Archives For mentoring

I was reading through Luke chapters 8-9 this morning.  Mentoring is on my mind, so naturally I noticed the following.

After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.  .  .  . 

When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother.  .  .  . 

When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out.  .  .  .When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves.  .  .  . 

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray

Some thoughts: 
— Jesus had a crowd of disciples, but from that larger group he focused much of his efforts on 12.  But even in that group of 12, he focused much of his effort on three.
— Jesus empowered and then sent his disciples out on a difficult and dangerous journey.  After the journey was completed he took them away to a private place and debriefed the mission.
— Although Jesus interacted with large crowds on occasion, he was not enamored with them.  He was much more interested in focusing his time and energy into a few people who could and would make a major difference in the days to come.   He was not afraid to challenge those he was mentoring, to make things a bit uncomfortable and to “push them out of the next.”  And he gathered them up afterwards to to guide, strengthen and encourage them.
— Being a mentor must have been frustrating on occasion for Jesus.  How many times did his disciples miss the point!  They so didn’t get it.
— Being mentored by Jesus often meant going on dangerous journeys.  He is the dangerous mentor!

Who is in our sphere that God is calling us to mentor?  Our children or nephews and nieces are a great place to start.  What about someone at church or at work or in the neighborhood?  What obstacles prevent you from initiating strategic relationships like Jesus did?  Be honest with yourself!  My reasons are pretty lame.  Are yours?  Are you willing to love others like Jesus did?  To invest the time, energy and sacrifice?  To take risks and expose them to risks?  To follow the dangerous mentor on a dangerous journey? 

I was in a brief discussion about mentoring with a friend today.  I mentioned the idea that everyone should have a mentor as well as be a mentor.  I described this as having one arm extended forward being pulled along by a mentor, and one extended back pulling someone else forward.  Imagine a chain of mentors, all pulling and being pulled as together we pursue that which is greater than ourselves, that to which we are intrinsically called.

In the past I think I labored under a subconscious definition of what it meant to be mentored that was both false and harmful .  I think I perceived it as something for the weak, the needy, the “defective.”  While those who have it together, or who are experienced in life are the ones that are doing the mentoring.  I think I first became aware of this incorrect perception of mine when I heard Andy Stanley state that “we are all naive, and that’s ok” (not necessarily a direct quote).  It’s true.  We are all naive about something.  There are always things or scenarios that we have not yet experienced – things that others have already experienced where we can draw on their wisdom, strength, knowledge, compassion and guidance as we journey through similar circumstances.  Until the lid closes on the casket, we are never to old to benefit from having a mentor because there is always something we have not yet experienced in life — right up to that point that we walk through death’s door.

Does this mentoring relationship necessarily need to be formalized and ratified with selected individuals?  Perhaps, but I also think we should continually be offering guidance (when appropriate) to others around us and we should always be seeking guidance as well.  For there is great wisdom to be found in good counsel.  I suspect the answer should be that we should strive for both formal and informal mentor/mentored relationships.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please consider dialoguing either here in the comments section or over on the official Dangerous Journey Facebook page.  I would really appreciate your insight and ideas.

When I began creating this post I thought I would find a clever graphic that illustrated the concept of a human chain of mentoring.  I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but I did come across this commercial that I thought fit in well with this discussion.  I think it played back in 2010, but I don’t remember ever seeing it.

The lyrics of the background music are:

It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish
And it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at
Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down
How quick are you gonna get up, how quick are you gonna get up
Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down
How quick are you gonna get up, just how are you gonna get up

Perhaps part of getting up after you get knocked down, part of where you finish, the place where you are at, is all influenced by whether you have a mentor in your life.  Think about it.  

Nike – Human Chain from Find Store on Vimeo.

Over on my Facebook page I asked the question:

 “Is it important for a man to have a mentor? If it is, should every man have a mentor? Or is it it only for specific situations or times?”

I invite you to come on over and participate in the discussion.

About two years ago I read Tony Dungy’s book “The Mentor Leader.”  I highly recommend you get a copy of the book, a sharp pencil and a legal pad.  I was challenged by the read and it caused me to take some new action/initiative in our families life.  I’m not going to right a book review here, but I would like to post up a few things that I wrote on my legal pad after I read and ruminated on the book.

If I am going to be a mentor leader in my family I need to lead the process of defining our vision, our mission and our values.  This is how I paraphrased those core items after I read the book. 

Vision:  where we want to be, what we want to “look like.”
Mission:  Why do we exist?
Values:  What is important to us? (or what are the rules of the road for our family)

So what does this look like in the real world?  Here is some of what I wrote down on that legal pad regarding vision, mission and values for our family.

Vision:  A cohesive, joyous, loving, caring family with a strong marriage.  Christ followers who walk the walk, care for others and build the Kingdom of God.  To help our children excel where we struggled by offering vision, direction and wisdom.

Misssion:  To build relationships with Christ, with each other and with the Church.  To bring the world into proper relationship with Christ.

Values:  Honesty, integrity, kindness, love, compassion/care
We are not a lying family
We are not a hitting family
We are not a quitting family

I’m not going to pretend that we are always successful in living these things out.  And I’m not going to pretend I’m the greatest family leader, either.  I’m not – rather, I’m greatly flawed!  But I do know that if I aim at nothing, I hit it every time.  And I’m finally learning that it really is important to know where you want to be headed and have an idea of how you are going to get there.  “Making it up on the fly” usually leaves me (and even more so my family) frustrated, disappointed and disillusioned.

So heed these words of mine.  If you want to lead your family, if you want to help them succeed and become all that God desires for them, I would strongly encourage you to get this book and spend time creating a vision for your family.  And then start putting it into action!