April 11, 2011
Recently, I invited myself onto your screen with my Point of View presenting a stewardship solicitation, asking you to sponsor me in our upcoming Golf Challenge event. The effort underwrites The Master’s Program; TMP is known – by its participants, its graduates … and their friends – as a mentoring program for Kingdom leaders. There’s a concept with huge appeal … and limited availability: mentoring.
What is it, exactly? How do you know that "mentoring" is happening? The concept offers significant panache among people who already enjoy a level of accomplishment in life… but know that they still have a reservoir of untapped potential that remains beyond their reach. A mentor is a unique player: a person who is accomplished in his/her own life pursuits, who makes himself/herself available to someone who is on the same – or, similar – journey… and is willing to slow-down, come alongside them, and provide the wisdom gained through experience that will enhance their progress. The leaders who participate in TMP say they’ve been mentored through the process.
Most people who plan to maximize life have either explored or experienced mentoring. The ache to be nurtured is God-given; the process of transference is biblical: "…and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul challenged his protégé – Timothy – to be multigenerational, passing the experience along to his own "downline" of beneficiaries. Be mentored … then, be a mentor, to others who will – themselves – be mentors, in time, to another generation.
Artificial substitutes have never been more available. The web has created connectivity that allows instant personalization – and, perceived relationship – that pretends to be vital and vibrant, when it is really cleverly constructed and foundationally manipulative. The longing for connection to someone who has “been there” is a powerful propellant for people in search of wisdom.
My life – for the last 30 years – has been marked by my mentors. When I wrestled with the "stay in business, or move into ministry?" question in ’84, Chuck Swindoll played mentor for me … and coached me through the decision. When given the opportunity to serve as a senior pastor in ’91, Howard Hendricks gave me the nudge… from the mentor’s point of view. Mid-90’s – as I moved back into the marketplace to do ministry after my active duty in the church – was a mentoring moment for me: Bob Buford picked up the baton… and his counsel – as a mentor – birthed the vision for The Master’s Program. And, for the last 15 years, Ross Rhoads has been like a father to me – as a mentor – from 3000 miles away. Who’s surprised: a systematic means by which to provide mentoring. Organic and organized, at the same time.
While you’re on-line, you ought to dial up Bob Buford’s website – www.ACTIVEEnergy.net – and peruse his bi-weekly newsletter. On that site, you can subscribe to it – without cost – and get "up close and personal" as Bob conveys wisdom, founded in biblical truth, as the best mentors do. Just imagine what two Bob’s whispering in your ear could do to affect your approach to the rest of your life!
Three ways to approach life: 1) Go it alone, without the benefit of outside input; 2) Use the advice of others, and allow the culture and media to nominate your influencers; or, 3) Find people who share your foundational, faith-based values who are further-along the road that you (yourself) are traveling. That third choice is what God commends… and encourages.
If you haven’t been mentored, pursue it. If you have, pass it along. It’s the best of gifts…