Mentoring and Ministry

Doing some research this afternoon I came across this bit of information:

Dr. Archibald Hart of Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology surveyed the rate of retention in ministry of graduates from seminaries in USA. He found that for every 100 seminary graduates who went into ministry, 40 stayed in ministry beyond five years, and 20 were still in ministry ten years later. There could be many reasons for this. But for the 20% of seminary graduates who did continue in ministry, he found that one of the key factors was having a mentor

At this point I have exceeded five years, which puts me in the rank of the top 40 percent, but still lack two more years of being in the top 20.  It’s hard to believe, however, that in less than five years time, over half of seminary graduates who enter ministry are gone. I know that just from my own personal experience, most of the guys that I went through seminary with, who entered ministry after graduation are still serving in some form or fashion.

The effect of mentoring cannot be understated.  Though I wouldn’t say that I have had just one mentor throughout the years.  I have had different mentors at different times.  I can think of former senior pastors and professors who have (and still) offer their guidance.  With the advent of social media and the internet, one can more readily be mentored “from afar.”  Some men have mentored me through their writings, though we probably will never meet personally (i.e., Piper, MacArthur).

At 32 I am starting to look now to those to whom I can mentor.  I have discovered that mentoring is not for those who “have it all figured out,” but it is pointing, challenging, and guiding others to the One who is and was and is to come.  It does not take years and years of study and experience to be able to dive into that kind of mentoring.  I wonder what the rate of retention is within the church for those that have been mentored?

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