Pastor reflects on mentoring in the digital age

Ben Greene

Pastor & writer

  • Coaching & covering

Galen Huck has started to discover that mentoring is not what it was.

The pastor of Cheyenne Hills Church in Wyoming has diligently pursued influential relationships with younger leaders for many years. But today’s generation — transformed by instant information through the internet — has shown him that they see mentoring differently.

“We’re in a different generational world,” he said. “This next generation is not going to get it the same way I did.”

Huck got it after he moved to Wyoming to work as a church planter. Once in Cheyenne, the Kansas native deeply connected with Dick Young, who was then 52 and starting Cheyenne Hills. So, Young welcomed Huck into his ‘hip pocket’ to learn what Huck couldn’t learn in seminary classes alone.

Decades later, Huck, now in his sixties, eagerly invests in younger disciples. He believes they can be the pastors, worship leaders and children’s ministers in future congregations worldwide.

“I’m amazed at the talent God’s raising up,” he said. “I feel this responsibility so these guys get equipped and get the stuff they’re not getting out of books.”

Yet, as Huck has journeyed with these Christians, he realized they weren’t participating in mentoring as he had 30 years ago. 

Today’s mentoring includes major, minor changes

A minor difference has appeared in today’s churches. Mentees now take a class, read something or watch a video and think mentoring is complete. 

Then, along the way, Huck said a much more significant difference came to light: Young leaders seldom expressed their desire to be pursued and trained by a mentor, which was Huck's experience under Dick Young. That's how he learned that mentors and mentees must clarify their expectations right at the beginning.


I'm amazed at the talent God is raising up. I feel this responsibility so these guys get equipped and get the stuff they're not getting out of books.

Galen Huck

Huck draws on his football coaching experience to ask potential mentees two foundational questions: “Where do you want to go?” and “Will you let me coach you up to the level you want to achieve?”

Potential mentees’ answers to those questions have defined the success or the struggle for Huck and those who may be leaders.

Not everything has changed in growing church leaders

Huck is willing to transfer his knowledge, but first he looks for an essential character trait: humility. He asks them what happens when they are told no about their ideas or desires. He wants to know if future servants have the humility to follow someone, not just lead. 

“You’ve got to have somebody that you respect enough to sand those edges off or challenge you and let you know,” he said. 

That’s why Cheyenne Hills has a residency program for a small number of men and women at the church. That’s a place where mature disciples at the church influence gifted people in their 20s and early 30s.

Huck deeply appreciates the younger generation’s ability to easily access information and knowledge that he found in seminary. The power of mentoring comes when learning in community creates a launching pad into ministry opportunities. 


You've got to have somebody that you respect enough to sand those edges off or challenge you.

Galen Huck

For example, he said a young woman on staff in the children’s ministry is a great leader, theologian and mother. So, he continues to give her opportunities and challenges so she fulfills her high capacity as a leader. 

“It’s really good to see how God’s poured himself into a lot of young vessels,” he said. “We’ve got to give them opportunities and get out of their way.” 

Huck said that mindset and intentionality can’t be found through videos or internet searches. But that’s where trust is built, character is transformed and believers walk worthy of their calling to ministry.

“You can’t Google that stuff. You can’t get it in a classroom,” Huck said of how mentoring has stayed the same. “You’ve gotta get face to face.”

Every leader — no matter experienced — needs a coach. Overcoming the obstacles that accompany ministry requires humility, grit, tenacity, dependence and determination. Having a coach walk with you can make the difference. Learn more about coaching and mentoring through Converge. 

Ben Greene, Pastor & writer

Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.

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