There are instructors, coaches, and mentors. Instructors teach the student about the tools needed to improve their skill. Coaches guide the skill toward a task or objective. Mentors reinforce the focus and heart behind developing the skill-set. While both instructors and coaches encourage the student to improve their skill, mentors aim higher – with a deeper foundation. Mentors develop a personal relationship with the mentee that includes all areas of personal and spiritual growth.
When the mentor and mentee enter into a written covenant with each other, that covenant serves as a shared outline of expectations. The mentee expects to be encouraged and nourished through the Holy Spirit – while improving their spiritual gift, and the mentor expects consistent growth from the mentee – guided by the Holy Spirit. Not to put too fine a point on it, the relationship between the mentor and mentee is much like the gardener and the plant.
The importance of prayer simply cannot be under-valued. When we pray with the mentee, we properly establish the highest calling – and the deepest foundation for the relationship we are establishing. As mentors, when we pray with the mentee, we also glean an understanding of their personal heart posture, spiritual maturity, personal needs, and if we’re able to read between the lines – areas in their walk where the Holy Spirit can allow us to assist Him in a much needed renewing of the mentee’s mind.
We should always enter into the relationship with a clear understanding of expectations. The headline for the outline should always be “God above all”; this means that God is above feelings of discouragement, temptation, and pride. Sub-headings should always include discussion of past progress and future expectations related to all areas of personal and Spiritual growth. Has there been growth in their skill since the last encounter? What could be improved? Have they displayed Spiritual growth? (Most importantly) – Are they appropriately correlating their Spiritual growth with their skill development?
CRAFTING THE GIFT
There is a principle that is at the absolute heart of this particular area of service; understanding the difference between “Practice” and “Rehearsal”. “Practice” is what we do in our own time to prepare for the group meeting – the “Rehearsal”. How many times have we witnessed team members arriving to rehearsal unprepared? Instead of the rehearsal being an opportunity for the Spirit to lock in “the groove”; we, instead, have to endure members “learning” their parts. The mentees must realize that when they offer a practice to God’s service on their own time, God WILL bless! The team member who doesn’t prepare will be robbing themselves of personal blessings – as well as robbing the team of the blessing that comes from mutual preparedness. Whenever possible, mentors should “practice” with the mentee – offering each practice to God’s service and asking Him for His Wisdom, encouragement, and perseverance. When we establish accountability regarding “crafting the gift” by practicing with the mentee, we not only encourage personal growth in their gift; but we also reinforce personal and Spiritual maturity.
The gardener clips, ties, and encourages the tree to grow strong and healthy. When a branch shoots off in one wild direction or withers, the tree becomes unstable. When the wild or withering branch is removed, clipped or tied, it allows nourishment to strengthen other branches that need growth and encouragement. The result is a healthy tree that is properly balanced around the trunk. Recognize areas in the mentee’s personal and Spiritual growth that need clipping and tieing – so not only will they have a proper foundation for their gift to grow, but they also have a maturing, healthy tree that is balanced and shaped in such a way that all the branches and leaves can receive God’s light of encouragement and nourishing Spiritual water.