I’ve always had a professional mentor. Someone I could call and ask for advice. Usually, it’s someone who has been in the ministry longer than I’ve been alive, and the relationship developed organically, through clergy groups or lectionary study groups. My mentors have been diverse and have included African-American pastors and a Jewish Rabbi, but never women. I often wish that women were more pro-active in this area. It seems that there are norms in certain cultures that make leaders look out for those who are less experienced.
But, let me get back to those who were around the table, because the overall sentiment was that they did not like the idea of mentors.
“What’s wrong with mentors?” I asked.
And the answers varied.
One person said that he had been in the pastorate for ten years. He was in his thirties, and resented the fact that he was still considered to be a youngin’ who needed to be mentored.
Another pastor explained, “Our generation just doesn’t do it that way. We get advice from peers, not experts.”
And there was a general sense that a mentor program would feel contrived, unnatural. That it’s a relationship that ought to grow up, rather than be forced.
So, do you have mentors? How did you meet them? How can we create a culture where these relationships form? Does the idea irritate you? Why or why not?
the photo’s by Sir Cam