Presbyterians Today

AUG-SEP 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 33 adults, to discover their vocation. In her book Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith, Parks writes that mentor- ing environments provide a "network of belonging … [and] promise a place of nurture for the potential self." Families, churches and even work- sites can be mentoring environments, networks of belonging or mentoring communities. A whole community of mentors may already exist with the potential to nurture Christian voca- tional discernment. That potential is realized when gifts are identi- fied and intentional discernment of gifts begins. That can start with the mentor or the mentee. Mentoring communities matter We are not alone in the church as G rowing up in South Africa, Bobby Musengwa couldn't imagine coming to America to attend seminary. The path simply wasn't visible to him — and he couldn't imagine serving as a pastor. But it was his uncle's friendship with Heath Rada, who later served as moderator of the 221st General Assembly (2014), that brought this possibility to light for him — and the mentoring community of professors, pastors, family and friends reinforced Musengwa's call. Musengwa soon found himself in the U.S., encouraged by his family to leave South Africa amid growing concerns about his safety in apart- heid South Africa. He attended and graduated from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now St. Andrews University) in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and worked at Montreat Conference Center each summer. That's where he recon- nected with Rada, who then invited him to attend the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now part of Union Presbyterian Seminary). Although Musengwa initially rejected the idea, he decided to try it out. "He became a mentor that allowed me to safely explore the journey or the call into ministry," Musengwa recalled. "I had in my mind that I'm just an educator." Musengwa did serve as a Christian educator, but Rada and others encouraged him to pursue ordination as a pastor. "Heath taught me that I could be an educator, a teaching elder even, as a pastor." Musengwa earned degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary. He now serves as the "Rev." of Maximo Presbyterian Church in St. Petersburg, Florida. This is the third church he has served. Mentoring for ministry needed now Mentoring for ministry has an increasingly important role in today's Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Over the past decade, there have been about 500 pastor retirements each year and only 200 ordinations. That trend will continue until mentor- ing those called to pastoral ministry becomes a priority for Presbyterians. Will we have enough pastors to fill the needs of Christ's future church? The answer is up to us. And although some geographical regions have enough pastors now, there are not nearly enough to meet the needs in many other areas. Sharon Daloz Parks, a faith development expert and director of Leadership for the New Commons, an organization in Clinton, Washington, that provides consulting services in the areas of leadership and ethics, believes that a mentoring environment and culture are essen- tial for anyone, and especially young HOW TO MENTOR Be intentionally available to others. Show up early for a gathering at church or stay late. Be active in your faith, authentic, transparent and trustworthy. Others will seek you out. Be observant of others. Notice their gifts and passions. Be courageous with comments and questions. Indirect comments and questions work well too, like, "You are one of the best leaders or teachers our church has!" or "Have you ever considered being a minister? I think you would be great and here is why." She didn't believe she could go to seminary, didn't believe she was smart enough. God kept calling her. — Bobby Musengwa

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