. Persons transferring from other denominations are also assigned a clergy mentor. Licensed Pastors are assigned a Clergy Mentor by the District Superintendent and District Committee on Ordained Ministry. Their responsibilities include:
- Learn your mentee’s vocational goal: ordination, local pastor, or Associate Member
- Learn the educational requirements related to their vocational goal
- Be able to advise those going to Course of Study or seminary
- Advise them on the number of classes they need to take to remain compliant
- Assist them in relating to the District Committee on Ordained Ministry
- Help them know the steps leading to their desire status
- Help them grow through their experiences in ministry (good and bad)
- Ask about their support systems and spiritual life
- Ask how are they getting along with people and handling stress
- Ask about the state of their calling
- Give guidance to those preparing for Provisional Membership
- Help them understand the guidelines and questions for the written examination
- Help them determine their readiness for the examination
- Help them prepare for their interview first with the DCOM
- Help them prepare for their interview with the conference BOM
- Help them through the process of being deferred if that happens. They will remain under the care of their mentor until they become Provisional Members. The mentor will help them understand their deficiencies and help them form an action plan to address those deficiencies.
- Stay current with the latest information: www.sgaumc.org, “Ministerial Services”
- Write an annual Clergy Mentor Report on each clergyperson for the DCOM to use when it meets with the clergyperson for the annual review or change of status interview. Clergy Mentor Report
- Participate in training when offered by the Board of Ordained Ministry.
This is a special category of Clergy Mentors who are involved in the development of provisional elders and provisional deacons until they become ordained. Through the Residency in Ministry Program (RIM), these mentors work with a cohort that is formed based on the year the provisional members are commissioned. They are trained and assigned by the RIM Coordinator on behalf of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the District Superintendent.
The RIM program offers an intense time of mentoring. Each cohort of Provisional Members are formed into a covenant group. This covenant group is led by two or three ordained clergy (either from among elders or deacons or both) who are chosen by the leadership of the Board of Ordained Ministry. The experience involves monthly meetings, spiritual formation practices, book discussions, listening to group members preach or lead significant acts of ministry, an annual retreat, and reviewing each other’s ordination paperwork as the group gets closer to their interviews with the Board of Ordained Ministry.
Post-RIM Mentors: If the Provisional Member chooses not to apply for full conference membership and ordination at the end of their third year of RIM (self-deferred), or if a Provisional Member applies and is deferred by the Board, then the Provisional Member will be assigned a mentor to guide him or her in the Post-RIM year(s). The focus for mentoring in this situation is:
- If the Provisional Member has self-deferred, the mentor can help the Provisional Member understand the factors leading to self-deferment and help in forming an action plan in addressing the factors.
- If the Provisional Member has been deferred by the Board, the mentor can help the Provisional Member gain understanding of his or her deficiencies and help in forming an action plan to address the deficiencies.
RIM-PM Mentor Report
General Criteria for the Selection of Mentors
- Spiritual Maturity: A deep and continuing commitment to God and to growing in grace and love is essential. The mentor should be able to guide naturally from the overflow of God’s presence in their life and ministry. Mentors need to be able to value each person as unique and important with no strings attached.
- Self-Awareness & Boundary Awareness: According to the Book of Discipline (¶348.2), mentoring occurs within a relationship where the mentor takes responsibility for creating a safe place for reflection and growth. Confidentiality forms the bedrock of this safe place. Without it, the mentoring relationship will be superficial at best. Mentoring is distinct from the evaluative and supervisory processes involved in clergy development. Mentors need to be able to appreciate their role as distinct from the role of the District Superintendent, District Committee on Ordained Ministry, or Board of Ordained Ministry.
- Calling and Commitment to the Ministry of Jesus Christ: Mentors should be genuinely committed to the ministry of the church, to the variety of the forms it takes, and convinced of its validity and worth in today’s world. They need to value the church and its future with a goal of obtaining the best future leadership for the church available.
- Vocational Development: There should be evidence of the intentional investment the mentor has made in his or her own growth and development of ministerial identity, theological understanding, and ministerial effectiveness. When there have been serious disappointments or crises in the life of the mentor, the mentor must have learned to cope constructively with these opportunities and challenges.
- Family Relationships and Personal Life: Whether married or single, the personal life of the mentor should be congruent with the high standards expected of Christians. In the candidacy process, the subjects of spouse and family relationships receive significant attention; therefore, mentors are expected to reflect the high qualities of a Christian home, which supports them in their career as ordained ministers.
- Excitement and Joy: Ideally, every mentor should experience and express excitement, awe, mystery and joy of believing the Holy Spirit is at work in the world today. Such enthusiasm is contagious.