Build into others
One of my favourite definitions of a leader is that a leader develops leaders. This is the most effective way of influencing others and making a significant impact for the gospel. We multiply our impact by developing others who in turn develop other leaders. It is a recurring process.
Effective organisations teach and model leadership at every level of the organisation. Leadership is not left to the people in the top positions, to the CEO or Senior Pastor. Good leaders think leadership constantly. They always are looking for the potential in people and then to discover ways to teach them and develop them.
The church is in the people development business, and a key task is to help people reach their God-given potential. Programs, events and activities are important for churches but must never be a substitute for the real work of releasing people for their growth in God. We make disciples who make disciples.
Everyone has been mentored in a variety of ways during their life. Many of their mentors are unaware of the influence they have had. People who have mentored me are my parents, my wife, teachers, sport coaches, friends, writers, etc. The authors of numerous books have no knowledge of the influence they have had on my thinking, development and ministry practice. Nevertheless, a key way to develop others is through active, intentional and purposeful mentoring.
I have been approached to intentionally mentor people but also I like to be active in choosing people to mentor. We need not be reluctant to approach people in whom we see potential. Mostly they would welcome our offer to mentor them.
Typically mentor someone in the next generation and it will be a mutual learning process in which you learn as well. Commence with a trial period. Meet a couple of times initially to see how it goes. Mentoring should not be hard work. Make sure you like the person and that you are also energised by speaking with them. After a period of a year or so take time to review how it is going and decide to continue with some intentional goals or bring the arrangement to a close.
Always prepare for a mentoring session. Don’t approach it cold. I like to contact a mentoree at least two days before we meet and I ask a few questions to help them focus. I also find space in this for them to discuss what may be a pressing issue for them.
Remember, mentoring is more about their personal development than it is with helping them resolve a problem in their church. The questions are how are they developing, what are they learning and what steps are they taking to grow in character, understanding and wisdom. Meet at least every six weeks. Also you can “meet” on the phone or Skype. Effective pastors collectively mentor their Church Council and staff. Mentoring is worthwhile – it follows the pattern of Jesus with his disciples.
Executive Chair, Leadership Development Council
Leader, 3Dnet Mission Network
Uniting Churches in South Australia
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