Being A Mentor
Theme: Being as it defines Personhood
Time: Mentor Training Seminar August 25, 2004 MCS
Question: What makes a mentor?
Objective: The person of the mentor
is formed by engaging in authenticity with God and
1. Personal Authenticity
Being honest about who we are is of great importance personally. Knowing who we are is one of the key
factors that makes a mentor who he/she is. One of the things leaders struggle with the most is being honest about who they are.
Quote from book – Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, from the Arbinger Institute – studies
self-deception in organizations, individuals and families:
"How can people simultaneously (1) create their own problems, (2) be unable to see that they are
creating their own problems, and yet (3) resist any attempts to help them stop creating those problems?” – this phenomenon
is at the heart of much organizational failure. It is the reason many organizational problems seem so intractable – at
their core they are self-deceptions….” SLIDE
"Ever notice that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, but anyone going faster is a maniac?” George Carlin
Filling out a TAIS personality inventory when I interviewed with Master’s – something glaring stood out
to me in the results – it said that in certain situations I could come across as being an obnoxious jerk! – well
it said it in a professional way but when it sunk through my skull it was pretty clear. I realized that I had not
seen it so clearly as when I read the report.
It’s true – I had to admit to myself
that at times I can come across as a real jerk. Surrendering to this reality and then dealing with it took two steps:
- Acknowledge the reality [so
I talked to my wife – yes
indeed – sometimes I can come across
as an arrogant jerk]
- Realize that people close to me did
not reject me off hand because of it.
- Its my problem and I need to deal
with it [humble surrender to God]
Acknowledging this issue personally caused me to take a long hard look at my relationships in past experiences
and to determine how my lack of sensitivity to others affected them. It has caused me to continue to
change how I deal with people and I how I especially react to various situations. Being open to listen to others, especially
in confrontations with others, has certainly brought about a greater degree of openness in those relationships.
2. Prime Example of Authentic Relationship
a. God – the Holy
Not the antiseptic Trinity – but Holy in terms of
pure, unadulterated, open, honest, with out malice or pretense,
fully accepting and embracing, acknowledging uniqueness
in the other as well as unity together– the
Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit.
Here is the root of all personhood – the prime example
of true “Being.” Jesus showed us how open this
relationship is – he was so
comfortable and sure of himself and
so able to
encourage and engage others
right where they were. All that because
that is who He is. Open,
honest, Authentic, true, without
malice or pretense. Ready to deal
most broken of hearts
in the most direct
and loving way.
I’m so thankful God is authentic in his relationship
with us. Most of the despair in religion is due to followers
being unsure of the character of the god they follow. And
as we look to God in Scripture we see a God who is clear
about who He is and clear about what He has set out to
do – redeem the world and rescue
b. We take our cue for “being” from
God’s desire for us is threefold:
- Be in loving relationship with Him
- Be in loving relationship with Others
The key to engaging in this successfully
"Open and honest relationships
are what make the body of Christ an
c. What makes God so successful in relationships?
He totally believes in the worth of those He
has created! There is no doubt in God’s
mind concerning how he views us.
David had a mind boggling experience
concerning this in Psalm 8:
"… what are mortals that you should think of us, mere
humans that you should care for us? For you made us only a little lower than God, and
you crowned us with glory and honour. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things” vv. 4-6a
There is an opportunity – a potential – let’s
say – of what we can “BE.” At
any moment we have the ability to be more than what we are. It is
God’s creative imprint on all of us.
The Bill Hybels Fix – Once a year, I make it a point
of listening to an address by Bill Hybels – preferably
in person if possible. After listening to Hybels, I feel
like I’m part of the most important organization
in the World. I feel like what I’m doing is the most
important job in the World. Why do I feel this way when
I come away from hearing Hybels – because he basically taps
into the worthiness of all who hear him and makes them see
how much more they are and how much more they can become!
He’s tapped into how God views you and I. In order
for you and I to tap into the same view, we need to surrender
ourselves to God’s forming and molding us.
3. Fixing Mr./Ms. Fix It
Ingrained in us is a bent on fixing every problem that comes
across our desk. We are so task oriented that we see our only
purpose as being a problem solver. But most of the time, the
issue is not the problem that is before us but the person that
so desperately wants to be acknowledged for who they are.
We get so cocky that we think we can fix our own problems
as well – here is news – we ain’t got
what it takes to fix what’s broke. Fixing is God’s
domain – its what He does best – he redeems,
renews, heals, revives – all this is what He does. We on the
other hand need to listen.
How many of you panic when someone says to you – “I
need to speak with you…?” Have you asked yourself
why you panic? More often then not its because you feelthat the person
has approached you to fix their problem. And we get sucked in!!!
a. Conditioning is something we inadvertently do
Chances are that if you have been Mr. Fix It for quite sometime, you have created a culture
in your church where problems are solved when Mr. Fix It comes to the rescue.
People expect you to fix their problems if you successfully help them do it every time they come to your door.
b. Personal Transformation
The greatest thing you can do for someone else is to effect personaltransformation in your own life. Focusing
on your own growth as an individual will help others around you.
" A mentor/coach can best impart to others what God has built into his or
her own life.
And Kingdom leadership ultimately rises or falls on character
and formation, not skills or knowledge alone. Therefore,
we will learn to
transform others through being transformed ourselves."
The person God has given you the most influence over is Yourself! And if this is the case, then that is where
you can effect the most change!
In the book Accepting the Call to Personal and Congregational Transformation
by Jim Herrington, Robert Creechand Trisha Taylor – their premise is the way to effecting change in your congregation
is to effect transformation in your life as a leader.
The three ways to personal transformation that they outline are the following:
- Personal Transformation happens best as an inside-out process of committing to obey Christ [rather than blame others, we take responsibility for our behaviour and allow God to help us change]
- Personal Transformation happens best in the context of a loving community that extends grace and truth [approaching others with grace first and then truth]
- Personal Transformation happens best when we develop a reflective lifestyle [do we push our time with God to specific snippets of each day or week or do we cultivate a quiet listening to God that accompanies us through the hours of everyday?]
Values I want to affirm for you today that focus on the person of a mentor are:
What You Do Flows Out of Who You Are
Engage in Authenticity
Expressing to others what you go through and how God helps you is powerful – it gives the other person permission to be authentic with you!
Handout FR8 “Stages of Authenticity” -
By looking at the chart, answer the following questions:
- Where are most of your relationships in the three authenticity stages described on the chart?
- In which stage is your church as a whole?
- If you’ve experienced any of the “key/boundary” events
in the chart, describe them. What triggered these
- Can you
name a relationship that you’d like to see
move to the next level on the chart? What concrete
things could you do now to move toward that goal?
Take five minutes and pair up with someone and pray for each other.