Mentoring is a lost art. It’s a critical and biblical part of creating mature believers and it represents the kind of genuine community that millennials are hungry for—but it’s not happening in any systematic way in most churches. You can’t just expect it to happen naturally, but you can’t exactly force it, either.
We’ve developed this step-by-step process for creating a mentorship program that works for your church. Once you put these steps into practice, you’ll be ready to start creating a system that works in your church.
1. Define your mentorship goals
When you use the term “mentoring,” do you know exactly what you mean? Does it jive with the rest of your leadership team’s view of what mentors do? Defining loaded terms is an important part of creating any kind of a program. This includes:
- Knowing what results you want to see from mentorship
- Having a clear understanding of how many people you’d like taking part in a mentorship program
- Defining what successful mentoring looks like
- Clarifying how mentoring fits into your discipleship program
2. Define the mentor’s role
Now that you have an idea how you’d define success in a mentoring program, you can think about the people who will be doing the mentoring. Here are some questions you’ll need to ask:
- How will the mentor facilitate the mentor/mentee relationship? Will there be a set curriculum or will the relationship be free-form? No matter what you decide, the less material the mentor is responsible for creating, the more mentors you’ll be able to recruit—and the greater your chances of success.
- How often will mentors meet with mentees?
- How long of a commitment do you expect from mentors? Knowing exactly what you’re expecting mentors to commit to is key. You never want them to feel like their involvement was a bait and switch.
3. Define the mentor’s qualifications
For mentoring to work, the mentor has to be more mature than the mentee. So it’s important to develop an expected criteria for mentors. If you’re looking for a place to start, try 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.
4. Define the process of finding mentors
As you can see, so much of a good mentoring program hinges upon the quality of your mentors. Once you’ve defined their role and qualifications, you need to know how they get involved in the program. Here are some of the important questions you need to answer in this step:
- Are mentors recruited? If so, by whom?
- Do they volunteer?
- Are mentees expected to become mentors?
5. Define the process for finding mentees
Lastly, you’ll want to think through the process for getting the “disciples” into the mentorship program. You’ve already thought through this process a little in the first step when you defined how many people you’d like to take part in this program and how it fits into your discipleship vision. The more mentees you want involved, the larger the on-ramp needs to be.
- Do you expect all church members to be involved in the process at one level or another? Does this need to be communicated in membership classes?
- Are members recruited, do they volunteer, or are they chosen?
- What kind of commitment is expected of new people in the program?
6. Define your starting date
If you don’t have an intended start date, there isn’t a lot of urgency to answer many of these questions. Having a date is a catalyst for getting the whole process moving.
Mentoring is about relationships
We have a lot of teaching and curriculum in the church, but we’re hurting for real transformational relationships. Mentoring provides deep relationships, real opportunities to grow, and the kind of connection that millennials are looking for.
If you’re searching for more ways you can create a world-changing vision that will appeal to the millennial generation, download a free copy of our book How to Engage Millennials.