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Candidacy Mentor Resources

Candidates who travel through the candidacy process of the United Methodist Church are required to have a mentor. The Virginia Conference identified mentors as those who shepherd other shepherds.

The Clergy Mentoring Manual produced by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry includes the following:

  1. Mentors shall be recommended by the cabinet, selected, trained, and held accountable by the Board of Ordained Ministry.
  2. Candidacy mentors are clergy in full connection, associate members, or full time local pastors who have completed the Course of Study trained to provide counsel and guidance related to the candidacy process. Candidates will be assigned a candidacy mentor by the district Committee on Ordained Ministry in consultation with the district superintendent (¶311.1b).

In the Virginia Conference, Candidacy Mentors work with the candidate until that candidate begins serving in an appointive ministry as a local pastor, a commissioned minister, or enter into the Certified Lay Minister program.

Tool and Expectations for Candidacy Mentors

The Mentoring program in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church identifies mentors as those who  “shepherd future shepherds.”  The Mentor Committee, a subcommittee of the Committee on Call and Candidacy, has worked to cultivate resources and materials for mentors that they may be equipped in their roles.

Attitudes and How To’s for Mentoring

The relationship between mentor and mentee is unique in the credentialing process of the United Methodist Church. The Mentor holds no authority over the mentee and is therefore in a key position to offer support, ask questions, and help the candidate discern next steps. The Mentor Coordinator co-hort has developed these essential How To’s  for establishing a healthy and productive relationship with your assigned candidate.

What’s Expected of Me as a Candidacy Mentor?

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Journey with the Candidate Until They Achieve the Next Level of Credentialing

Whether working with assigned Lay Supply or candidates, mentors walk with their candidates until the next level of credentialing- either when they enter into the Certified Lay Minister program or become a Licensed Local Pastor.

Process Knowledge

Mentors should be familiar with the steps for Phase II (Admitted Candidate to Certified Candidate) and Phase III certification (Certified Candidate toward being Recommended for Licensing)- in part because these two phases can be worked on simultaneously.

For a complete list of requirements for Phases I-III see the Master Checklist

Report Form

In Phase II, when candidates are moving from Admitted Candidate status to Certified Candidate status, Mentors are required to fill out a report form, which is then sent to the dCOM as part of the candidates application for certification.  The link to the report form by district can be found here

Read Answering the Call

Candidates who are in the Inquiring process work through the Christian as Minister. However, candidates who are applying for certification should read Answering the Call and discuss it with their mentor. Clergy Excellence may have hard copies of Answering the Call available. Please contact [email protected] to find out. Mentors can also download a copy here

Read Blessed Wrestling

All Candidates must attend the Candidacy Summit as part of their discernment process. Blessed Wrestling was written as a resource for candidates using stories from ministers serving in a variety of capacities across the Virginia Conference. Candidates will be required to read Blessed Wrestling as part of their preparation for Candidacy Summit. We recommend that Mentors read Blessed Wrestling and discuss it with their Mentee prior to the Candidacy Summit.

Proctor Psych Assessment

While not required, it is recommended that the Mentor be the proctor for the psych assessment. Candidates request the psychological assessment directly through the Virginia Institute for Pastoral Care (VIPCARE) and follow a series of prompts until such time as they need a proctor.

Debrief the Results of the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI)

The early stages of candidacy in the VAUMC involve assessing a candidate’s potential for ministry. The Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) gathers data related to a variety of competencies from the candidate and a group of nine raters which they themselves have selected. Ultimately, the ESCI offers a report which illustrates how a candidate rated themselves in comparison to how others rated them.

If a candidate is rated below a 3 in any one area, that would be a point for reflection in helping the candidate prepare for their dCOM interview. Given the level of discrepancy between the candidates rating and the chosen raters, those might be places for conversation as well. Are there competencies that could be improved or areas to receive help if needed…?

Mentors do not receive a copy of the report, but candidates do. Use open ended questions (Tell me about…what are your thoughts…what do you notice) which invite observations to increase the candidate’s self-awareness.

Candidates are assessed in the following areas:

Emotional Self-AwarenessRecognizing one’s emotions and their effects
Emotional Self-ControlKeeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check
AdaptabilityFlexibility in handling change
Achievement OrientationStriving to improve or meeting a standard of excellence
Positive OutlookPersistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks
EmpathySensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns
Organizational AwarenessReading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships
Coach and Mentor Sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities
Inspirational LeadershipInspiring and guiding individuals and groups
InfluenceWielding effective tactics for persuasion
Conflict Management  Negotiating and resolving disagreements
TeamworkWorking with others toward shared goals. Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

Click here to see a sample report of the ESCI

If needed, the instructions for the ESCI can be found here

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Additional Denominational Resources The full Candidacy Mentoring Manual provided by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry can be found here As an additional resource, GBHEM has provided the VocationCare and FTE Resource which centers on the role of storytelling and coming alongside candidates in a spiritual way. VocationCare and FTE Resources (pdf)

Contact your District Mentor Coordinator, or the Rev. Crystal Sygeel, Associate Director for Call and Candidacy in the Center for Clergy Excellence, [email protected] or (804) 521-1141 if you have questions around mentoring or would like to schedule “one-on-one” training by phone or video conference.

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