Relational Mentoring

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    By John Garfield

    Wisdom can be measured

    Let’s define mentoring as the impartation of wisdom to achieve measureable results in life and the marketplace. Having a bunch of facts (information), knowing a subject well (knowledge), and connecting the dots on how and why things work (understanding) is a long way from “wisdom” – doing something that bears ministry fruit and multiplies finances. Wisdom is the real-world application of knowledge and understanding and it can be easily “measured.” …number of people saved, increased wealth, etc. The goal is real results, not just more head knowledge.

    The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. Prov 11:30

    The wealth of the wise is their crown… Prov 14:24 NIV

    I want to distinguish relational mentoring from teaching, preaching, coaching, consulting and counseling. Let’s define relational mentoring in terms of the seven-step process below.

    1. The mentor tells us how (we ask questions and get confused)

    2. We watch the mentor do it (and say that looks easy enough and we can’t wait to try)

    3. The mentor watches us do it (we screw it up, give up, and try again while the mentor points out areas to improve, and repeats 1 and 2 as often as necessary. Their example and words inspire and encourage us.)

    Note: Most of us are in need of mentoring for a reason. We are inclined to sabotage our own success; we also need help overcoming our poverty mindset or spiritual bondage. Teaching us how and getting the revelation is still one big step away from implementation.

    In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; 2 Tim 2:25 KJV

    4. We do it by ourselves (and check back with the mentor periodically for adjustments; maintain the relationship)

    5. We do it by ourselves and prosper (We feel the applause of our mentor; “well done”)

    6. We become mentors ourselves and start to equip and disciple others to measurable results

    7. Return to step one

    By contrast, let’s ask ourselves, What is non-relational mentoring? Answer Preaching! It can motivate us to try, but we’re all programmed from years of going to church to lose that motivation about the time we hit the parking lot after the meeting. It’s common to talk about putting a discipleship or training series on a DVD to change lives. Can you see the oxymoron? It takes 7 “relational” steps to make a disciple and accomplish real change… our attempts at mentoring people in the church or the marketplace usually consists of the first step plus a charge for the material or an offering.

    Fellowship is working together

    We think of fellowship as chatting after a meeting, having friends over, retreats, etc. It’s prone to be shallow and, although it does communicate acceptance, it doesn’t change lives. Biblical fellowship that does change lives is built around sharing a common purpose and working together to produce something. Local churches are in a huge transition right now because our “traditional” purpose has been to grow the church. The church has been a totally introverted institution that exists for its own self-propagation; thus, shallow fellowship. We are beginning to understand that our real purpose on earth is expanding the Kingdom into the other six mountains of our culture. The real purpose of the church is to equip the saints to do ministry (Release Kings.) Our progress is measured by our impact in our culture; not just Sunday morning attendance.

    If we incorporate the concept of mentoring into our fellowship, what does it look like? Fellowship in the Greek (Koinonia) means partnership, participation, or benefaction, and the root word (koinonos) means sharer or associate. That sounds more like working together than having tea, doesn’t it? Don’t partnership, participation and association sound like a business relationship? I’m simply suggesting that the kind of fellowship that mentors, comes by working together; maybe even 40 hrs a week doing business together as a practical learning environment. In this kind of fellowship, mentoring occurs in the production of goods and services, and wealth is created (on the job training.) Viola! We have received wisdom – measureable in profits and changed lives!

    Availability Successful mentors often grow, get too busy to be available to their followers, and then degenerate back to preachers and teachers and become mediocre because they can’t get beyond step 2. Mentoring that changes lives is personally available and invested in seeing the follower meet or exceed the ability of the mentor. Teachers are easy to find turn on the TV or walk into any book store. Fathering mentors who walk us through change to measurable fruit are harder to find.

    For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; 1 Cor 4:15 NKJV

    Multiplying mentors

    How can mentors retain their personal availability through growth to mentor hundreds or thousands? The best ones learn to duplicate themselves so they not only have sons, but the sons have sons too (grandchildren). It’s easy to multiply steps 1 and 2 through books, CD’s, webinars, websites, FAC pages, and newsletters, but everything grinds to a halt at step 3 unless a real, live, communicating person is available to answer questions and discern problem areas. In the absence of that “live mentor,” many students give up on change and stop short of becoming Kings or Christians, or traders, or musicians, or business owners, etc. Didn’t Jesus multiply his personal ministry through the 12, then the 72? He clearly spent most of his ministry focused on those 12. That’s because 12 is about the number we can personally mentor and maintain some semblance of availability.

    Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples… Luke 12:1 NIV

    A relational mentor is a person we can talk to about our failures and successes. And if they don’t hear from us, they will ask how we’re doing and check on our progress by measuring it! What does that feel like? If feels like being loved by a father; a reflection of being loved by the Father.

    Measure the mentor

    How do you find a great mentor? Just find someone whose fruit can be measured. Are people getting saved? Are Kings being released? Is wealth being multiplied? Pretty easy, isn’t it?

    How do you know when you’ve graduated from step 5? People are getting saved. Kings are being released. Wealth is being multiplied. Pretty easy, isn’t it?

    Said another way, If my disciples haven’t made any disciples, then I haven’t either.”

    Releasing Kings through step 3 – God is inviting His people to explore their hearts desires, find their mountain, and experience new levels of fruitfulness in ministry, finances, and fun. My dream is to take the intimacy of a great prophetic counselor who touches hearts and combine it with the skill of an equally great business mentor (already prospering in his field). That mentor would connect real world performance (often dollars) with the wisdom that leads to holistic change; everything from heart to performance. The student gets both the heart and the details; natural and spiritual. We put an end to the dualism that has kept Kings out of our cultures. I am just starting to see these “priestly / Kingly” mentors. God is doing something brand new and it’s exciting.

    We’re Dancing,

    John Garfield


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