the shape of leadership

Mentoring Matters

The power of investing in others

Kent Ingle on May 11, 2021

Our culture praises individualism. We often idolize influential leaders who have sacrificed everything to scale the ladder of success. While personal drive greatly influences our journeys, we can lose sight of the people who make each step possible.

What would happen if we celebrated the power of community instead? After all, many of our accomplishments are not our own. Rather, they represent the combined efforts of many. There were people who sharpened us along the way, motivated us to keep going, and propelled us to the next level.

It’s often in our breaking points that we recognize the value of companionship — the need for help in moving forward.

Hebrews 10 reminds us of the significance of community while persevering in our faith: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Community is crucial to our Christian walk, and mentorship is one aspect of this.

Make an Eternal Impact

When we are intentional about cultivating mentorship opportunities, we can impact future generations for the Kingdom. The next leaders in our churches — millennials and Generation Z — crave mentors. Studies of these population groups indicate they value the opportunity for mentorship in the workplace and in their communities.

All of us need spiritual guidance along our faith journey. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

My grandmother was a significant influence in my spiritual journey. She heavily shaped my walk with Christ by teaching me the importance of putting Him at the center of my life. I realized that when I did this, I could face any issue life threw at me.

Mentorship is about helping others steward the calling God has placed on their lives.

The investment my grandmother made in my life has been priceless. In the same way, as leaders, we need to consciously seek mentorship opportunities with the next generation of leaders. In our churches, we should deliberately create avenues for our congregations to engage in mentorship opportunities. This can even happen in small groups.

We may never see the fruits of the time we put into these relationships. However, when we invest in people, a ripple effect occurs. Down the road, there may be people we never even met who were empowered because of our decisions to invest in others.

Lead by Example

Mentors lead by example. My pastor influenced my life as a youth, taking the time to meet with me and mentor me weekly. He took me along on hospital and home visitations. My pastor showed me how he prepared his messages for Sunday mornings and planned for board meetings.

Although my pastor could have just told me what he did, he brought me alongside him and taught me by way of demonstration. Proverbs 9:9 says, “Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.”

We can’t take our responsibility to be mentors lightly. It means we hold others accountable for their actions, call out the best in them and challenge them to move beyond their comfort zones. Mentorship is about helping others steward the calling God has placed on their lives.

Facilitate Growth and Development

Even leaders need mentors. Sometimes this means putting aside our pride to find someone who can help us along the way. There are people around us who have encountered trials and faced situations that are similar to the ones we are currently facing.

Asking for someone to mentor you isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s an opportunity for growth and development. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

Mentorship is a two-way street. We can learn from those we mentor just as much as they can learn from us. We just have to be open.

In today’s culture, it’s easy to get the idea that we should pursue our goals on our own. However, Scripture reveals we need one another, especially when it comes to our spiritual journeys.

When we invest in others, we are developing future leaders and building a legacy that will influence generations to come.

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