Four Questions on Mentoring During a Pandemic

By Jim Daly
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Young man sitting at his laptop in his kitchen. He's laughing and waving at someone in a video call.
A crisis is a magnifier that tends to reveal cracks – but also highlights needs. What type of feedback are you receiving? Are your congregants enjoying your extra emails, texts and phone calls? Has this season revealed your need to spend less time on large group events and more time on one-on-one ministry?

Do you have a mentor?

Do you have someone you can regularly check in with and receive both objective and practical counsel and guidance relevant to what’s going on in your life?

Scripture strongly encourages cooperation and accountability, whether referencing the importance of partnerships (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) or the value of candid feedback in improving or “sharpening” one another like iron on iron (Proverbs 27:17).

Steve has been my mentor for over a decade, and I’m grateful for our chats and regular texts and email correspondence. A few weeks ago, just as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to escalate, my long-time friend posed four questions to me to ponder.

Steve reminded me that God has often used plagues and hardships to get the attention of His people.

In Genesis, we learn of the great flood, and in the book of Exodus, we read about the ten disasters of Egypt, marked by an onslaught of frogs, locusts, thunderstorms of hail and fire – and even the death of children.

We find ourselves in the middle of another disaster—COVID-19.

What message is God trying to get across to us as hundreds of millions have their lives upended?

What is God seeking to accomplish through us right now?

Here are four questions to ponder during this crisis:

  1. What have you learned during this time?

It’s been a long time since I was home so many weeks in a row. As a result, I’ve reconnected with my wife, Jean, in marvelous ways. We’re praying together more now – both as a couple and as a family. It has been a rich time.

  1. What should a church or ministry consider not doing?

The coronavirus shutdown has forced everyone to slow down. In your church or ministry, you’ve had to stop doing certain things. I’m sure they’re all good things – but do they represent what you should continue to do, long-term?

Consider this to be a time of evaluation and reflection. There is good, better and best. Wherever possible, choose the best.

  1. What should rise up that we may not be doing enough of?

A crisis is a magnifier that tends to reveal cracks – but also highlights needs. What type of feedback are you receiving? Are your congregants enjoying your extra emails, texts and phone calls? Has this season revealed your need to spend less time on large group events and more time on one-on-one ministry?

  1. Who within your scope of leadership is stepping up in this crisis and demonstrating leadership skills?

It’s easy to “hide” in times of peace and prosperity, but character is best revealed when times grow tough. It was Thomas Paine, one of America’s Founding Fathers, who summed it up well:

“These are the times that try men’s souls,” he wrote in the introduction to his famous pamphlet, Common Sense. “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Look around and see who is rising to the occasion and lending the most heart and muscle to your ministry. Recognize them – and redouble your investment in their service to the Lord.

Struggle and suffering will never leave a person the same – it’ll either make them bitter, or shape them in ways no sunshine or success ever would.

How would you answer these four questions?

It might be helpful to pray over them and journal your thoughts.

Please know we’re praying for you, your families and your ministry during this tough season. Let us know if we can be of any help. We’re grateful for our ongoing partnership and extend to you God’s richest blessings.

© 2020 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

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