THE SECRET SAUCE TO CREATING A CULTURE OF MENTORING
How do we develop a culture of mentoring?
Mentoring is a life-to-life exchange that we have with another person – an exchange designed to encourage them in their spiritual leadership, emotional maturity, skill development, and/or personal development.
The joys of mentoring are many. Friendships are formed that last a lifetime, people grow into mature disciples of Jesus, successful handoffs of roles occur, and we are enriched as we devote our lives to seeing others succeed.
But is it enough for us to mentor others? How can we spread the joy of the life- to-life exchange that is mentoring by creating a culture of mentoring wherever we go?
Here are four ingredients that make up the secret sauce.
1. Model mentoring.
2. Teach mentoring.
3. Mentor mentors.
4. Celebrate success.
INGREDIENT 1 – MODEL MENTORING
One worship leader described it this way: “I believe that the reason I became effective as a mentor of others is because I watched those that I admired mentoring others – and I wanted the fruits of life they had chosen.
Every event I seemed to go to – conferences, seminars, wherever these folks would be – they seemed to have someone at their side that they were working with and developing.
They were consistently investing their life and leadership into someone else. I never saw them clinging to a stage or to their own ministry platform. They seemed to be free of the need for accolades or constant affirmation. And if they were going to be affirmed, they seemed to want to be affirmed along with others.
They were building a community, I sensed, that would last a lifetime – and I was a part of their community.
To bring others in, that I would mentor, would just extend the family. I noticed the beauty of the friendships they seemed to be creating by constant investment, and it stirred in me a longing to do the same.
It was the way I wanted to live. It was the way I wanted to age. It was the way I wanted to lead.
It was the way I saw Jesus creating a sustainable network of disciple-makers that has lasted for thousands of years. I was in. I could no longer imagine doing life another way.”
INGREDIENT 2 – TEACH MENTORING
Once you are modeling mentoring, you have the foundation in place to begin to teach the group you lead “how” to mentor others.
Have your community watch instructional videos, or go to mentoring events. Teach them the mentoring cycle.
Have people who are effective at mentoring speak directly to your congregation, to your small group, or to your worship team.
In order to encourage a culture of mentoring, we must take the time to teach about mentoring.
Teach mentoring to small groups, to musicians, to pastoral teams, to worship leaders, to spiritual leaders, to disciples of Jesus – because mentoring is all about discipleship.
INGREDIENT 2 – TEACH MENTORING
The mentoring cycle, specifically related to passing on skills for living or ministry, goes as follows:
I do it.
You watch me do it.
I teach you to do it.
You do it with me.
I do it with you.
I watch you do it.
You teach others.
INGREDIENT 3 – MENTOR MENTORS
Be selective about who you choose to mentor. You are looking to mentor not only someone whom you believe has a particular calling to be a worship leader, musician, or pastoral leader – you are looking for someone God has called to mentor others.
Ask yourself, “Are they themselves a mentor? Are they an equipper of other people? Could they become a mentor to another?”
Granted, this may not apply to everyone you mentor through the years, but be intentional in looking for this quality.
Develop people who will develop people. This is what John Wesley looked for in his small group leaders – people who would multiply themselves, happily, and joyfully.
INGREDIENT 4 – CELEBRATE SUCCESS
Celebrate when someone comes into fullness in the next phase of their calling in God because someone else developed them. Make a big deal about it.
Tell those stories in public.
Tell them through emails and community newsletters. Celebrate mentoring successes, all around you, with every opportunity you have. Also celebrate when people who have been mentored by another are now stepping into a place of mentoring and encouraging others themselves. What we celebrate, we get more of.
This will put a taste for mentoring in the mouths of your community. It will get them thinking about it and being excited about it.
Parenting is mentoring and discipleship, so talk about it through the lens of mentoring.
Celebrate the stories of kids who are developing others out of the overflow of the parenting they’ve received.
When we celebrate mentoring successes, it helps to inspire people.
Try at least one idea in your community.
- Model mentoring relationships everywhere you go. Make your mentoring visible to those around you as you affirm someone’s growth in public.
- Let people see you interacting and giving some extra time to this person. Let them see that, when that person is doing something by your side (such as co- leading worship with you), that you are validating them and giving them wings.
- Let others see, and let it inspire them to hunger for that same experience. Teach them about mentoring, and the mentoring cycle. Teach people how to pursue a life-to-life exchange with someone, so that they can be developed in spiritual maturity, in spiritual leadership, and in a unique skill set.
- Be intentional on choosing people to mentor and ask good questions. Encourage and nurture those who will then nurture others.
- And, of course, celebrate the successes in your church. Celebrate them publicly so that your community members will be inspired to become mentors themselves.
As you do these things, you will begin to see a culture of mentoring emerge.
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