The seventh and final of a series of workshops with members of the Transform Southern Sydney mentoring group occurred on zoom this morning. Tim commenced with a word study on ‘imitate’ (mimeomai) in the New Testament and we considered its implications for mentoring. We reflected on the interpersonal skill of self-disclosure in mentoring and the dynamic of transference. We spent time considering common sources of pressure from subconscious processes and supporting mentors through Sabbaticals. It has been a delight to spend time with the mentoring group in the workshops.
Great to be back up to Sydney yesterday to complete workshop 5 with the fourth cohort of students through our Mentor Equipping Course. Notes are in our shared dropbox and the day’s outline in the Moodle Folder. Workshop 5 focuses on carefrontation skills, reframing and helping mentorees gain insight into their mindsets. The extended version of the powerpoint on anxiety has also now been uploaded.
Tim and I returned to zoom for the sixth of a series of workshops with members of the Transform Southern Sydney mentoring group. We started with a Biblical reflection about Naomi and Ruth and then considered ways leaders deceive themselves and strategies to grow in self-awareness to combat this. To finish we spent time looking at burnout and the importance of Sabbath for emotional health.
Resources from the workshop have been added to the team Dropbox.
We had a fascinating discussion last night at the monthly ACMN zoom meeting. The topic this month was Encouragement in Mentoring. I have drawn together a few themes from the input shared last night and reflected on it below.
After four training sessions on Zoom last year, it was great to be face to face with members of the Transform Southern Sydney mentoring group today. The training is continuing into year two with an emphasis on mentoring leaders for their growth and development. The first year explored the skills and dynamics of mentoring.
Notes from the workshop have been added to our dropbox.
1. Effective mentoring is built on the credibility of the mentor and the confidence of the mentee in the value of the relationship.
While it is true that not all effective practitioners or leaders make good mentors, it is also true that a mentor must have some significant life experience in the area in which they mentor. If a mentor is working with leaders, there must be considerable reflective experience of leadership upon which a mentor draws. If mentoring is more in the area of spiritual formation, the mentor needs to have walked a journey with God. Mentoring is somewhat different to counselling in this regard. No one expects a counsellor to have personally faced all the psychological issues with which they work. With a mentor, there is an expectation that enough life experience has been acquired, integrated and reflected upon to give the mentor credibility to adapt this to build into the lives of others. A mentee needs to develop the confidence out of life sharing that they will grow through the relationship.
Every pastor needs a mentor. No matter what stage you are in your ministry, you need someone to coach you.
All sorts of organizations use the mentoring process to make people better at what they do. In medicine, doctors mentor younger doctors. In music, musicians mentor other musicians. Why? It works. We learn best when we have people who can speak into our lives and ministry. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Get all the advice you can and be wise the rest of your life.”
I will always need a coach – no matter how old I get or how successful I become. Lebron James is one of the best basketball players on the planet. He still needs a coach. You will never get to a point in your life when you can say, “I’ve learned it all. I don’t need anybody else to help me.”
One of the exercises we ask our in-training mentors to complete is a reflection on who has built into their lives. It is well worthwhile taking some time to think through who your mentors have been, what it is that they imparted to you, and how they did it.
Mentoring is not always intentional, neither is it always personal. Some mentors are writers, theologians, musicians and poets who have no idea of what they have contributed to the lives of others. Some have been gone for some time. One of the most influential men in my life is George Macdonald. I have learnt much from his fiction, poetry and sermons. While this is mentoring of sorts, it really doesn’t quite fit the concepts I sit most comfortably with. These include a level of relationship and intentional input toward growth.