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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Mentoring for Effectiveness:  A Personal View

    November 12, 2018 / By Rev. Robert Kolvick-Campbell, Sherrill: Christ UMC

    Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the Advocate, which focused on itinerancy.

                In the midst of newly ordained pastors, or even longer serving pastors, the situations of ministry can become a bit much to handle. Self-care can be forgotten and hopes can fall short of God’s vision for us. We might see ourselves as doing what we can each day; those who are our supervisors might see that we need some support.

    In 2014, being moved to a new appointment, this happened to me. Members of the Upper New York Cabinet approached me, concerned about what was happening in my ministry and calling me to covenant with them in a new program: Mentoring for Effectiveness.

    At first, I was hesitant, perceiving care as judgment. It felt that starting a new appointment and the requirements of Mentoring for Effectiveness might be too much or might be unnecessary. I came to find out that care was really at work in the Cabinet’s concern: care for me as a pastor, in my ministry, seeking to give the space and grace to continue growth.

    Some of that growth was learning about where I was in the midst of my life in ministry through emotional intelligence training. Through the EQ-HR process, I was able to be reminded of communication skills I already knew, but to practice them in some new ways.

    One of the great times of sharing occurred in participating in “Tending the Fire.” Tending the Fire uses the work of Edwin Friedman and his concept of the non-anxious presence as a means of examining one’s self as a clergyperson, in the midst of what can be anxious congregations.

    Throughout the process, I had a coach, who nurtured and shared with me in meaningful ways towards prayerfully engaging my life anew as God is calling me. We worked on little things I saw, developing a balcony view of ministry and worked together in forming our bond in covenantal prayer. And this was and is positive and helpful—I continue to work with my coach quarterly, updating and working with the challenges and joys of ministry.

    There was, as well, an understanding of accountability, that I had goals to meet by specific dates. That accountability reminded me that we are all accountable to each other. Accountability has its place in ministry as we seek to live as God’s community. Mentoring for Effectiveness helps me define where and what I need to be about when living out my ministry.

    Finally, a big aspect was the focus on self-care. One might argue that this is what Mentoring for Effectiveness was really all about: caring about oneself and ministry enough to give oneself to a program to prayerfully live into new growth as a pastor.

    Could a clergyperson do all of the programs themselves? Yes, of course, but looking back, I can say that  giving myself to the program allowed me to find new connections in ministry that continue to support each day.

    Throughout Mentoring for Effectiveness, I learned and I grew. I had to be open to this process, and that wasn’t always easy, throughout the process, I was supported as I met with my District Superintendent to look at my progress, to be encouraged, and to provide feedback on the process for improvement.

    As I completed the process, I felt renewed. I give thanks to God for that renewal. I believe that everyone can find meaning in taking some time to reflect and examine their ministry and grow from that time. I continue to use the fruit I gained to inform and critically grow in the ministry to which God has called me.

    TAGGED / Advocate

    Mentoring for Effectiveness:  A Personal View

    November 12, 2018 / By Rev. Robert Kolvick-Campbell, Sherrill: Christ UMC

    Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of the Advocate, which focused on itinerancy.

                In the midst of newly ordained pastors, or even longer serving pastors, the situations of ministry can become a bit much to handle. Self-care can be forgotten and hopes can fall short of God’s vision for us. We might see ourselves as doing what we can each day; those who are our supervisors might see that we need some support.

    In 2014, being moved to a new appointment, this happened to me. Members of the Upper New York Cabinet approached me, concerned about what was happening in my ministry and calling me to covenant with them in a new program: Mentoring for Effectiveness.

    At first, I was hesitant, perceiving care as judgment. It felt that starting a new appointment and the requirements of Mentoring for Effectiveness might be too much or might be unnecessary. I came to find out that care was really at work in the Cabinet’s concern: care for me as a pastor, in my ministry, seeking to give the space and grace to continue growth.

    Some of that growth was learning about where I was in the midst of my life in ministry through emotional intelligence training. Through the EQ-HR process, I was able to be reminded of communication skills I already knew, but to practice them in some new ways.

    One of the great times of sharing occurred in participating in “Tending the Fire.” Tending the Fire uses the work of Edwin Friedman and his concept of the non-anxious presence as a means of examining one’s self as a clergyperson, in the midst of what can be anxious congregations.

    Throughout the process, I had a coach, who nurtured and shared with me in meaningful ways towards prayerfully engaging my life anew as God is calling me. We worked on little things I saw, developing a balcony view of ministry and worked together in forming our bond in covenantal prayer. And this was and is positive and helpful—I continue to work with my coach quarterly, updating and working with the challenges and joys of ministry.

    There was, as well, an understanding of accountability, that I had goals to meet by specific dates. That accountability reminded me that we are all accountable to each other. Accountability has its place in ministry as we seek to live as God’s community. Mentoring for Effectiveness helps me define where and what I need to be about when living out my ministry.

    Finally, a big aspect was the focus on self-care. One might argue that this is what Mentoring for Effectiveness was really all about: caring about oneself and ministry enough to give oneself to a program to prayerfully live into new growth as a pastor.

    Could a clergyperson do all of the programs themselves? Yes, of course, but looking back, I can say that  giving myself to the program allowed me to find new connections in ministry that continue to support each day.

    Throughout Mentoring for Effectiveness, I learned and I grew. I had to be open to this process, and that wasn’t always easy, throughout the process, I was supported as I met with my District Superintendent to look at my progress, to be encouraged, and to provide feedback on the process for improvement.

    As I completed the process, I felt renewed. I give thanks to God for that renewal. I believe that everyone can find meaning in taking some time to reflect and examine their ministry and grow from that time. I continue to use the fruit I gained to inform and critically grow in the ministry to which God has called me.

    TAGGED / Advocate


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."