At the 2019 Leadership Kick Off Terry introduced leaders to the roadmap for training and for group life at River. After introducing the road map, he spent the evening talking about one of a leader’s essential responsibilities – Mentoring.
The notes from his talk are below.
Voice Mail from Coach Jefferies:
-Background: Saw him in June, sent letter telling him he had impacted my life.
-Hall of fame (Boone, Dungy)
*Slide: with file
“What did I leave the game of football? Your letter is it.”
Coach Jefferies laminated my letter because it indicates to him what matters most to him at this point in his life.
I’ve heard that Russ’s college coach, coach Synder; has the very same perspective.
Most people come to this perspective at some point in their lives….either with a sense of regret or one of rejoicing and gratitude.
-I want you to live in a way that leads to rejoicing and gratitude…as you see what God has wrought from your life.
*This week a dealt with family situation where they stand at a crossroad…dramatic one
-Christy asked me how I feel about it last night
-“I feel like I am looking into their future and see paths that barely diverge now but 10 years from now are miles apart…one happiness, satisfaction…the other loss”
We stand continually on diverging paths…that almost imperceptible diverge today but over the years are far, far apart.
Next year: Proverbs…the wise and foolish path…one leads increasingly into God’s abundance, the other away from it.
A truism is a statement that is so evident and factual, that questioning its validity is considered foolish. A truism does not need to be supported by any other evidence…self evident.
I believe this is a Truism…“What matters most at the end matters most now.”
-Relationships will matter most at the end, they matter most now.
But there is an additional component of that statement that is not as obvious but it is as true.
Our lives’ impact on others will satisfy us most then, it should motivate us most now.
I’ve heard it so many times…from people at the end of their lives…”Did my life matter?”
-Always means…”Did I impact people in lasting ways?”
Coach Jefferies is a hall of fame coach…but his trophies and awards don’t answer the question his 85 heart is asking…”Did I make a difference in the lives of people?”
This is how God has wired us.
2Cor. 3:2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
Your ministry as a group leader is writing Christ on the hearts of people.
Hard to see week by week…I understand…leading people rarely, if ever feels epic…yet it is.
Paul would agree that it rarely felt epic…as he dealt with all the many people problems in his ministry…Judaizers in Galatia, dead beats in Thessalonica
And the many personal problems he had…health issues, prison time
But he kept this vision in front on himself and others…he was writing Christ on the hearts of people.
Tonight we are focused on the joy, the privilege, the opportunity of mentoring through the venue of our group leadership.
***Look at map of where we are in the larger landscape
I. River Small Group Leader Vision:
Leading God’s People Towards God’s Purposes
II. River Small Group Leader Lifestyle
- Communicates Biblical Beliefs
- Celebrates Biblical Values
- Demonstrates Biblical Behavior
III. River Small Group Leader Responsibilities
- Pay Attention to What God is doing in their lives
- Privilege and Responsibility
- Time Will Tell
- Faithful in Little Before Much
- Walk with Jesus, Walk with Others
- Heart Attitudes
- Privilege and Responsibility
- Make intentional investments in their lives
- Simple, Sustainable, Transferable
- Beliefs, Values, Behaviors
- Pay Attention to What God is doing in their lives
- Great Commission
- Member Care
- Great Commandment
Tonight: Mentoring: overview and vision
*This is going to be mostly “sit and get”…not the best way to train….but please see this as part one of a two part training on mentoring.
At the October LC we will work with this topic personally, in groups and together…it will be more interactive.
*Some here are experts, seasoned mentors
-Some are just getting started…some in between
*We call this group (you) “Leadership Community”…as a “sub-community” (not sub-committee) we are the ones charged with leading the larger community called River.
Inside this “Leadership Community”…see should one another as teammates, mutual encouragers and mentoring resources…we are in the trenches together.
*My primary role as pastor of River (as well as the other ministry staff) is to Train, Organize, Equip…and release you for ministry…I do ministry alongside you…but my job is not to do the ministry.
*I, we are paid to equip you to do ministry…train, organize and equip you…that is where life is.
We are called together to lead the people God has placed in our ministries towards his purposes for their lives.
Here’s how I want to proceed:
- I want to ask and answer questions. (that I’ve heard are often asked)
- Then tell you some things on my heart and mind
- Then go eat ice cream together
- What do you mean by mentoring?
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”
2 Timothy 2:2
Spiritual mentoring at it’s core is walking consistently with Jesus and walking with others so they will more consistently walk with Jesus.
Mentoring as a group leader is a bit more specific: It is that…plus
*”Walking with others with the aim that they become leaders who walk with others.”
-not addition, but leader multiplication.
Basic mentoring is: Helping people learn to lead themselves (self-control, discipline, walk with Jesus)
Leader mentoring: Helping people learn to lead others who will then lead others
**This is not the same as Member Care or even Mission
Member Care: Helping people through difficult or challenging times.
-Illness, life change, etc.
Mission: Is reaching people with the gospel.
Member care I would define as this: Helping people survive today, so they can thrive tomorrow
Mentoring in the context of leadership development…is communicating, demonstrating, and celebrating a life-long, balanced life where investment in others becomes a normal pattern of life.
***I want you to see yourself as a skilled or potentially skilled mentor of people…that this becomes like eating, sleeping…wherever God places you…you look for what he is doing in the lives of others and you jump in there.
Spoke with a good friend last week about making physical exercise a fixed part of his life.
-We talked about what were the mental, and logistical barriers to this happening.
-The starting point was and always is…Vision…can you see this a valuable and viable in your life.
-Vision (I can and want to go this way)
-Intention (I will take steps)
-Means (the actual steps)
*I believe God wants us to have a vision for our lives that includes mentoring others becoming a life-long reality…we breath, eat, sleep…invest in others.
Mentoring is at the center of all the leader does because ultimately we are praying and working toward the multiplication of other leaders through our ministry.
Leading the actual Bible study is the urgent thing we do (people will be here at 7:00)…but it is not the strategic part of your leadership…mentoring is.
Truth be told…I would rather you delegate leading meetings than delegate mentoring members
Mentoring is right column work.
Although we can’t directly control whether or not others become leaders through our ministry we can control our own efforts to be found faithful as mentors towards that end.
**Church planting at River**…I can’t predict the future, I must prepare for it.
Mentoring as a group leader is primarily investing in your LA or emerging LA in order to reproduce leaders for the church.
*Trace’s vision for challenge is: produce Laborers for the harvest and leaders for the church.
-I like that.
*Your mentoring is producing leaders for the church (Big C and little c)
Leader vision: Leading God’s people towards God’s purposes: overall vision
Mentoring vision: Investing in others who will lead God’s people towards God’s purposes.
- Who am I to mentor anyone?
Great question…the right question.
See if you can tell me who said…he was quoting what others were saying about him…
“…in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”
He also said this…
1Cor. 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
So how was he able to be such an effective spiritual mentor?
2Cor. 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
*There needs to be direction towards Jesus in our lives if we are to effectively lead others, but there need not (will not) be perfection toward Jesus.
*People need clear direction…God has given it…we don’t have to have all the answers.
-Clarity of direction…yes
-Perfection of information…no
***Our personal weakness is not the problem, it is God’s opportunity.
Mentoring is not about being an expert it is mostly about “walking with Jesus and walking with others.”
This means you must pay careful attention to your own walk with Jesus. Then you will have something to give others as you walk with them.
“That’s the problem Terry, I’m inconsistent…or a failure…or ?”
The first and most important part of mentoring others is to “be” what you want to “see” in others.
Do you hope to see perfection in their walk, or direction? I hope direction in this life.
Communicate, demonstrate, celebrate…that direction.
Please see your leadership as gift from God to help mobilize you to relationship with him….use your need to set to pace for others as your incentive to walk more closely with Jesus…this is a gift not curse.
Instead of “Who am I to say I can set a pace.”
Say “God help me, set the pace you have put before me.”
It feels like a burden…and it is…but it a burden that leads further into joy.
Your imperfection is God’s opportunity to reveal himself.
2Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
- I don’t know “Who” should be my LA (or who else might be emerging)
Paying attention: what do you see God doing?…look for direction not perfection.
Being intentional: How does God want you to help…see potentional become actual.
Tension: Look at the actual…but look for the potential.
*Potential by itself isn’t enough…you can’t eat a “potential potato only an actual one”
*Actual by itself isn’t the whole story either…the tiny plant above ground means food might be forming underground…so nurture the plant.
Calls from many people wanting me to send them leaders. One was a church with over 20K people on Sundays (we had about 300 at the time)
*We (every church) are responsible for raising up leaders for the church.
-We must see the potential…collaborate with God to make that potential…actual.
The full handout has more detail you can read as you think about some specific ways to pay attention and be intentional.
**Give your best time and attention to your LA and potential LA.
Meetings, Mission, Member care are important…Mentoring (in the larger picture) is essential!
- I don’t know how! (I haven’t been mentored)
You have been, many times in many ways (formal, informal, intentional, unintentional)
There is no secret code to be broken…it’s fairly simple…most show up, keep showing up.
*Mentoring in schools: 45 minutes a week, full grade improvement.
If you want mentoring…we can help with that!
When you say “I don’t know how”
*This could mean several different things…information, motivation, application question.
- Information issue? Don’t think I have the content, facts, knowledge that I need…not confident in my competency.
Randy Boyts: Leading Seminary students.
“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Tim. 1:5
Do what you know…demonstrate that in front of people.
*General Gardner: Speaking to National police chaplains…commander’s perspective
-Don’t think I’m qualified.
“I don’t know what to say?” “I don’t have anything to add?”
“Did you struggle as a commander? What did it look like? What might have helped?
*Tell them that…I have heard it was a great success.
- Motivation issue? How can I make this priority? Don’t have time, energy for this?
-In terms of time…Christy Bleich and Lindsey (work out)…do what you are doing with others.
-Neil and Adam…work on Neil’s house together, watch kids together
-Priority? Perspective issue. Would you consider the possibility that God wants you…such as you are, in the life setting you are in…to raise up leaders for his church?
-Would you ask him for his vision, his heart, his perspective…and for him to give fruit?
- Application issue? Not information but application…skill.
“I think I’m bad at this.”
-People aren’t encouraged by me, or helped by me…I haven’t reproduced any leaders.
*Maybe you can get some help: Perhaps you talk too much, too little…or it’s just fine.
*Keep sowing…be faithful…that is your responsibility…God gives fruit…we give effort.
*Skill comes through practice…you aren’t going to “mess” anyone up.
If you mess up…fess up and move on
Some of my most profound mentoring moments have been my mentors confessing their mistakes or me confessing mine to those I was helping.
Failing in mentoring occurs when we fail to mentor…not when we fail as mentors.
More in the handout about keep your mentoring: Simple, Sustainable, Transferrable
MISTAKE: A young man came to faith while I was in seminary
-I gave him a stack of books(seminary)…he avoided me from then on
*Keep it simple…1 Tim.1:5
There are models for discipleship and mentoring that are pretty complex, labor intensive and require higher levels of skill and training.
I have become more of a minimalist in terms of what is most important in mentoring…the difference maker…walk with Jesus, learn to say “yes” to him.
Jesus summed up the Bible (Moses had 613 laws)…love God, love people…that is pretty minimalistic.
I’m also a pragmatist at heart…I really want to do what actually works.
To know what works…I have to start with what I want to see happen.
What are we after in our groups, in our mentoring?
1 Cor. 4:2…faithful followers of Jesus…single story
1 Tim. 1:5″The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” …we want to see love.
Sustainable (can be kept up through all or most of life’s situations)
Transferrable (doesn’t take certain background, personality or training)
-Anyone can do this.
**My Dad and the brain surgeon next door**
Walk with Jesus…mess up/fess up/move on…walk with people.
- My group wants to go deeper
You can’t go deeper…it’s not possible to go deeper than growing in love for God and others.
You can learn more stuff about God and the Bible…but you can’t go deeper than love.
1 Tim 1:5…the goal of Biblical instruction is love
Deeper… is sometimes code for
- I’m bored…spiritual and emotionally and intellectually…I want group to make me not bored (it can’t)
- I’m struggling and the answer is “go deeper”…no idea what that means
-I think it means…”go deeper”
-Looking for external solutions to internal problems…you can’t help them with that.
- More information will fix what ails me…it won’t.
*Stay on track…keep it simple…don’t be sidetracked by “I want to go deeper.”
Anyone who actually wants to go deeper…is already doing so…you can see it and come alongside them.
- Give them books to read (send em to me…I’ll keep em busy)
- Are they called to seminary? There are people who are?
- Test them (not trick them)
-Give them an assignment that will involve serving others(not gathering content)…you will know if they are serious about this…or if they understand what it means.
*”The goal of this instruction is love…”
*This is a single reason for learning more theology: love (God and people)
*Deeper is always “faith expressed in love”
We study what to believe in order that we might become.
*So…knowing theology is important…the facts of faith are crucial.
-However the devil knows theology better than any theologian but it has not impacted his values.
-Darwin studied theology, Stalin as well.
-Joshua Harris: apostasy is a mystery, and I won’t presume to know all that happened but he had no lack of information/theology.
Information must impact what we value (love) and then what we do.
*So we press constantly into application:
“The Bible says…what does that mean…what do we do?”
What about when one person in my group needs specialized attention?
*Give it to them…one to one…or ask someone to do it.
*Chris Synder: I’ve taken him through 1.5 books individually the whole group didn’t need.
General Thoughts on Mentoring:
-Don’t try to hit home runs with people…die to saying something earth shaking, life changing
-Get a base hit
-Don’t feel the need to have answers…
-Do listen and speak up if you should (don’t shrink back from challenge)
-Don’t worry about your lack of perfection
-Do see this as your opportunity to join God, point people to him.
-Don’t measure too soon (you don’t know what is really going on in that person)
-You might quit sowing because you can’t see any fruit…but it was right beneath the surface.
-Don’t try to fix them, or compel them to change…
-Do act in line with your own personality, life situation and the relational chemistry…awkward is okay and will most often go away in time.
-Do be “regular”…can be irregular regular (plan this time next time)
Lean into the winds that blows in your life:
-Do you need to listen more (lean back)
-Do you need to speak more (lean forward)
Be personal, but don’t make it about you.
You may be in Lateral mentoring relationship…your LA may be a peer…give and take mentoring relationship…great.
Get a vision for mentoring…raising up leaders for the church…this is very exciting stuff.
–You can have Impact that reaches to the ends of the earth to the ends of time-
Kevin is a local (and beyond) mentoring legend:
But its not about his brilliance(though he is very smart)…his “grit”
I love the John Wayne movie and the remake…”True Grit”
I love it for several reasons…not the least of which is that it is such a great title.
Listen to what Rebecca Mclaughlin in her great book “Confronting Christianity” wrote…
Unglamorous as they are, perseverance and self-control appear to be the key predictors of flourishing across a range of indexes. Psychologist Angela Duckworth suggests that the quality of “grit” which she defines as “passion and perseverance for very long-term goals,’ can be more predictive of a person’s success than social intelligence, good looks, health, or IQ.”
Mentoring is mostly about spiritual “grit”…keep showing up…with Jesus and with others.
We see Paul’s mentoring grit in many places…not the least of which is…
Gal. 4:19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,
Mentors prayer: “God, I’m not much…but I’m all yours…so let’s go…for your glory and for their good…help me not make life about me.”
*When you live with this sanctified grit…you experience increasing joy.
You are making an eternal, global impact…you are writing Christ on human hearts.
SOME THINGS ON MY HEART AND MIND:
- Building program
-130,000 has been given towards the building project
-We have 300K in savings we can use for the building: 430,000 total to date
-Both phases cost 1.5 million
-We can do phase 1 for 1 million (need 530 more by next summer to begin)
- What’s up with me?
- Praying for and have seen some fruit in evangelism…it has been very encouraging.
-The Spirit of God works…mysterious to me…but our role is faithfulness.
- Finishing first year as state chaplain in October (so far hasn’t been too challenging)
-Have been asked to stay around for a while longer.
-Preparing not predicting the future…I’m thinking 3 years from January (64)
-What do I do?
- Met several times with church relations guy from Midwestern…talking about training opportunities in connection with some discussions with Brad at FOCUS
- YH what is God going to do there.
- Next year:
-Following year Paul’s shorter letters
-Proverbs: Pillars of resiliency: whole life balance
–Take a hand out with you tonight.
Sub-topic: Study guides
*Have a sense that God wants us to lean in on Proverbs/wisdom next year…I have been studying Proverbs this summer and it has already been impactful for me.
-Devotionals will be designed to read through the book 12 times in the year.
*I try look at church life through the lens of a decade not a semester or a year.
So we have gone through books, OT, NT…larger themes, getting a handle on Scripture.
Here’s a few reasons why I’d like your groups to stick with the sermon series:
- The goal of this instruction is love (getting several different messages in
7 days doesn’t lend itself to application)
- If we focus on felt needs (ours or groups or individuals)…we can fail, over time, to be fully developed…we miss the whole counsel of God.
*Force ourselves to study more broadly…not just what we like, or scratch what itches.
- There is something powerful about moving through life together as a church body
*Want to go deeper…I can give you books, commentaries I use. You can add to the study guide and zero on the Verse.
*Put up a map from the first three months…show them where this week fits in.
- Suicide intervention: Phone app