Mentoring Leaders – a challenge for youth workers

27 Apr

I recently read “Mentoring Leaders” by Carson Pue as part of my post-grad studies in urban youth ministry. I’d like to share some insights with you and hear what you have to say on the topic.

Pue’s model of how leaders are mentored:

  1.  Self Awareness – the process of becoming more aware of self and of God. In this stage we become not only more aware of our gift mix, but also of our shortcomings. The process of admitting our faults, fears, and insecurities leads to a greater awareness of God’s grace, and security as his children. (This also relates closely to John’s recent series on Self Assessment).
  2. Freeing Up – the process of becoming the leaders God wants us to be. In this stage needs are named and individuals begin to consider where they are looking to get needs met; many of us look somewhere other than God to meet our needs.
  3. Visioneering – the process of defining our vision for life. This is an individual process, but it is important for mentors to come along side as the leader waits and seeks God for a life vision and for Him to bring it about.
  4. Implementing – the process of walking alongside leaders as they begin strategically moving towards vision.
  5. Sustaining- the process of walking alongside leaders as they continue walking.

As my volunteer base turns over quite often (every 6 months), it is not often I have the opportunity to walk alongside a new leader for a significant amount of time. My mentoring role focuses more on middle and high school students.

I have been blessed this past year to be part of a year-long leadership network, called Refocusing. It meets together for 4 retreats throughout the year, and includes teaching and consistent year-long small groups. These small groups provide a safe place to discuss leadership difficulties. The purpose of the year-long program is to clarify values and vision. This program has brought several women leaders into my life who have walked with me and challenged me this past year.

I feel that Refocusing has provided a good base for helping me think through my vision for youth ministry to TCKs  both in my current ministry context of Phnom Penh, and also as we consider what it looks like to impact South East Asia through Youth in Asia ministry.

I think that the busy, hectic lives we lead prevent us from being the best mentors we can be. Busy-ness, and the exhaustion it often leads to, limits our effectiveness. We also often live life in such a way that we don’t have transparent relationships. My experience of walking with Tanya in both a deep, transparent friendship, and ministry context provides me a framework for what leadership accountability looks like and the role of deep, transparent, accountable friendships look like.

Being mentored significantly increases our effectiveness as mentors ourselves. Having mentors in our lives helps us see from the mentee perspective, which is invaluable to helping us understand the perspective of those we come alongside and try to help.

For me, carving out the time and space to spend alone time with God, and living life at a pace where that alone time is beneficial, will take concentrated effort. A mentor would be helpful in that process to help me set goals and track progress and challenges. Unfortunately, the mentors who came into my life this year are leaving Phnom Penh this year, and the process of finding new mentors will begin again.

In “Mentoring Leaders” there is a section on functioning from your core as a child. Pue describes ways that we can live from an orphaned point of view or, instead, from the Child of God point of view. It is important to be are aware that our security and identity as God’s children is a growing, vibrant process; it does not become static, nor do we ever arrive. I’m back in the US at the moment, and during a recent conversation with my father I realised how very quickly and easily I start feeling once again like an insecure 14 year old girl, looking to hold his attention.

Although I’ve heard it said before, and probably even said it myself, it is only spending time alone with God where we can gain his perspective on us, his acceptance of us based on what Jesus has done. Only once I am secure in this can I face the insecurity that comes out of my lacking relationship with my parents.

Questions to think about: 

What keeps us from maximizing our leadership effectiveness as a mentor?

What helps us increase our leadership effectiveness as a mentor?

How is God nudging you to grow as a mentor and leader? 

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Posted by on April 27, 2011 in Leadership Development



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