For three out of the last four summers, I’ve been a part of a new initiative within our network of churches. It’s called the Collegiate Mentoring Program. This year, I get to make leadership of the Collegiate Mentoring Program my primary focus for the summer, and it really feels like something of a dream job.
The program is aimed towards the development of church leaders and church planters. It seeks to establish foundational truths and practices for the long-term health and sustainability of vocational ministry workers in our Collegiate Church Network. And from everything I’ve seen over the last few years, it seems to be having a great effect on staff retention, the health of staff marriages, the growth of well-adjusted children in staff families, the ordination of new pastors, the level of effectiveness in campus ministry, and catalyzing the multiplication of disciples and churches on college campuses across the United States and potentially around the world, as well.
We meet as a group four times per week: twice to interact with established ministry leaders about a variety of different areas of interest, once to strengthen our practice of the spiritual disciplines, and once to focus on theological training. In addition to these group sessions, each participant spends two hours each week in an individual mentoring session, where two experienced pastors provide space to process what God is doing in the individual’s life. And, wow! It feels like God has been doing some amazing work in these individual sessions!
This week, we had a special experience. I helped to lead a Wilderness Retreat, where I took everyone from the Collegiate Mentoring Program out into the Rocky Mountain National Park for two days of solitude, silence, fasting, prayer, reflection, and interaction with the Lord. It provided an opportunity to cement some of the things that have been coming up through our group sessions and individual sessions, and I’ve been really encouraged to hear about the ways that God met these young leaders out in the Wilderness. I’m praying for Chris, Mike, Andy, Kyle, Jason, and Ben, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in their lives over the rest of this summer and beyond.