52 Ways: #14

52ways[1]Set up a designated fund for your pastor* to use to take young men** out to coffee or meals in order to foster mentoring/discipling relationships.

This week I want to talk specifically to church board members or anyone directly involved in the financial decisions of the church.

The rest of you can read along, or go back over the previous suggestions and see if there are any you missed.

Okay, ready?  I’d like you to consider setting up a designated fund for your pastor(s) to use to take individuals out to foster mentoring/discipling relationships.  This doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money, but enough to cover a daily coffee or weekly meal.  You can set the budget and your pastor can work within those parameters.

Nearly every pastor I know – male and female – sets aside time weekly to meet with individuals in order to mentor/disciple them.  It may be a quick breakfast before work, a lunch appointment, or a mid-afternoon coffee.  Some days they may have all three!  Unless your church has a coffee house/café on the premises with an open tab for the pastor these meetings usually are paid for out of the pastor’s own pocket.  When I headed up Women’s Ministry in a large suburban church I met almost daily with women outside of the church building, usually at my instigation, and usually I picked up the tab.  Rightly or wrongly I considered it part of my tithe because the expense did add up at the end of the month.

I don’t want anyone to have to choose finances over relationships.  A mentoring or discipling relationship is quite a bit different than a counseling relationship.  When you are a mentor you meet regularly, you talk, you listen, you share, you encourage, you model, you instruct.  You spend time together to build that relationship and a natural part of that seems to involve food or drink.  My husband’s “office” of choice is one of four local Starbucks or a nearby Corner Bakery.  It just makes sense to meet at a public location that works for both parties, grab a bite to eat or a Frappuccino, and head to the big comfy chairs to talk for an hour.

Of course having a designated mentoring/discipling fund isn’t an absolute necessity, but it sure would be helpful.  Just ask your pastor.  By the way, I’m not suggesting you limit this fund to your lead or executive pastor only.  Every area of pastoral ministry that involves people could and should involve mentoring relationships.  Providing some funds toward fostering these relationships within the church will pay dividends far beyond coffee and sandwiches.

*Lead, teaching, executive, associate, music, seniors, singles, college/career, high school, junior high, men’s, women’s, children’s, nursery, benevolence………………………

**Men mentor and disciple men.  Women mentor and disciple women.

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