The best book I’ve read on the subject of Mentor/Protégé relationships is Mentoring by Bob Biehl. If you are going to read only one book on the topic – this is the best!
Biehl defines mentoring as a lifelong relationship, in which a mentor helps a protege reach her or his God-given potential. bobbbiehl.com/index.html also deserves a visit.
Have you ever walked through an airport terminal and stepped onto a moving sidewalk? Suddenly you are whizzing along at two or three times your normal pace, even though you are keeping the same stride. It’s amazing. Others who choose not to use the moving sidewalk are putting equal energy into moving forward but you are getting there quicker.
- It helps pick up the pace of your personal development.
- A mentor can save time and energy as you reach your goals.
- Progress accelerates because the mentor knows things you don’t know.
- A mentor reads and will recommend books and authors that are not familiar to you.
- He/she opens doors you could never budge.
Most important a mentor asks you questions and gives perspectives that you may have never considered.
You may be making progress already as you move through life, but when you partner with the mentor, your pace will quicken. Don’t go another day without getting connected with those you can learn from.
How can this help? An example of how one’s perspective can be expanded. A time back I reviewed an article in which church planter/pastor Wayne Huntley was talking about this subject. Wayne Huntley is not a novice. He has been around a bit. In the article, he made an interesting observation concerning the changing ministerial realities saying, we need better listening skills. Just as the head of the body has to receive signals from the body . . . the Body of Christ sends signals to the pastor. As ministers we need to be trained to receive information from the congregation. A dictatorial style of pastoring is not going to succeed in the next millennium, because people of this age have been trained to think and to express their ideas. The word from a trusted and proven preacher is like what you’d gain from a mentor.
You need voices of that sort speaking into your life. J. T. Pugh’s book The Pull of the Future has a section about Disciple Abuse, (available at PentecostalPublishingHouse.com and on Kindle) he spoke of those who attempt to make every person just like them. This is not what your mentor needs to be.
Who do you select to be your mentors:
- One who has a track record of being effective.
- The person is willing to be an influencer and you have some access and get a response by email or in some other way. (The closer access the better.)
- Someone who can keep your confidences.
- A person of whom you can ask questions without that person being judgmental.
- One who you anticipate will press you back to the Bible for answers and principles to any question you have.
- Someone who is where you want to go. Planting a church – find a proven church planter to be a mentor. A young preacher who wants to be a better communicator – should find a veteran preacher who communicates well (particularly who communicates well at the local church level), first pastorate – plug into a pastoral veteran, etc.
What are some other things you feel important for one who is selecting a mentor?
Now, get the dialogue started. The scripture has much to say about learning from elders. One resource you may wish to consider to connect to an older preacher is Elder, Tell Me Your Memories. It helps by giving some questions you can ask and getting the conversation started.