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Every Pastor Needs a Mentor

Published Date: March 2, 2023

Paul mentored Timothy and told him to mentor others (2 Timothy 2:2). After my 1979 ATS graduation, we returned to Oklahoma to pastor. I quickly realized I needed a mentor. Over the next 43 years, I served five churches from few (11) to many (3,000+) in average worship attendance. Lay mentors in each church clarified my ministry context. I also found seasoned pastors and colleagues who provided invaluable wisdom and practical advice. ATS alumni made great mentors and friends for me. A definite conclusion: every pastor needs a mentor.

In addition to supporting ATS in a primary way (Asbury Church is an ATS extension site), I have found a second way to help.

A colleague and I started a non-profit ministry called Churchcraft Consulting (I volunteer). Our primary niche is for lead pastors of small and medium-sized congregations. We select eight pastors who are humble, hungry, and smart to form a cohort. The cohort schedule runs concurrent with the school calendar. We host a September gathering, have selected readings, and Zoom for one hour each Monday afternoon. The Apprenticeship culminates in a trip to the Holy Land.

One pastor said, “Going to the Holy Land is the equivalent of six months of discipleship.” A pastor’s spouse said, “Going to the Holy Land made the Bible come alive to me, like watching the Wizard of Oz when it went from black and white to color.” We raise funds to help make this pilgrimage financially possible for the pastor and spouse.

We will form two cohorts for 2023-2024. Our first cohort of eight meets in Tulsa on September 19-21, 2023. Our second cohort gathers the following Monday-Wednesday. The two cohorts travel to the Holy Land together from June 3-15, 2024.

If you know a pastor who is “humble, hungry, and smart” who might be interested in this mentorship, direct them to: for more information. As President Maxie Dunnam said, “As the seminary goes, so goes the pastor. As the pastor goes, so goes the church. As the church goes, so goes the world.” This is my way, as an ATS alumnus, to give back to the seminary that has mentored me.

Tom Harrison (1979)

P.S. It was my privilege to have Tammy Cessna, our Alumni Director, go with me to Israel in 2013.

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One response to “Every Pastor Needs a Mentor”

  1. Lee Strawhun says:

    Tom what a great ministry! Since retiring our goal is to encourage small church pastors as we travel in our RV. I’ll keep your work in mind.

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