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How mentors grow young leaders

How does a mentor grow a young leader? The most important factor in the mix is that the young leader has got to want it and begin pursuing the mentor – seeking his help.  It is not the mentor’s job to put the process in motion.  The young person is the one who will be doing all the heav…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
How does a mentor grow a young leader? The most important factor in the mix is that the young leader has got to want it and begin pursuing the mentor – seeking his help.  It is not the mentor’s job to put the process in motion.  The young person is the one who will be doing all the heavy lifting, so he’s got clearly express his desire.
 
Let me give you a good example in real time from my life. Brian Alonzo is a young leader on the World Race team that Karen and I are coaching. I’ve always seen great potential in him, but I’ve been waiting for him to decide that he really wanted to grow as a leader. Recently he’s been making some important strides forward in his growth. 
 
The last couple of months on the race have tested Brian – shaken him to the core. He has sought my counsel and, sensing my opportunity, I felt that he was ready to be challenged more aggressively.  Although we’d touched on some key issues holding him back in his growth, I’d never gone after the underlying factors that have caused his behavior. So, I let him know that I’d been holding back for the last eight months, waiting for him  to get to a point where he was ready to do the hard work of changing some deep-seated ways of thinking and interacting with people. And thankfully, Brian replied that he was indeed ready – he wanted to work through his stuff.
 
Because Brian just blogged about this phase he’s in, it gives me permission to share more openly about the dynamics between a mentor and his disciple. The point I want to make to any of you wanting to grow is that you have to find a mentor and press into him (or her). It’s  not enough to wait for him to lay out a program for your growth. You’ve got to pursue him and seek out his time and counsel. And then you have to show him that you’ll put his advice into action – that you trust him.  Here’s Brian’s blog about the process.

The concept and realities of leadership are the most pressing topics of conversation between me and the Lord these days. I received an email from Seth graciously investing interest in helping me in this area.  The offer came attached with a list of books on the matter.  While Googling excerpts from a few of the books, as well as some notes from Seth himself, I became aware of how far behind in the process of awareness I truly am. 

 

From a young age I can remember people saying to me, “you’re a leader.”  With out any further instruction I took that seed and rather than applying appropriate pressure, I sought to showcase it.  My little seed of leadership, in a glass case with back lighting.  Little did I know the appropriate pressure would eventually arrive.  This season of my life on The World Race is the initiation into this gift.  I suppose it’s the same concept as information versus application.  

 

I mention all of this only because as I am now neck deep into this journey of the world race a couple of things are becoming clear.  I had no idea what in the world I was getting myself into and I had no clue how helpless and ineffective we are when we operate apart from Christ. 

 

For those who may see The World Race as just another missions trip, I would have to disagree.  It’s a classroom where the gifts God gives people and the realities of how those gifts were intended to shape and shake the world come together, completely changing a life, spanning the globe through relationship after relationship. 

 

I’m not saying this can’t be understood or even achieved through other means, but when you are face to face with the truths of this world, whether it be holding the hand of a dying mother in Swaziland, or walking through the killing fields of Cambodia, the process within is accelerated.  The purpose of all of this,  the reason for the gifts we find with in each and everyone of us, is for the sole purpose of bringing humanity and love to an inhumane and unloved world.  

 

The gifts given to us are not for personal gain or achievement or even a means to our own fulfillment.  The gifts God gives us are his invitation for partnership.  If you are still in the books of it all, I suggest jumping out from beneath the scholastic ceiling tiles for a bit and getting your cap and gown dirty in the blood and dust of this world.  You’ll be amazed how far behind we all actually are.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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