Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership

mentoringwright(The following are reflections based on Walter C. Wright’s book, Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership.)

Want to start or enhance a mentoring relationship? Are you interested in having a relationship with someone who might serve as a mentor?

Are you already a mentor to one or more persons but you are not sure how to make the most of such a relationship?

Would you find it helpful to hear what questions have been particularly useful to a mentor?

Then, read Mentoring: The Promise of Relational Leadership by Walter C. Wright. Wright is a Senior Fellow of the De Pree Leadership Center at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the former president of Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Wright not only has much experience in mentoring others but also has experienced good mentors as well in longtime pastor Donald Bubna and Max De Pree.

Even in the foreword of the book, written by Max De Pree, there is much help for any mentor or mentoree.

Why read this book?

Lynn Anderson on Being Indebted to Mentors

So many of you have communicated to me how much you have enjoyed Lynn Anderson’s words each Monday.  These words today will not disappoint either.  Hear him speak of the value of mentors in his own life.

Lynn Anderson is an author, minister, and encourager to many, many Christian leaders.  If you are not familiar with his books you might enjoy books such as If I Believe Why Do I Have These Doubts? or They Smell Like Sheep.

You can connect with him through his website,

I would love to hear about the value of mentors in your own life.

Mentoring as An Act of Humility (Guest: Cliff Barbarick)

GreatThan_41713_th.gifLast week, Cliff Barbarick made a comment on this blog that spoke about the true nature of mentoring.  What he said ought to be heard by all of us who are both mentors and who have a mentor(s).  I love what he says about mentoring as an act of humility.

Cliff Barbarick is a part-time Family Minister at the Robinson Church of Christ and graduate student working on a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies at Baylor University.  Cliff, his wife, and his two girls (with one boy on the way!) currently live in Waco, Texas, but they will be moving to Malibu, California, in May for Cliff to accept a visiting faculty position at Pepperdine University.

The following are Cliff’s words.  Enjoy!

I’ve been blessed in my life with women and men who have invested in me.  God has repeatedly placed mentors in my life to whom I am forever indebted and from whom I have learned the following important lesson.  They’ve modeled for me mentoring that bears that unique, cross-shaped stamp.

As a mentor, you should long for your student to surpass you one day.  Mentoring should not be an "ego trip" that inflates your sense of self-importance.  You cannot feel threatened by the success of your student and be a good mentor.  Mentoring is an act of humility in which you recognize gifts in another that you want to help develop in order that he may surpass what you have accomplished. 
Barnabas is an excellent example.  At the beginning of he and Saul’s ministry together, the pair is always called "Barnabas and Saul," clearly placing Barnabas in the position of importance.  He leads the team.  A transition takes place in Acts 13:9, however, and it corresponds with the alteration of Saul’s name.  Saul, filled with the Holy Spirit, boldly confronts a Roman official and blinds him.  The proconsul is convicted by the powerful demonstration, and the ministry team is never the same.  What was once always "Barnabas and Saul" becomes in 13:13, "Paul and his companions."  Barnabas isn’t even named!  Thereafter, with only a couple of explainable exceptions (14:14; 15:12, 25), the ministry team is always called "Paul and Barnabas."  Paul has gone from being the student to the "chief speaker" (14:12), but their ministry continues to flourish. 
Barnabas must have been an exceptional man.  How many preachers do you know who would stick around after being supplanted by a young up-and-comer?  Probably only those that embrace the green preacher as a mentor and hope and pray that "he must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

This is a powerful statement about mentoring.  Now I would enjoy hearing your response.  Have you seen examples of this kind of mentoring relationship?  Why might it be difficult for a mentor to see a student surpass him/her in some way?

Lynn Anderson on the Value of Mentors

Each Monday, I have been posting segments of an interview with Lynn Anderson of San Antonio, Texas.  Lynn has served as church planter, minister, and mentor to many, many people.  In this segment, he discusses the value of mentors in his life.  I, along with a number of other people, have been blessed through Lynn’s mentoring.  Watch this video and enjoy.  I would love to hear your feedback on his comments.

(You might enjoy visiting Lynn’s website,  I encourage you to to visit it if you have not.)


A Forgotten Treasure

tree.jpgA friend of mine wrote me a rather sad note.  He said that some seem to think that he is "over the hill," "out of touch," and "past his time."  He feels as if he is no longer valued.  This man has white hair and is in his early seventies.  What is ironic about this is that this man has continued to grow, develop, and change.  He has much to offer.  He has held leadership roles in a number of different sectors including the university and business. 

This isn’t the first conversation that I have had with someone who feels this way.  In fact, there have been many.  What is happening here?  Could it be that a number of us have forgotten that some of these people may in fact be treasures?  Could it be that we might gain much through a mentoring relationship with such a man?

A number of years ago, a friend of mine was about sixty-one years old and suffering from poor health.  He had been a church leader and outstanding preacher for many years.  For several years, he had been suffering from poor health.  Cancer.  Heart disease.  Parkinson’s.   The medication, the diseases, and a few other factors contributed to my friend’s loss of confidence. 

On one occasion he was invited to participate in a forum to discuss a mission opportunity.  He was hesitant to go.  In fact, he was very hesitant because his confidence had really been shaken.  I sensed that he felt weak physically and that impacted the way he felt emotionally.  However, he decided to go.  He flew to a large city where the small group of people met in the meeting room of an airport hotel. 

At one point, my friend decided to make a comment.  He did so with some hesitation.  No sooner did he make his comment than another man quickly dismissed it as irrelevant.

Almost immediately, after this man spoke, a man in the group who was the former president of a large Christian college asked for the attention of everyone in the room.  He began to speak and pointed to my friend.  He said regarding my friend’s comment, "He is exactly right and has pointed out some very important concerns."  

Later in the day, the forum dismissed and the participants all went home.  My friend went away encouraged by this man who would stand with him and affirm what he had said.

Do you know of a person in who is a forgotten treasure?   What do we lose when we disregard such people?