Denver Seminary's Unique Approach to Mentoring
an intentional and relational process in which people assist in the growth of others through their presence, listening, wisdom, and experience.
Denver Seminary prepares men and women to engage the needs of the world with the redemptive power of the gospel and the life-changing truth of Scripture.
All Denver Seminary degree programs involve an intentional mentoring component alongside the traditional classroom-based courses.
What It Takes
A Passionate Vision
It takes a special kind of person to faithfully minister for Jesus Christ in our rapidly changing, deeply broken world. If your ministry depends on that type of integration, your training process also must address your whole person: head, heart, and hand.
A Unique Approach
The Training and Mentoring process in Denver Seminary’s core curriculum addresses areas of character and skill that are essential to your ministry, integrating those areas with rigorous study in the classical biblical, theological, and professional disciplines. In contrast to older models of field education and internships, the Training and Mentoring process is intensely relational, personalized, contextual, and self directed.
An Integrated Process
The Training and Mentoring process depends on tightly knit partnerships between the Seminary and individuals from the community (people who are in ministry occupationally as well as those in other fields) who serve as your mentors. The process begins with a one-semester introductory course in which you will be given the tools to engage this type of learning process. You will also be introduced to spiritual formation resources that can nourish a healthy, vibrant relationship with God in seminary and in ministry.
Once this introductory course is completed, the Training and Mentoring process involves three semesters for M.A. students or five semesters for M.Div. students. In each semester you will participate in the following activities and relationships designed to integrate "head, heart and hand."
1. Interacting for approximately one hour per week, during the school term, with one or two mentors (depending on your degree program) who are external to the Seminary community.
2. Participating bi-weekly in a campus-based formation group with other students.
3. Developing and implementing personalized learning plans that address vital areas of character and ministry skill.
4. Writing a brief reflection, at the end of each semester, on the learning plans and the mentoring experience.
Your classroom-based courses can be integrated with your Training and Mentoring process so that all facets of your overall Seminary experience are connected and inform each other. This process connects Seminary education with life as you really live it; life as it is lived by those you will serve in ministry.
NOTE: Due to the unique requirements of the Counseling licensure program, the particular elements of the Training and Mentoring process described above are modified and embedded in the Clinical Training sequence (i.e., Practicum and Internship). Please consult the program information in the Academic Catalog or contact the Counseling Division.
What’s Mentoring Really Like?
“The T/M process has been invaluable, since it helped me to stay ‘connected’ with my soul and with God in the midst of academic studies. It has been precious because, along with the weekly meetings with my mentors, it helped me to grow holistically and intellectually. It is definitely one of the strengths of Denver Seminary.”
- Daniele Pasquale
“For me, to mentor is to be blessed and to build a mutual relationship for prayer and spiritual growth. By mentoring I gained new insights into students’ needs and their potential for future ministry.”
- Dr. Marjorie Shelley, mentor
“My external mentor is so encouraging! I still don’t understand why Deb wants to invest so much into me. What a blessing!”
- Talitha Sanderson
“The learning contract experience has proven to me the value of being very intentional on focusing on one area of my life. In other words, growth rarely happens passively or haphazardly.”
- David Warn
“Frankly, I simply enjoy having a spiritual formation group. So much of seminary education is about academics and scholarship—as it ought to be. My formation group, however, enables me to stay connected with students in the press of ministry and life outside of the rigors of the classroom.”
- Dr. Bill Klein, Professor of New Testament
We would be arrogant to think that as a Seminary, we alone could effectively train people for ministry. Most seminaries emphasize the importance of character formation and require some type of hands-on ministry involvement. However, apart from personalized mentoring relationships and thoughtfully designed developmental experiences, this has not been sufficient to prepare people for the wide range of personal and professional demands that ministry involves. This demands a close, working partnership with wise, godly, experienced individuals "in the trenches".
Effective ministry training always involves a rigorous and thorough-going approach to biblical and theological disciplines, but it is much more. It demands tools and environments in which God can develop vital areas of character and skill. Effective ministry formation must teach people how to be lifelong learners.
For students, the mentoring experience involves custom-designed, self-directed learning plans that focus on key areas of character, spiritual maturity and ministry skill. Students meet with their mentor(s) for approximately one hour per week (a time commitment of 15 hours per semester) during the school term. The learning plans provide focus and content for discussion, but the mentoring conversations normally touch on a wide array of topics that are relevant to life and ministry. A mentor comes alongside a student for encouragement, reflection, challenge and prayer. The relationship and process are to be "Student (mentee)-driven and mentor informed". Every other semester the student is responsible to schedule a one-hour "mentor team meeting" that involves the student, the mentor(s), and the mentoring director. At the end of each semester, the student writes a brief reflection on that semester's learning plan(s) and mentoring experience, then gives copies to mentors along with a brief evaluation form. Mentors are asked to read these summaries and offer written comments that will help the student continue growing. Students in M.A. programs participate in the mentoring sequence for three semesters (one and a half years, excluding breaks). The M.Div. degree program involves five semesters of mentoring (two and a half years, excluding breaks). Mentors are encouraged to stay with their student throughout the duration of the process unless there is a reason to change.
Who Can I Contact if I Have Questions?
A Denver Seminary Admissions team member can answer many of your questions about the Training and Mentoring process. If you have more specific questions or would like to speak with someone in the Training and Mentoring department, please feel free to contact us. We would love to interact with you about how our approach to seminary education could help prepare you for the next steps in ministry.
Training and Mentoring at Denver Seminary
Training and Mentoring Department
6399 South Santa Fe Drive • Littleton, CO 80120
Phone: 303-762-6917 • Toll free: 800-922-3040