Yesterday in my blog, I detailed some of what I was going to speak on in the mentoring class. I know I said I'd blog about the Wonder Woman class today, and I will do that tomorrow or next day on the blog, but I still had some things I thought I'd add here about the mentoring class. At least one blog reader seemed to really enjoy it so I thought, 'okay, let me share more of that...' So here we go.
I am just going to paraphrase some of my thoughts here that I shared...particularly on qualifying for mentorship.
I truly believe mentorship for women is not preparing one for a "role" such as what they will do at various seasons of their life, but rather giving them intense discipleship - and spiritual formation. I have personally experienced some women, for instance, who are good mothers, or who do well in their career, but they are immature Christians. Have you ever been shocked as to how some women who have been in the church for many years still have the same exact problems 5 or 10 years later? They may be successful in some areas of their lives, but the deep spiritual maturity is just not there.
Too often we have prepared people for a role rather than a relationship - an intimate one with Christ. The truth is, a woman will never be the daughter, friend, wife, mother or worker she is destined to be without proper spiritual formation. Sometimes people think if you just prepare women to be wives and Moms, you've done your job as a spiritual leader. Although I think being a good wife and Mom is important, I do know quite a few good wives and mothers who are really lousy Christians and have little depth to them spiritually. So spiritual formation was what I focused on today in teaching people how to develop a mentorship program for women in their church. By spiritual formation I am referring to teaching them to become rock solid in their faith (in the fundamentals of what we believe), in the fruit of the spirit, the gifts of the spirit, teaching leadership principles, and more than anything a strong life in the Word and prayer.) Right now I have groups - our young women's mentoring group (ages 18-29) and also the next level life coaching group that I teach. In both groups, I prepare a teaching, do a q & a session at our meetings. Next level life coaching also has the following requirements.
1) Attend both Sunday and Wednesday church faithfully each week.
2) Attend Sunday School (Christian Education) faithfully each week.
3) Start out by praying at least 10 minutes a day & increase as we continue to progress.
4) Journal daily at least one paragraph on a private on line journal.
5) Do one chapter in the the book and workbook – “Secrets of the Secret Place” by Bob Sorge; Once homework is completed for the week, e-mail it to all class members, for accountability.
As a side note, anyone who wants to be part of any type of mentoring in our church or small group leadership within the women's ministries goes through mentorship/life coaching. I believe this helps us stay on the same page, carrying the same vision. Knowing these women have been personally trained under my leadership makes me very comfortable in releasing them to lead others and stay true to the vision of the house.
Another very important aspsect of the mentoring group, after our debriefing from the previous month, my teaching, and the q & a, is prayer. I believe we need to teach women to pray, particularly as Pentecostals. We learn by doing, and by being in others presence who know how to pray. Believe it or not I have even had staff members/spouses in the past who did not know how to pray. It's unbelievable that we have people turning out like this in MINISTRY today but we do. Even things like this that are considered "basic" need to be taught, and by example. People also need to be taught how to flow in the gifts of the spirit. This is learned well in a small group setting - the comfort level is greater and when there is a leader/teacher who can lead the class in hands on learning about spiritual gifts, it's much better. This gives them a "safe place to operate"with a teacher who can provide spiritual discernment and guidance and lead them in walking more in the fullness of God.
During our prayer time, I lead in prayer and ask that the ladies stay engaged (no wandering off, kneeling down in the corner, etc.) stay focused as a group, and pray out loud. I lead them in praying out loud, and in their prayer language.
Also very important to me is "being there" to help and guide them as needed if they need to talk to me occasionally about various decisions and things in their lives. So, this is how the Lord has led me to lead our group. I believe God gives each leader a "key" for their group. No two churches or women's groups are alike and God has to show us the plan for our unique place in His Kingdom. Back to qualifying for mentorship...
It is said, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." Some people are simply not ready for mentorship. In all honesty, I have had staff members or spouses in times past who might have been considered further along in the faith as far as how old they were or the number of years in the ministry, yet they did not qualify for mentorship, while I had 18 year olds in the church who did!!! It's the condition of the heart that matters. Some people are so full of themselves, there is no room for the Holy Ghost to do anything else. I can remember taking a staff member's wife aside and speaking into her life on something, only to have her look back at me and say, "...this is the way I do things..." with complete and utter disregard for what I has just said. In the same way, the same type of individuals will later accuse you of "not investing in them" or "not mentoring them" however the fact is, they have to qualify.
What qualifies you? Respect qualifies you. One time in our ministry I had a woman who came to me and said, "I want to learn from you...please help me." I said, "meet me at my office this Thursday at 11:00 am. She sauntered in at 12:30 mumbling something about running late, not getting a shower in time, blah blah blah. I let that happen one more time before I said, "if someone doesn't respect my time, they don't respect my wisdom either..." The truth of the matter is, she did not want to be mentored - she wanted a pal or someone to just encourage.
A mentor is not a friend, pal or buddy. We all could probably have no shortage of friends or buddies, but a mentor or coach is someone who helps you get to the next level. They don't tell you what you want to hear, they tell you what you NEED to hear.
Just because someone is in authority over you does not mean you will be mentored by them. You must qualify for it. There are those who sit in my church every week who "attend" my church yet I am not mentoring them nor am I really pastoring them. Why? It's their choice. I may happen to be "the pastor of their church" yet I am not pastoring them. How so? Some people resist coaching, mentoring or pastoring. They attend, yet they will not receive from you because they are not pliable. Some are stiff necked, others just indifferent. At any rate, they are not open to receive. They are physically on location but mentally and emotionally checked out. As a leader and mentor, you have to move on from concerning yourself with those who choose that and concentrate on the "spiritual sponges" that God has given you. I'm convinced a big part of leadership is taking our "eagles" and soaring with them and not worrying about whoever may not be on board.
A wise mentor does not continue to invest themselves where there is no fruit. If someone is not receiving from me, to continue to pour out to them is sort of what the Bible indicates as "casting my pearls before swine." Mentorship is costly. It is valuable. We cannot treat everyone the same. With those who respect our investment into their lives, the continued investment is worth it and most mentors will continue to pour as long as the mentee will receive.
Just a word to you pastors/pastor's wives out there... I used to think that if someone was on my staff or in my church I was charged with mentoring them whether they responded or not. I know some pastors or pastor's wives that feel even if it's not received, you just gently keep trying. Well, that caused me a considerable amount of grief for I invested even when there was no return and in some cases worse than no return. Finally my mentor told me, "STOP DOING THAT! Just because they are your staff or members does not mean you must do that. Don't invest in people who show by their actions that they don't value your investment. And do not treat everyone the same. Reward and honor those who show respect for your investment and don't be afraid to stand up for the fact that you're doing that."
I began to take that advice and started investing in those who were good soil. And therefore, found joy in mentoring again. Honestly there are those in the church or on the staff over the years that I will do much more for because I know how much they appreciate and value my investment into their lives and take heed to what I say and give it respect. Jesus didn't treat everyone the same and neither should we.
One thing we must realize is that the person being mentored has more effect on how much is received than the mentor.
In the parable of the sower, the same sower sowed the same seed on the four different types of ground. In other words, the same teacher, or preacher, with the same techniques, presented the same message. The condition of the ground made the difference in the results.
I have heard people praise their pastor and say,“I have grown so much through their ministry…they have helped me so much. I’m a changed person. Everything I learned, I know from them.” And then you’ll hear another church member talk about the very same pastor and make them out to be a demon! You wonder, how can a pastor be considered a demon and an angel all in the same day by members sitting in the same church? The answer is that the pastor has not changed in his/her approach to the way they bring the word, teaching or instruction -- but the person on the receiving end is different. Some will receive, some will not. It all depends on what kind of soil we are dealing with. We must sow into fertile soil!
A person who comes with an attitude that they already know as much as the mentor cannot be taught. Proverbs 27:7 "He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet." The hungry soul is the one who will be filled.
Everybody will see this truth, but the question is, how soon? Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (I told my class today, "those are the Bible's words, not mine. Don't be mad at me for calling somebody stupid!! ha ha!)
In summary of today's teaching, I suggest whatever plan God gives you to implement in your ministry concerning mentoring whether personal one on one mentoring or through a church ministry/program that you start that the first thing you share with those you are going to mentor is the concept of QUALIFYING for mentorship. Because until they qualify, whatever “plan” you have – even a God given plan – will not work if their hearts are not in the right place.
The women at the conference today seemed to eat this up like candy...hope you did too! Pray for me, I'll teach two more classes like this tomorrow and I'm believing the teaching will fall on fertile soil, for His glory.