"Church planting is an adventure [and] sometimes it can be just plain hard... [But] in the end, churches don’t exist for themselves – they exist to do their bit in the overall proclamation and demonstration of the kingdom of God." Rev David Kowalick talks about church plants and the Fish Gate Uniting Church.
Seeking guidance about God’s call
Posted in Leadership
On Monday 29 May, a free mentoring training day was held at Uniting College for Leadership & Theology. Reflecting on the event, one of the trainees shares their own thoughts and insights about the importance of mentors in the life of the Uniting Church.
Isn’t it great to have people in your life that you can turn to for support, encouragement and help when you need it? Life can be a rollercoaster of challenges and triumphs.
Uniting College for Leadership & Theology recently ran a free mentoring training day to teach people how to mentor, particularly to women, youth and Period of Discernment candidates.
There are many people in the life of the church who desire a mentor. Someone to help them navigate the highs and lows. Someone to provide encouragement and help us to follow where God leads. But it can often be a challenge to find a suitable and willing mentor.
Many of us don’t recognise our own ability to serve in a mentoring capacity. We may feel unqualified, ill-informed or fearful of over-committing to what seems like a potentially daunting role. According to the leaders of the Uniting College training day, there is often a misperception of the kinds of qualities, commitment and experience needed to be a mentor – the reality is much more straightforward.
A good mentor should posses a heart for Christ, an ability to listen, a sharing attitude towards their experiences, and an ability to discern the things of God.
There are many excellent examples of this kind of mentoring relationship in the Bible, some of which were touched on during the Uniting College training session. There is the relationship between Moses and his father-in-law, Jethro, which sees Moses seek the older man’s advice on leading Israel (Exodus 18). The relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, as seen in Luke, is another example of mentoring. Elizabeth mentors Mary during her pregnancy, providing support, encouragement and affirmation. In each of these situations, this special relationship helps to support someone as they follow God’s call on their lives.
A mentoring relationship can also help us to discover the ministry to which God has called us – it can help to clarify where and how we are bearing witness to the Gospel of Christ in our everyday lives.
Mentorship is an important part of the life of the Uniting Church, and takes place in many formal and informal ways. One of the more formal mentoring relationships that occurs in the Uniting Church is the one between a mentor and someone undertaking a Period of Discernment. During this time, individuals purposefully seek to discern God’s call on their life and future ministry expression. A mentor can play a vital role in helping an individual to discern their call.
Mentoring provides a wonderful opportunity for new and experienced Christians, ministers and lay people, students and retirees, to engage in a meaningful relationship and clarify God’s call on their lives.
Do you feel called to be a mentor or to seek one? Are you interested in undertaking a Period of Discernment or learning more about the mentoring process? To discuss these ideas further, please contact Judyth Roberts, Period of Discernment Coordinator, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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