Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Personal and Small Group Mentoring

Like a pebble plunking into a pond, mentoring pastors in the Philippines involves expanding concentric circles. With Christ at the center of all, spheres of one-on-one personal mentoring, small group mentoring, conferences and mentoring retreats, a pastoral letter of encouragement, and a national pastoral mentoring strategy radiate to strengthen pastors in character and personal effectiveness in ministry. Steve co-labors with a mature Filipino team of pastoral mentors, learning and growing together as they seek to equip fellow pastors.

One example of a ripple of mentoring is “personal and small group mentoring”. Pastor Erwin is a good example of strength of quality of a more-than-two-year mentoring relationship.

Pastor Erwin has known the Lord for 21 years, for seven years in pastoral ministry. He has a lovely wife and daughter. Though he has little formal theological education, he faithfully pastors Tagumpay Baptist Church, a congregation of about 80 believers, mostly very poor from a nearby squatter area.

Meeting regularly, the mentoring journey carries us through many rough waters, and the Master of the storms speaks and guides us. As pastors, we long to be like Christ, so character issues often are at the heart of mentoring discussions, marriage and child rearing at times. Church challenges also offer opportunity for growth in ministry. For example, what do you do when your worship leader gets a youth member pregnant? Or the head elder’s unmarried daughter is with child? And the elders don’t really understand biblical eldership? Or when the mother of a leader has a brain tumor but the church family is so poor, sufficient funds aren’t available for much needed surgery? Or when a church leader begins to distance from you without saying why? Or when 20 visiting American short term missionaries from another nearby ministry invade the wake (visitation)in the squatter home of one of your church members, and they insist that the casket be opened so they can pray over the dead to be raised back to life, when you have already prayed for healing for weeks and now have been working so hard to demonstrate to the community the dignity of dying peacefully in surrender to Christ with the support of a loving Christian church family?

Pastor Erwin is a growing pastor, sensitive to the Spirit’s leading, a blessing to his church, and a good friend. Lord, when the storms of ministry come, may quiet ripples of your presence bless lives of pastors like Erwin who seek to lead with integrity and love, growing in grace, faithfully shepherding your flock.

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