Here are a selection of stories about mentoring from a variety of different perspectives.
Firstly, one from a curate aged 30-40:
'During the second half of my curacy and for a little while following it, I met with a mentor on a monthly basis. This quickly became a life-giving and ministry-enriching relationship as together we found a way to communicate well and blend encouragement, with challenge and lots of reflection on my life and ministry. During some particularly tough times, the regular contact I had with my mentor who knew me, cared about me and the ministry in which I was involved, was vital to me continuing forward in church leadership in a healthy and purposeful way.
'Moreover, the discipline of seeing someone on a regular basis, opening myself up by being real and honest has stayed with me and forms a significant part of the way I continue in ministry – seeking not to be closed-up, or forget to celebrate the good or pretending things are fine when they are not. Instead, I am seeking the supportive and instructive channels (like those in a good mentoring relationship) to help keep me grounded in God and in what I am supposed to be doing. I still draw on the wisdom of my mentor and the way God used our time together to speak so deeply into who I am and what I am doing in ministry.'
And here's one from a Pioneer Minister in their 20s:
'My experience of being mentored has been overwhelmingly positive. I have had a mentor for the last 10 years of my life and it has been one of the most influential factors in my spiritual growth. I have found that journeying with Jesus is not always easy, but having someone walk alongside you makes a massive difference. Mentoring provides me with a space in which I can open up my life, warts and all, and have someone point me towards Jesus. It is a space where I can talk about anything without the fear of judgment or having to pretend that my life is perfect and I have everything sorted. I have found that it is often hard for people in church leadership to find deep, mature, spiritual support, but for me mentoring fills that hole.'
Here are several other perspectives about mentoring:
'Mentoring/coaching allows a leader to be engaged in an intentional relationship which gives the opportunity for reflection and honesty. Whether I have been navigating change, facing challenging circumstances or simply trying to continue along the journey, mentoring has been a key part of maintaining focus and being able to see God's hand on my life. Mentoring others has been a real privilege and energising in a way that has shaped my own life too.' (Curate, Droitwich)
'Mentoring is a central part of my discipleship as growth. It is affirming, encouraging and combats spiritual stagnation. The accountability and belief provided by my mentor keeps me sharp and hot and honest to my own desire to stay close to Jesus. My family, work and ministry lives are richer, deeper and constantly reinvigorated as a result of my mentoring relationship. I can't imagine life without it.' (Church Warden, Worcester)
'Having a mentor that I meet with regularly has made the difference between me knowing what I need to do next and having clarity on how to do it and the courage to do it boldly. The gift of someone who invests in me so I can invest in others is something I cannot put a value on. Meeting with my mentor is a diary priority!' (Vicar and New Wine Regional Director)
'My mentor has been the one consistent, committed coaching voice in my life for nearly 20 years. He has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zones and into the danger zones of faith. He has believed in me, seen the best in me, and helped me to discover the leader within me. His insightful and experienced coaching voice will resonate with the missional heart of our movement.' (Elim Pastor, Worcester)
'Being mentored forms the reality that you're not alone in your work. In what can often be a fast paced and multi-faceted role, having a mentor is an ear, a voice and a brother or sister in Christ to walk with you and help the best in you flourish and the worst in you die. We were never meant to walk alone, and a mentor is a must have to survive and thrive in every sphere of life.' (Youth and Student Pastor, Lincoln)
'Having a mentor has helped me to face questions that the busyness of life and ministry, plus my own sense of independence, often causes me to overlook. I don't claim to be a success or to have arrived but I like to think I'm better at prioritising the disciplines, rhythms and people that God intends for me.' (Director of Christian Education Trust, Peterborough)
'Mentoring gives me a sense of focus, support and accountability. My mentor motivates me to achieve the things I want to achieve but often procrastinate on. It comforts me to know he's praying for me, and cheering me on from the sidelines.' (CEO of a youth project, Stroud)
'Actively entering into a mentoring relationship has been an essential part of my development, and at times, survival as a pastor. Being mentored encourages reflective thought and prayer in key areas.' (Pastor, Birmingham)
'Being mentored is one of the most valuable opportunities to help me grow and feeds into my ministry so that my church reaps the benefits. I find myself hugely encouraged and challenged to be authentic in a place where I can be completely honest in order to cultivate character and discern God's calling. Being supported by a wise, enthusiastic, spirit-filled mentor and being poked and prodded in all the right places, mentoring lifts my spirits and keeps my feet planted on the rock that is Jesus.' (Church Elder, Barrow in Furness)