Tag Archives: mentors

Why Mentoring Matters

designMentoring matters because we need help! As individuals, we need help in finding a meaningful place where we can invest our lives. Potential mentors need help because they can’t accomplish everything on their own. The culture needs help to make this world a better place in which to live.

Mentors serve others as coaches, advisors or trainers. We provide ideas and encouragement. We help other people develop their strengths and improve on their weaknesses. Families, organizations and communities benefit from the work of mentors. Many of the greatest leaders on earth enjoyed the advantage of having someone personally train them.

John Maxwell said, “One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.”

Not compelling enough?

Consider:

If no one serves as a mentor, everybody starts at ground zero and has to learn everything by him or herself.

If no one serves as a mentor, organizations are left to start from scratch when there is a leadership transition.

If no one serves as a mentor, vision and wisdom dies when the leader dies.

If no one serves as a mentor, emerging leaders miss valuable training and struggle unnecessarily.

If no one serves as a mentor, organizational progress is stymied – we all pay the price.

The world is a better place because of mentors. Among some well-known mentor/mentee relationships are General Colin Powell: mentored by his father, Luther Powell; Dr. Martin Luther King: mentored by Benjamin E. Mays; Henry David Thoreau: mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Quincy Jones: mentored by Ray Charles.

I want to encourage you to be a mentor. Regardless of your age, skill level or experience, you know more than someone else. Regardless of your field of service or expertise, you have something of value to share. You have the responsibility to share your knowledge with others.

Here are few ideas on becoming a mentor:

Identify: How do we find the right person to mentor? If they are open and teachable – there’s your person. Talk with them about your idea and see if they have interest.

Idealism: forget about finding the perfect person to mentor. You’re better served to find someone who is already close to you and who trusts you.

Improvement: those who enjoy the tutoring of a mentor increase their performance. Training pays off!

Investment: like a great stock, infusing others with valuable resources such as knowledge results in great dividends for everyone involved.

Intentionality: You must make a commitment to make mentoring happen. It will not just occur automatically.

Innovate: don’t feel like you must follow a curriculum or be bound to a program developed by others. Be yourself and go with the flow.

Inspire: be sure that your goal is to make the life of the other person better. Motivate them, challenge them and help them to grow. Of course, you will also grow through the process.

Influence: when a friend knows you care enough about them that you are willing to mentor them, you will influence them to be the best they can possibly be. Who knows, perhaps you can alter the direction of someone’s life.

Mentoring matters. It’s worth your effort. Someone is waiting for you.

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Respect the Generations

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Having grown up in the church and making my livelihood in ministry my entire adult life, I have an observation: every generation thinks they are right. In the family of God, there is a big problem between people who just can’t seem to accept the way the “other generation” prefers to do church. There are divisions about music style, Bible versions, proper attire for church services and even whether or not coffee should be served in church. This problem is not going away and it keeps the church from being as effective as it could be. Rather than fighting the devil, we fight each other.

I have a proposal for our consideration: Let’s not disrespect what God is doing among generations other than ours. This goes for every generation.

For the elders: Of course the younger generation is making some mistakes. We all do when we lack the experience and wisdom that is needed in life. They want to change everything and they have no idea of the ramifications. This is part of the growth process. They act like they know it all. Keep in mind that those who went before you thought the same thing about you, and it was probably true. Our job is not to force the younger crowd into our interpretation of the “right way”. Our job is to encourage them to experience God in a fresh and authentic way. That way will be different than your way, just like your way was different from those who went before you. Remember, there was a generation before you that could have criticized every thing you did. Hopefully they supported you. Offer the same benefit to those who are coming along behind you. They are counting on you – they are looking for heroes, not critics.

For the younger: Remain teachable. Those who have been around longer than you know more than you do. Don’t presume to have it all figured out. Be sensitive and respectful.  They have paved the way for you. If they hadn’t paid the price, your life would be harder. Show gratitude. Find a mentor, a spiritual grandfather. Listen to him. Obey the Scriptures: I Peter 5:5-6 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (NIV)

For all generations: Let’s share mutual respect and support. Celebrate the differences. Operate with grace and tolerance. Be intentionally multi-generational in ministry. If a church does not include every generation, it is out of balance.

And finally, stay humble (we are not God).  It is very presumptuous to think that whatever we prefer is what God prefers. Our ways are His ways, my music is His music, and so on. On judgment day, God will sort out Bible versions and hymns vs. hip hop. Until then, let’s embrace those who are different than we are.  The future of the church and the salvation of the world depends on it.