Academic Departments

Role of Ministry Mentor

Every intern designates a person at the internship site who then serves as his or her ministry mentor. The Spiritual Formation and Leadership department looks to this mentor to fill a vital role in equipping seminary students for ministry.

The direction of a godly mentor is priceless to a promising leader.  Just as with a coach or a trainer in athletics, growth and change does not happen without a relationship with someone who is able to provide resources, assessment, motivation, and accountability. Mentoring is a partnership, where the mentor “takes on the responsibility of cooperating with the student in the pursuit of ministerial skills, in the development of a ministerial identity, and in bringing book knowledge into dialogue with the life of the community” (Regina Coll, Supervision of Ministry Students, 16).

Ministry Mentor Requirements

Dallas Theological Seminary asks that ministry mentors meet the following requirements:

  • A minimum of three years in a related full-time ministry position*
  • At least one year in his or her current position*
  • Formal theological training (i.e. Bible school or seminary-level, theological training)*
  • Commitment to spend at least one hour per week with the intern in evaluation, planning, theological reflection, and prayer
  • Agreement for the mentor and the intern to meet together with a representative of the Spiritual Formation and Leadership department by the third week of the internship
  • Commitment to provide a structure that is challenging, educational, and supportive, and to ensure the participation of the church or organization in the internship
  • Agreement to the following doctrinal position: The authority and inerrancy of Scripture, the Trinity, Christ’s full deity and humanity, the spiritual lostness of the human race, Christ’s substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection, salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, and the physical return of Christ
The Spiritual Formation and Leadership department must approve exceptions.
Ministry Mentor Qualities

The choice of a ministry mentor is actually more important than the choice of the internship. A fantastic internship with a poor mentor is worse than an adequate internship with a great mentor. The number-one complaint of students who have had poor internship experiences is the lack of relationship with their mentors.

Look for the following traits when you choose a mentor:

  • Christlike character
    The heart of leadership is the heart itself. Being, or character, must always precede doing (tasks and skills).
  • Intern-focused
    Is the person interested in cultivating your God-given talents and abilities?
  • Attentive listener
    Does he or she act as a sounding board by asking, listening, affirming, and sharing in a timely manner?
  • Active teacher
    Has he or she mastered the foundations of ministry in order to share with you the “art and science” of ministry in a clear way?
  • Acts as a resource
    Is he or she willing to use his or her professional experience and personal network to connect you with other resources as is needed and appropriate?
  • Loves courageously
    Is he or she able to discern areas in which you need to improve and areas in which you are already strong?
  • Environment of trust
    Does he or she seek to develop a relationship with you that is based on mutual respect and trust?

Dr. George Hillman wrote "Caring Mentoring", which discusses what to look for in a ministry mentor.

Ministry Mentor Meetings

Ministry mentors and interns ideally should meet face-to-face on a weekly basis.

Initial Mentoring Meeting What should take place in the initial meeting between a ministry mentor and intern by Dr. George Hillman