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One of the benefits to creating a discipleship culture is that the pastor doesn’t have to be overwhelmed with the task of caring for every person. That’s what small groups and mentoring are for! If you have brought some of your people through Mentor Training (or Marriage Mentor Training), you can use your pastoral position to hand people off to qualified mentors for genuine care. Here’s what you need to know:

Defining the “Handoff”

The “handoff” is when a pastor or leader connects someone looking for help to someone trained to give help (a group leader or mentor). The idea is to distribute pastoral care so that true life change can happen. Pastors can only personally help so many people. For most people they serve as a connector to a small group or mentor who can help in the long run.

Leveraging Your Leadership

Chances are good that you will have more people coming to you for counsel or advice because of your leadership position in the church. When that happens, use it as an opportunity to connect them to a mentor that you have trained and approved. Explain how mentoring works at your church and encourage the person to consider the opportunity. Remember that your role as a pastor or leader gives you a central role in validating the idea of mentoring. you must market the idea to people who need the connection.

Using the Handoff Doc

Your pastoral care meeting can set the tone for future mentoring conversations. Be clear, concise, and compelling. And demonstrate a pastoral heart for people. Use the handoff doc with the suggested meeting agenda:

  1. Open with prayer.
  2. Explain your role as pastor: to help them get connected to the right person (mentor).
  3. Explain the system and how groups and mentoring work.
  4. Ask them to list some topics they’d like to discuss with a mentor.
  5. Briefly share some of your own pastoral wisdom if appropriate.
  6. Ask if they have any questions or special requests.
  7. Close with prayer.

Make sure you touch base with the mentor(s) and fill them in on your conversation. Have the mentor(s) reach out and take if from there, but follow up to make sure it’s really happening.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. How many people are you directly trying to lead right now? How is it working for you? On a scale of 1-10, how stressed are you as a pastor?
  4. On average, how many people do you connect with for pastoral care each week? In the long run, is it helping them? Give some specific examples.
  5. How would a handful of trustworthy marriage mentors impact your church? How would it impact your personal ministry schedule? Answer these questions for other areas of ministry in your church.
  6. Do you think it would work to do the “handoff” as described above? Why or why not?
  7. Make a short list of people you would like to equip as mentors or small group leaders. Talk about a strategy to train them. 
  8. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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