During the month of March, we’ve dedicated Thursdays to talking about mentoring, why it’s important and how to go about doing it. Today’s post is by a man who’s worked hard to mentor younger ministers, as well as get mentoring. Jim is the preacher at the Crestview Church of Christ, and is one of the best ministers and encouragers I know. Jim consistently writes great content for leadership/ministry at his blog over at www.godhungry.org. You can follow him on Twitter here. And I highly recommend checking out his blog here.
For much of my adult life I have desired to be mentored. As a young minister, it was very clear to me that I had much to learn. Consequently, I was very intentional about seeking out people from whom I could learn. Over the years I have gained from the following:
- Several trusted ministers who were very patient as I came to them again and again with my questions and difficult situations. Some of these people have been a very important part of my life for many years.
- Relationships that I had for a particular season of ministry. That is, for a season I learned from these people and stayed in contact.
- Occasional coffees and lunches with particular people. These were more than conversations. I often came to these moments with numerous questions I needed to ask.
- Individuals through their biographies and autobiographies. At other times, I saturated myself with the writings of Henri Nouwen, N.T. Wright, Gordon MacDonald, John R.W. Stott, C. S. Lewis, etc.For many years I wouldn’t have used the word “mentor” to describe what I needed from these people. I just knew that I had much to learn from others.As you read this note, I want to ask you:
Are you being mentored by anyone?
As you think about this question, know that I continue to be mentored by others. I am still intentional about learning from others. I look for people from whom I can learn.
Are you willing to be mentored?
The following are a few questions that might be helpful in reflecting on this:
- Who am I learning from right now?
- Am I serious about growing and changing?
- Do I really listen to trusted people?
- Is there anyone in my life with whom I talk and then actually follow through on something that person suggested?
- Am I serious about moving from “What shall I do?” to “What kind of person wilI I be?”Look for someone from whom you can learn. Ask to spend some time with that person. Go prepared. Ask good questions. Listen. Write down what you wish to remember. Listen to this person’s words and watch this person’s manner. Be fully present when you are with this person.
Are you investing in anyone else’s life?
First, I am not talking about someone who might be presumptuous and think someone would be blessed just to spend time with him. Blessing someone through a mentoring relationship works best when that person is living out of the soul, not the ego.