Pastors outside of denominations need to find ways to connect with community and mentors.
“I need your coaching and advice,” is an email I often receive. Sometimes I can help, but many times I cannot. So my response is usually, “Have you called your denomination, network, or fellowship leader or partner?”
You see, one of the advantages to being in a denomination or network of churches is the accessibility of mentoring relationships. However, despite these advantages, evangelicalism has witnessed an explosive growth in non-denominational churches and movements in the past two decades. As I wrote about for Christianity Today and CNN, even as denominational membership, baptism, and attendance have declined, evangelicalism has actually grown.
While there are many reasons for this shift, the choice to go it alone has had the unintended consequence of producing pastors without access to the networks of pastoral mentoring denominations provide. As a result, pastors who go it alone are missing out on one of the great benefits of pastoral community.
Deprived of a built-in mentoring system, pastors in need of peer counsel (which should be all pastors) have to seek it out and forge these bonds themselves. Below, I want to give some helpful tips for non-denominational pastors on both the why and how of pastoral mentoring.
How I Deal with Pastors Seeking Mentoring
As the phenomenon of non-denominational pastors has grown, I’ve tried to encourage pastors to develop their own networks. Too frequently, pastors want guidance from leaders or authors instead of seeking out community as a place for effective mentorship. When pastors confess that they have few or no relationships within their community, I explain that that is exactly why they need to be in community with others.
For a long time, denominations ...