Book Review: The Mentoring Church, by Phil Newton
Phil Newton, The Mentoring Church: How Pastors and Congregations Cultivate Leaders. Kregel, 2017. 240 pps, $18.99.
I serve at a church that has several internship opportunities. These positions tend to be focused on pastoring, youth ministry, women’s ministry, and more. As such, every intern is most influenced by the leader directly responsible for that particular internship. This internship ministry has been a good part of our ministry, but after reading The Mentoring Church, I see some changes we need to make.
Phil Newton is a faithful pastor in Memphis, whose ministry is marked by mentoring young men for the ministry and leading his congregation to embrace and love this important responsibility. Therefore, it’s fitting for him to write this work on how pastors and congregations cultivate leaders. This work is timely and helpful.
If a pastor is going to help raise up a church, then it would be helpful if it first raised up that man to be a pastor. Phil’s argument is that raising up leaders is not left to one-on-one discipleship, but is the charge of the entire congregation. Every church needs to own that. He defends this argument from the Scriptures, from church history, and from some contemporary examples. By the end of the eighth chapter, the reader is convinced that training leaders has to be intentionally pursued by a congregation if it will ever be faithful to its calling.
The final third of the book is then devoted to how this can be done, and Phil does a great job of providing a number of examples and even a template for training leaders. No matter the size of your membership, your church can (and must) pursue leadership training—and this book provides the tools to do it.
This work is well-researched, extensively footnoted, and comes with an appendix of about 90 books divided into 11 areas of pastoral ministry. This alone is worth the price of the book. While I thought certain sections were longer than necessary, the specific tools provided in the later chapters are perfect for pastors who want to lead their churches in establishing a culture of raising up leaders.