An important ingredient in the development of leaders is mentoring. Named for a character in Greek mythology, mentoring today usually involves pairing a less-experienced person with more experienced people who advise and serve as examples.
Pastor David Kennedy of Community of Grace Church, a Grace Brethren congregation whose facility is located just west of downtown Richmond, Va., is currently serving as a mentor to his associate pastor for family ministries, Brad Gromis. Kennedy, 59, has pastored for nearly three decades and has been at the Richmond church for 12 years. Gromis, 32, is in his first full-time ministry position.
Recently, the two sat down to talk about their relationship.
“We knew it was a unique opportunity for us to be able to input into his life for longevity in ministry,” says Kennedy. Gromis has now been with the Richmond congregation for about three years.
Gromis describes the experience as, “wonderful . . . because it’s not just Dave but others within the church who have been part of the process of discipling and mentoring.” He says, “Pastor Dave really invests time into developing me as he says, not just for this particular ministry, but for the longevity of ministry.”
Kennedy, in his sermon preparation, will often ask Gromis for his input. Gromis marvels that, “it was so clear that he valued the input . . . it said ‘you are valuable, and your input matters.'” Kennedy responds, “We have a mutual trust in one another and believe that God has brought Brad to our church for the purpose of helping in the ministry. This means helping individuals, including me as the pastor.”
One of the keys to the relationship working well, Kennedy says, is that “in a mentoring relationship it’s so valuable that both of the individuals are teachable. And Brad is very teachable. And yet, at the same time, he has a lot to offer.”
Reflecting on his own ministry experience, Kennedy says, “I know what mentoring has meant in my life, and that’s what I want for Brad. I know that he and his wife really feel God has called them into ministry. We read so many statistics of individuals who leave the ministry