Ministry does not happen alone. It happens with people — church members, other clergy and members of our community. Thus, as people begin the process for being credentialed to serve in ministry, it starts together … with companions and with a guide, learning together to follow the path of Christ in ministry.

Many people arrive at the start of the ministry credentialing process because they’ve had someone who has already been a mentor to them. We do not want to replace an already established mentor, but we do want to provide someone to come alongside you to help you navigate the process of serving as a licensed or ordained minister. We also want to provide someone who has served in ministry for several years to serve as a sounding board, an encouragement — a mentor — to you in your first years of doing ministry in this setting.

The primary way that the Great Plains does mentoring is in a group context. Candidacy Summit and Residency participants are assigned to mentoring groups. However, certified candidates and licensed local pastors who are required (by the Book of Discipline) to participate in mentoring are able to select their mentoring group from the following options:

  • 201 - Preparation for Ministry groups are designed primarily for certified candidates or local pastors who are completing education leading to provisional/full membership requests.  We anticipate that it will include seminary students and candidates/local pastors who want to focus more on theological understanding of ministry. These groups will focus on theology with a consideration for how theology is lived out in the practice of ministry.
    Register for preparation now (coming soon).
  • 301 - Practice of Ministry groups are designed primarily for local pastors who intend to remain in ministry as a local pastor or associate member, seminary graduates who have not yet been commissioned, or candidates who want to focus more on developing skills in the practices of ministry with consideration of how theology influences our practice of ministry. Candidates will be expected to be serving in a ministry context.
    Register for practice now (coming soon).

Selection of both type of mentoring group and mentor will be made by candidates/local pastors in July of each year.

Foundations for Mentoring

Mentoring in the Great Plains UMC takes a variety of different forms. Building a relationship, sharing information, facilitating growth and challenge, modeling for ministry and creating space for discernment are a few of the roles that a mentor may play. Most of the formal mentoring that takes place in the Great Plains UMC does so under the direction of the Board of Ordained Ministry and the Office of Clergy Excellence. The resources here are available for use for mentoring pairs.


We anticipate that mentoring pairs will strive for a balance of 80/20 in the balance of responsibility, learning, and growth.

The 80: Mentees are the primary agents of their own learning and growth which is moderated through the focus and wisdom of the Mentor. They are encouraged to take initiative for what they would like to learn, ask questions and seek growth. For those in the candidacy and ordination process, mentees are expected to provide mentoring reports to their Mentors in a timely manner.

The 20: Mentors provide structure and guidance through communication and teaching when helpful. Mentors also expect to grow and learn from their mentee(s).