Tag Archive: mentor


Have i ever been a mentor to someone? It’s hard to say. I HAVE had a lot of regular weekly ‘coffee, breakfast and working through a chapter of the Bible or some book’ sessions with a whole bunch of different guys over the last couple of years though, in various contexts and places.

As i continue to participate in NaBloPoMo, otherwise known as National Blog Posting Month, in which the invitation or challenge is to post a blog every day, i decided to continue my answer to this prompt they so kindly prompted:

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. Are you a mentor to someone else? Tell us what that relationship has added to your life.

mentorI already looked at some aspects of being mentored over here. But what about mentoring? It sounds so official and what if I am not qualified enough?

Well, the way I see it, if you can shine a light on a step that someone else has not yet walked on, you have it in you to mentor.

I would suggest that it will generally be someone younger than you and usually someone of the same gender, but those are not fast rules.

And for me, possibly the greatest gift of mentoring someone is Time. Being intentional about building relationship with another person over time, giving them a space to speak and be really heard [a safe place where they can free to share anything without risk of judgement]. Being a cheerleader who is present for them whether times are good, bad or less than photoshopped.

I also imagine a lot of mentoring is done in secret. It is not so important that someone knows or understands that “they are being mentored” – what is important is that someone knows they are loved and important enough for you to spend time with them.

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Jesus hung out with 12 men for three years. And so i guess another term for ‘mentoring’ could be ‘discipleship’ because ultimately that is what it is. And He didn’t work through the latest book or program with them. He ate meals with them and He demonstrated His mission on earth and for a while they got to observe Him and then at some point He gave them the opportunity to step out and try it themselves. So often Jesus stepped away from the crowds that would gather around Him, simply to teach His twelve. And within that there were even times where He would take Peter, James and John aside and give them special attention and opportunities.

Sometimes it can look like a cup of coffee every now and then, or perhaps, if you’re an outdoor person, an invitation to a hike or a regular run or game of squash. I personally believe it is likely to be more beneficial to meet on a more regular and set-timed basis [and I have always viewed this as a two way thing – as the older person I might have lots to share through experience or from having been taught certain things, but the other person will have the benefit often of seeing life or a passage through younger and fresher eyes and so may see things i have never thought of and so as i pour into them, i am always gaining something back, although that is never the point].

 So at the moment I have coffee or breakfast every Friday morning with two younger guys and we are working through the book of Ephesians a chapter at a time. When I was in Stellenbosch it was morning coffee or breakfast [spotting a trend? caffeine and food!] with a number of different guys over the six years i was there, sometimes one at a time but often two together. Back in East Claremont days, three of us used to meet once or twice a week in the earlyish morning for prayer [when we would all wake up].

We worked through a chapter of an inspiring book or the bible every week and then would come together and share something that had ‘jumped out at us’ or that we had found particularly meaningful, or brought a question about something we didn’t understand. There was also time to check in in terms of how the week had been, or current temptations we were struggling with or help with decisions that had to be made.

And at the end it really looks like friendship. 

The question i have for you is, who are you mentoring or discipling? And what does it look like? Would love to hear some stories in the comments…

 

 

 

i am participating in NaBloPoMo which is known as National Blog Posting Month in which the invitation or challenge is to post a blog every day [except on day 2 of the month when you are camping in a place with no internet signal even for your cute little hotspot device!] and for this one i decided to take up one of the prompts they provided:

Do you have a mentor? Tell us about him or her. Are you a mentor to someone else? Tell us what that relationship has added to your life.

mentori wouldn’t say i have a mentor. in fact the only story i tell of having a mentor is one i had for literally five minutes. a great pastory guy by the name of Craig Duvel who i have grown to respect in leaps and bounds over the years but who always lived in a province far away from mine [and since he moved to my province, i moved country so that didn’t help a lot]. i remember sitting with him at a camp and i think it was related to my struggles with pornography/masturbation at the time but his advice was, ‘Keep a Short Account with God’ and i have used that and shared that many times since then. He told a story of how one morning at 3am he was woken up and remembered some unconfessed sin in his life and how he went to the lounge and fell facedown before God and made it right with God… the idea being that you start a new day with a fresh slate not being burdened or judged by your brokenness or any recent mess you may have been the cause of. And it works. When we allow sin to build up, it is like building a tab at a bar – it gets to the point where it is more natural to say, “Stick it on my tab” than it is to really be grieved by it or want to deal with it. So any time you become aware of sin in your life, or anything breaking intimate relationship with Him then right there and then, or as soon as possible, deal with it, make right and if you need to make right with people too, then do it as soon as you can.

so only 5 minutes of mentoring, but it was completely helpful.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE MENTORS GONE?

for me it has usually been a story of either not recognising any older men in the contexts i am in who i respect in the sense that i would want them mentoring me, or that those people who i have seen with those things  just seeming so incredibly busy with so much other stuff that they would not be suitable candidates. i definitely had a mentor in my earliest youth leading role in terms of helping me lead and grow in confidence and maturity in a lot of leadership related areas, but i think to some extent we had a difference of vision and ethos and so it didn’t feel like the kind of mentoring i imagine, but i am completely grateful for his presence in my life back then and owe a lot to him.

but in the absence physical mentors in terms of men who are older than me pouring into my life it has become a combination of literary mentors [so the influence of passionate men of God like Keith Green and John Wimber and others who spoke into my life through the pages of books], peer mentors [so being co-mentored by good friends of a more similar age or even younger like Sean Du Toit, Bruce Collins, Rob Lloyd, Andy Pitt and i could go on] and also through men like Paul and Peter, David and Moses, and of course Jesus Christ. none of these were formal mentoring relationships, but through watching and listening and late night conversations and hearing stories of and from, these people spoke [and continue to speak] loudly into my life.

‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.’ [Proverbs 27.6]

i have absolutely loved this verse and i stand by it. if you do not have people in your life who have the invitation to speak honestly [and cause something that feels like a wound cos who likes rebuke ever?] then you are doing yourself an absolute disservice. Rob Lloyd has been one of those voices in my life [his description of me as reminding him of Paul – “passionate yet tactless” – is one that stands strong in my memory] and i have so much love and appreciation towards him for that and taking a quick look over myself, all of those bruises have healed in such a way that i can’t even remember where they were [but the lessons have stuck!]

so be mentored! it is so important – any fool who thinks they can walk this life well by themselves is one. and a good way to start is by asking – is there a man/woman you deeply respect or feel you can learn something from? Ask them if they will have coffee with you once a week, once a month. [hint: pay for it! This is completely something worth investing in – for the price of a regular cup of coffee or breakfast you can have your life revolutionised? seems about right] The worst they can do is say no. [Well, i guess the worst they can do is whip out a swordfish and carve their initials in your face but if that happens it is an indication that they were possibly not the right person to be mentoring you?]

and if you can’t find someone to ask then do what i did in terms of finding mentors and role models elsewhere. be careful not to pedestalise them – the closer you get to those ‘perfect’ people who are so close to God and so good at life, the more flawed you will see them to be, so stay grounded in admiring the Jesus in them and learning from that.

try and be mentored by a diverse crowd. if you are a white male [as i am] and only invite white males to mentor you [through the books you read, music you listen to, preaches you hear] then you are missing out on a whole lot of good life lessoning. invite someone from a different race or culture than your own. from a different gender. from a very different generation. and start with stories – listen to their life, hear lessons they have learned, obstacles they have overcome, failures they have endured and successes they have witnessed and been a part of.

it may not look like you want it to look. but if you are not being mentored it is largely your own fault. do something about it.

and perhaps a great way to start is to find someone who you can mentor, meet with regularly, intentionally pour into… but more of that in my next post…

[And if you have a moment to comment, I would LOVE to hear some stories of people who have mentored you in a way you found helpful]

[To continue to the next part on being a MENTOR, click here]

so yes, i thought CCDA stood for ‘Christian Community something something’ but after last nite’s session and God speaking to me after last nite’s section and just the general worship vibes here and then this morning’s session, i have to conclude that at least one of the C’s has to stand for ‘cry’ – i have been on the edge of emotion for these last powerful 24 hours and wish all of you could have been at this last session with me cos words are going to horribly fail to convey much of what happened.

Lisa introduced the session by mentioning a book she had recently read called ‘Everybody poops’ which sums up so much and which i’ve been saying for years [your poo is the same colour as mine, whichever power-hungry attention-seeking celebrity you are] and was a great way to level the playing field.

today’s focus was young leaders and specifically emerging marginalised leaders so we had mentors and young people on stage as a panel and they shared testimonies and were asked some questions. and after last nite’s proclamation that i pretty much mostly only stand up for Jesus, i was the first one on my feet after Daniel who has cerebral palsy finished his speech… yes, speech, a guy who battles to speak coherently introduced by a beautiful spirited african american woman who began by telling us to “Stop what you’re doing and listen!” – put your pens down and your cellphones away and just concentrate and you will begin to understand what Daniel, who struggles to speak in a way we can clearly understand, is going to share with us.

and it was so completely powerful, and i definitely needed the introduction that called me to listen and validated his voice as someone speaking for the physically challenged [i am so over PC’ness and can never remember which term or label is okay so sorry to whoever i may have offended if i did but get your head out your ass and can we just see people already – enough with the labels! and the constant microscopic dismembering of them. rant over.] but i stopped and listen and heard [a lot, not all, but a lot] of what he had to share and to hear Daniel talk about his ministry and his mission and his gifting and how he takes opportunities – flip it just blew me away [i later wrote in my notes ‘i want to be a person who really listens to people’ – i think i am a fairly decent listener of people but i don’t know that i would have ever recognised that Daniel even had a valid voice – largely cos of my fear of what if i don’t understand, what if this becomes awkward or embarrassing? you know what? so what? work through the awkward and embarrassing together]

so yes, i stood up and applauded loudly and was deeply moved by him, and the lady that so lovingly introduced him and helped validate or give foundation or invitation to his voice… 

and then they followed it up with this young woman [well young to mid thirties maybe] whose name i missed who started by saying a picture often speaks 1000 words and showed five pictures of herself looking pretty hectic which i only realised later were her five conviction police line-up pictures. She had gone to jail five times for stealing and had done a bunch of drugs “I spent 20 years with a needle in my arm” and was just a complete mess, until someone took a chance on her and made her head of Restorative Justice in some organisation and when she said she had no clue how to do it, her mentor responded with ‘learn. google it. read. figure it out.’

she is now the director of Restorative Justice and two semesters away from getting her degree and about to be married in January – a whole bunch of stuff she thought she would never be able to do because of who she was and what she’d done and the addictions she had been involved with and in.

she shared how at one point she used to live on the second floor of a building opposite a church and on Sundays she would sit on the balcony with a beer and look at all the pretty people going off to church and she wanted to cross the street and go with them: “I didn’t know how to cross that street. I just wanted to get across that street!”

she reminded us that “you’re dealing with a lot of young people who don’t really believe in themselves” [echoing the Unconditional Love we were reminded about last nite]

she told us that when she met her fiance who was brought up in a Christian home and had a faith background he didn’t want to know about her past in terms of letting it define who she was but was more interested in who she was now and who she was going to be.

She finished off by telling us that if we see someone in the street we should extend the hand and offer to try to lift them up. It might be hard for them. It might be hard for you. But just do it. Cos that’s what we’re about, right? Being our brother’s keeper? 

i finished the session by writing this in my notes: I want to stop being afraid of people I can love/help because I might “do it wrong” or not be able to understand them or know how to help.

man, this account doesn’t even start to capture today at all. just imagine a really emotional and really profound experience of viewing lives that had been touched and changed by other people who took the time [and often it wasn’t easy and often the stories don’t end like these ones] and energy to build into their lives – to love them and believe in them and offer them an opportunity to live and thrive and have another chance at being a world transforming person.

every person has value. do we see it? 

[To see the start of this series of talk summaries and moments, click here]

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