Every intern designates a person at the internship site who then serves as his or her ministry mentor. The Ministry Formation 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).

DTS Ministry Mentor Requirements:

  • Overall, served five years of full-time ministry experience*
  • Serving in current position for at least one year*
  • Completed formal theological training (i.e. Bible school or seminary-level, theological training)*
  • Time and availability to work with the student in person
  • Agrees to the following doctrinal positions: 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 Ministry Formation Department may approve exceptions to any of these items via a ministry resume or CV from a mentor. Exceptions must be approved prior to registration.

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 – Do they act as a sounding board by asking, listening, affirming, and sharing in a timely manner?
  • Active teacher – Have they 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 – Are they willing to use their professional experience and personal network to connect you with other resources as needed and appropriate?
  • Loves courageously – Are they able to discern areas in which you need to improve and areas in which you are already strong?
  • Environment of trust – Do they seek to develop a relationship with you based on mutual respect and trust?

Ministry Mentor Meetings

Ministry mentors and interns ideally should meet face-to-face on a weekly basis. The mentor should commit to spending at least one hour per week with the intern in theological reflection, prayer, and evaluation. For more information on finding a mentor or mentoring in general, see our resources page.