By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt
The Rev. Amanda Gordon is embracing a first time opportunity to serve as a candidate mentor following her six years of ministering in the Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. According to Gordon, her district superintendent selected her for the job and reflections of her own spiritual walk are reason for her eagerness to the assignment.
“There were mentors along my path, groups, and colleagues, that I was able to meet with and encourage me and help me in my calling and I would just be honored to do that for somebody else … it is an important time in the life of someone as they are searching for candidacy,” said Gordon, senior pastor of Minor Memorial UMC in Walls, MS.
She expressed her thoughts during the 2013 Candidacy Mentor and District Committee on Ordained Ministry Training, where she and nearly 100 of her equals assembled for training at Anderson United Methodist Church in Jackson.
Candidacy mentors have a dual primary goal serving the candidate and the church: (a) to serve as a guide, consultant and adviser to help candidates explore, discern, and determine how God is leading them to serve; and (b) to serve as a representative of the Church in selecting faithful leaders with integrity for ministry in the United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Sherry Johnson continues to be a listening ear to those fulfilling God’s call. She’s been a mentor for more than ten years. She is also the associate director at the Center for Ministry where they focus on developing Christian leaders and continuing education for lay and clergy that feel call to leadership.
“I enjoy the enthusiasm and the visions of those going into the ministry. I enjoy walking beside them and watching them grow. I feel the since of excitement about what I see them doing after they are ordained. For me it’s like a mom seeing a kid graduate from college and seeing them go on and do wonderful things,” said Johnson.
The interim director of ministerial services for the MS Annual Conference, Jimmy Carr, explains why United Methodist members should appreciate and pray for those in the candidacy mentor role.
“These persons have the first opportunity to work with the leaders of the future, the leaders of the church. As mentors touch these persons lives and help them deal with who they are as children of God and as persons called of God to do special things in the church, then they are enhancing and making a better future of the United Methodist Church,” said Carr.
Other commitments of the candidacy mentor involve trust, honesty and agreement. Both candidate and the candidacy mentor pledge to be available for one another; to pray for one another and to explore together the candidate’s spiritual calling and journey. Is God calling you? If so, dozens including Gordon and Johnson stand ready to hear from you.