8 Components for a Mentoring Environment

I am currently reading a book entitled Augustine as Mentor: A Model for Preparing Spiritual Leaders by Edward L. Smither.  Smither is an Associate Professor of Church History at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  He is from the UK and did his doctoral dissertation on Augustine of Hippo.

I believe his intent was to borrow from the ancients in both discovering and offering a mentoring model for today.  While it does read a bit heavy on the academic side I have found it quite stimulating in thinking through leadership development for today.  I thought I would wet your appetite for reading Smither by listing his observations on the eight components of a mentoring environment from the early part of church history.  I would encourage you to pick up the book and give it a read-I listed the link below from Amazon and I have it on my Kindle. I think you will find there are some very worthy principles for application to today.

1. The Group-mentoring in early church history happened in community within the context of a group.  This tapped into the relational element and the real needs of leaders.

2. The Mentor as Disciple-the mentor himself always posed himself as a fellow learner.  The mentor had not arrived-he was still a disciple.

3. Selection-in every mentoring context there was always a point of selection where a mentor called a person or a group of people to join him.

4. The Mentor-Disciple Relationship-in every context the mentor called the disciples into a caring personal relationship marked by discipline and grace.

5. Sound Teaching-the mentor laid a strong foundation of sound doctrine from the Bible.  This also served to protect the disciples from false doctrine.

6. Modeling and Involving in Ministry-a mentor made sure that a disciple was able to demonstrate faithfulness and skill in the work of ministry.  This came about through observing the mentor and through personal involvement on the part of the disciple.

7. Releasing to Ministry-releasing a leader towards greater responsibility flowed naturally from increased involvement.

8. Resourcing Leaders-even after a disciple was released with authority and responsibility-the mentor would still make himself available for encouragement, resources, and practical advice.

Augustine as Mentor: A Model for Preparing Spiritual Leaders http://tinyurl.com/39spot9

2 responses to “8 Components for a Mentoring Environment

  1. Gary,

    Where on earth do you find books like this? Great insights – I particularly appreciate the last two points relating to a mentor releasing a leader, yet continuing to call forth more from them. Our increasingly individualistic cultures tend to define “release” as “freedom from any hint of responsibility.”


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