June 21, 2021
By: Susan Reese, Professor of Spiritual Formation
It was a day in spring when historically most students would have been focused on and stressing about exams. My conversation was different this day in that the student I was talking with had just completed a master assessment with her mentor team and she asked me, “How do I get to serve on a mentor team? I would love to offer what has been offered to me!”
A significant part of our competency-based theological education model is the role of the mentor team. As a faculty mentor on respective mentor teams, my experiences have been some of the most challenging and inspiring experiences of my work in higher education!
Mentor teams are intended to support students in creating intentional learning experiences for their respective contexts. The relevancy of the learning experiences to each student’s life call and context is significant. Students are assigned a faculty mentor who guides the learning experiences and content. Students select a vocational mentor, one who is intimately engaged in the student’s current vocational role, as well as a personal mentor, one who is able to provide spiritual companionship rooted in faith and understanding of the Christian life.
In Teams That Thrive: Five Disciplines of Collaborative Church Leadership, Hartwig and Bird give us five dynamics which apply well to a mentor team:
The hope of a mentor team is to assist the student in paying attention to their specific call as they gain knowledge, develop their character, and apply their learning to daily rhythms of their life and work.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” 2 Timothy 2:2 NIV.