Every person in the
certificate program completes a 10-month practicum with a mentor. Mentors are
veterans in youth ministry who are interested in walking along side youth
leaders, as they learn. IYM staff work with each participant to select a
mentor. Mentoring pairs meet together 9 times in the 10-month period, either in
person or through online video conferencing. They also experience a Forum on
Youth Ministry together. In their conversations, they explore ministry
practices and theological foundations for youth ministry in light of the
certificate participant’s gifts and ministry. Mentors also serve as a resource
for the ministry project.
We asked a mentor what she enjoys most about mentoring.
Mentoring allows me to
take off my Sr. Pastor hat and be refreshed. We not only talk about best
practices and new theological approaches to old problems, we also talk about
our lives. It helps me as a Sr. Pastor to be talking with someone not in my own
church, because it helps me remember that this is what ministry is all about.
It’s an opportunity to go back to the big picture, and that benefits my own
What is unique about mentoring someone in youth ministry?
I think that the
Achilles tendon of most churches is thinking that youth ministry happens
naturally and that the only qualification that you need to be a youth minister
is to be young and fun. Many excellent training programs exist for Sr. Pastors,
but we have neglected youth ministers. The personal expectations of a youth
minister are often so unrealistic and yet we also don’t train them. They are
held responsible for things that other staff members aren’t held to – for
example, parental expectations for youth leaders can be very unreasonable. So,
as I mentor youth leaders, I focus on being a voice of reason, perspective, and
support that calls the youth leader back to the center of ministry, which is
We asked a
Certificate participant what she gained from her mentor:
Every time I talk with my mentor I find so much hope! She gives me a lot of optimism about the
future and she helps me remember that I can do this – I can be a minister, a
woman, a wife and a Mom! She also forces me to think outside of the box, not
just about my church and ministry but also myself. I think that’s the true job
of a mentor, to help me think about the focus of my life.