Only last night, I was bemoaning how the PC(USA) does such a lousy job of developing new pastors. (I.e., me.) You get an education, you get evaluated on your gifts for ministry, and then you get turned loose on some poor, unsuspecting church. In too many ways, you’re on your own as a pastor.
Our system intentionally prevents people from becoming pastors in the context where their gifts for ministry first surfaced. You may be a stellar youth director, but if you go to seminary, you will not return to that same church as a pastor.
We also don’t mentor our newbies. We’re too busy in our churches, we’re too geographically dispersed–this isn’t Scotland, and whatever the meetings of our governing bodies are good for, it sure isn’t mentoring. Unless you had previous experience on a church staff (as an Associate Pastor or a non-ordained position), you don’t have more than a smattering of experience to draw on as you go about your work.
That was last night. This morning, I read this on Seth Godin’s blog:
Mentors provide bespoke guidance. They take a personal interest in you. It’s customized, rare and expensive.
Heroes live their lives in public, broadcasting their model to anyone who cares to look.
Like a custom made suit, a mentor is a fine thing to have if you can find or afford it. But for the rest of us, heroes will have to do.
Good advice. If nobody will mentor you, find some heroes. Stop with the pity party already, and take some responsibility for your ministry. (“You are Elasti-girl! ” —Edna Mode)