Friday, 17 April 2009

Youth ministry and mentoring
by Chris Folmsbee (Jesus Creed, 17 Apr 2009)

An article about the perceived lack of mentoring in youth ministry and amongst pastors in general. I posted some comments below.

(read more)

Generally there is a lack of a mentoring culture across churches & denominations in Singapore, both in lay ministry among members, and further more so in full-time ministry among staff and pastors.

Some possible reasons (of course I'm over-generalising here):
- sometimes it's a time & effort issue, as in most people just don't have the time, and perceive that it takes too much effort. Senior pastors and senior lay members focus on macro-level issues, and don't have the capacity and skills needed to spend time with fresh young men and women.
- it's also a Asian culture, mentality thing. Most Singaporeans are also pretty private about their lives, and we seldom confront or admonish in public, hence lack of accountability structures.
- lack of foresight as well as not seeing the importance, need and urgency of mentoring future generations. Many young pastors or full-time staff grow or emerge amongst the ranks incidently, or mainly because they were exceptional in their faith journey, maturity, experience, giftings, etc.
- pastors and leaders do not often model this in their own lives, hence it flows down to the congregation.
- many churches hire staff and pastors with the given expectations that they are already proven in ministry, gifted, experienced, mature, ready to lead and run ministries. This assumption tends towards throwing new staff/pastors into the deep end, and expecting them to take ministries and run, and excel without much hand-holding or guidance.

There is an urgent need for mentoring to permeate both from bottom-up and top-down. Both through my own life experience and with guiding biblical principles, all of us, especially full-time pastors need to have Pauls, Barnabas-es, and Timothys in our lives, to fully function and serve as God intends. We need Pauls, older mature and faithful men, to guide and mentor us. We need Barnabas-es, peers, friends, colleagues, to support and encourage us. We need Timothys, younger men who are earlier in their journey, whom we can invest and pour out our lives into.

I leave you with 3 Scripture passages which have proven a guide and reminder to myself.

1 Tim 4:16 - Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Thes 2:8 - We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

2 Tim 2:2 - And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

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