During the course of my ministry, God constantly fills my path with people. As a pastor, I try to touch their lives by ministering healing, teaching the Word and administering grace but a few years I began to wonder — what about mentoring? Jesus gave his disciples clear instructions on discipling: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19 NIV) Yet, what the disciples received was clearly mentorship. Jesus discipled the hundreds but twelve blessed men received the knowledge of heaven from the Teacher, ever. He was their mentor. I take Jesus as my example for discipling and mentoring.
God is still working on me but I still have a mandate to teach, disciple and mentor. Per my personality, I prefer applying the practical to the spiritual. I’ve initiated these four practical ways to mentor kids for leading in ministry. Prepare them now, before life becomes complicated and their priorities change. God needs young leaders!
1. Don’t hide the work. One big mistake pastors make is allowing their disciples, young and old, to believe pastoring is easy. Someone has to build the papier mache volcano for the kids crusade. Someone has to rearrange the room for a new teaching format. Involve your leaders in the process. They should know that ministry equals work.
2. Follow the anointing. I’ve made this mistake before so I don’t mind sharing it. I am a kid magnet. I can’t help myself, it’s always been that way. However, just because a kid needs more of your attention that doesn’t mean he’s called to ministry. Follow the anointing. God will point out the leaders that need mentoring.
3. Look for the new thing. God says, “Sing me a new song!” That’s Bible! However, we are human. When I look for new young worship leaders, I instinctively look for anointed singers and flag twirlers but what about the kid that plays the trumpet? Or the child who draws heavenly pictures as the music plays? An unusual gifting in your church is a high prize from God. Embrace that child and mentor him!
4. Let kids observe you as you minister. Mentoring children takes hands on training. Stop pushing kids to the back of the room during the altar service. Of course, keep things in order but keep those you are mentoring close, unless privacy is necessary.
Mimi lives and ministers along the Gulf Coast with her family, puppy and slew of kids!