Last time, we took a look at a mentoring strategy as a simple, yet powerful, way to train your ministry team. So now let’s talk about how a good mentor gets the job done.
- THEY PAINT PICTURES
The human mind thinks in pictures. We are visual people living in a visual age. Stories, analogies and metaphors help us to retain important information. When mentors paint pictures with their words, it helps those being mentored to grasp the concepts they are being taught. Mentors paint pictures through stories, analogies, word pictures and parables. So when our ministry helpers can see it, they can more easily make it happen.
- THEY PROVIDE HANDLES
Everyone possesses some knowledge of truth. Most people, however, are determined to understand it so strongly that they can use it in everyday life. Simply put, “handles” are things we can grab on to. We give people handles when we summarize truths into a “user friendly” fashion. Truth then becomes a principle they can live by. When someone has a “handle” on something, it means they “own it” and can practice it, as well as communicate it to others. A good mentor can distill or crystallize truth so that the complex becomes simple, ‘cause if they can’t take practical steps to meet the goal, they may take no steps at all.
- THEY OFFER ROAD MAPS
Road maps are items that help give us both direction and a “big picture” view. When we give someone a “road map” we are passing on a “life compass” to him or her. That map helps us travel on roads we’ve never known. These spiritual “road maps” help people not only see the right road, but also see its relation to all other roads. They provide perspective on the whole picture. This generally happens only when we communicate intentionally, not accidentally. Maps reveal steps and more confidently guarantee that the destination will be reached.
- THEY SUPPLY LABORATORIES
When we provide “laboratories” for our mentees, we are giving them a place to practice truth we’ve discussed with them. By definition, laboratories are safe places in which to experiment. We all need a “lab” to accompany all the knowledge and teaching we receive. In these labs, we learn the right questions to ask, the appropriate exercises to practice, an understanding of the issues, and experiential knowledge of what our agenda should be in life. Good laboratories are measurable and can be evaluated together. In other words, if there is no place to experiment and learn, how will we know if we’re ready to do the job?
- THEY FURNISH ROOTS
The foundation we must help to lay in our mentee involves the construction of a “character-based life” versus and “emotion-based life.” At the end of their time together, the mentee should possess strong convictions they can live by, as well as the self-esteem to stand behind those convictions. The deeper the roots, the taller the tree can grow, and the more durable that tree is during the storm. Teach your values o your mentees. Give them stable truths to stand on and the right behaviors to prioritize.
- THEY GIVE WINGS
The final word picture that describes what a mentor provides for a mentee is “wings.” We give others wings when we enable them to think big, and expect big things from God and themselves. When people possess wings, they are free to explore and to plumb the depths of their own potential. When mentors give wings, they help mentees to soar to new heights in their lives. Consequently, it’s as important to teach those mentees how to ask the questions as much as how to obtain the answers. Giving wings doesn’t mean we turn them loose. It means we let them fly and cheer them as they do. And we maintain contact so we can continually give input to their efforts, while letting them reach for their greatest heights.