This article is part of The Building Blocks of Faith Toolkit—a collection of resources for strengthening faith formation in your congregation and at home, brought to you by Faith Formation Ministries.
Mentoring and discipleship groups are one of the most effective ways to live into the Building Blocks of Faith. Because mentoring is highly relational, it’s a great way to experience deep belonging, explore God’s story in generative ways, speak into or confirm each other’s calling, and build up each other’s hope in Christ.
Here are three ways that the Building Blocks can strengthen your mentoring ministry:
Mentoring Persons Interested in Making Profession of Faith
Check out Mentoring a Child’s Faith for tips on how to use the Building Blocks in conversation with children who desire to publicly profess their faith.
Georgetown CRC in Georgetown, Ontario, uses the Building Blocks to support Journey with Jesus, a year-long mentoring program that prepares people of all ages for profession of faith. The Building Blocks serve as discussion starters as well as guideposts for sharing testimonies on the day of profession of faith.
Mentoring Youth and Young Adults
One of the main discoveries of the Renegotiating Faith Report, a 2018 study conducted to explore “the delay in young adult identity formation and what it means for the church in Canada,” is the importance of mentoring relationships in the lives of emerging adults, especially in times of transition. Mentors, says the report, become re-introducers to the life of faith and the community of faith and serve to call out what God has placed inside the mentee.
As emerging adults move from high school to university and/or to the working world, mentors are able to
extend a continued sense of belonging by remaining relationally connected even though the young adult is studying or apprenticing in another community.
reflect on how knowing God and God’s story can bring both comfort and counsel.
bring hope when the mentees experience loss or disappointment by allowing them to reflect on God’s grace and presence in those situations.
help the mentee reflect on how they are growing into their calling while helping them to find ways to be spiritually equipped in that calling (especially when mentoring relationships start with adolescents and continue through significant life experiences and growth opportunities).
Generation Spark is a great resource for helping your congregation grow in its mentoring capacity.
Enfolding New Members
Often congregations will invite individuals or families to help enfold another family or individual who is new to the fellowship. Use the Building Blocks to structure the mentoring/enfolding engagement.
First, take time (3-4 months) to sink into belonging as you build relationships together and with the broader church community. Introduce the mentee(s) to people with similar interests and gifts to help them make connections.
Second, identify a Bible study or book study that interests all parties to use as a platform for growing in the knowledge and understanding of God and God’s story. You might also wish to explore some faith practices together.
Third, as the relationship begins to feel more secure and reasonably solid, spend the next month or two exploring calling, helping newer members discern where their callings line up with the church’s calling and ministries. Introduce them to the appropriate ministry leaders.
Finally, encourage the mentee(s) to grow in hope by inviting them to share what they have learned about God, each other, and their faith community. Then invite them to provide hope for others by becoming mentors to other newcomers to the congregation.
Want to know more? We’ve gathered a wealth of resources in our free Building Blocks of Faith toolkit.