For the past several weeks I have had the opportunity to be shadowed by some new friends from Germany. Jens and Steffi attend a Bible College in Germany that requires them to serve a 7 week internship each year. Tobias, a great friend from Germany, knew Jens and Steffi and contacted me about hosting them at our church. Good idea. If all of Germany’s Youth Ministry oriented people are as quality as Jens and Steffi, then they have a very bright future!
I wanted to share a few thoughts in regard to Mentoring that I have been reminded of at this point.
- Know why you do what you do. Jens asks questions…actually that is an understatement. He asks a lot of questions. So there are many things that I do during the normal day-to-day routine that I just take for granted. Having him around has helped me to evaluate everything I do on a step-by-step basis. It has helped me to streamline my normal routine.
- Learning and applying things to your life is only part of the process. Evangelism has not taken place until discipleship has taken place. The same goes for mentoring. All the knowledge from peers/reading/studying/observing does not mature in value until you share that with others. There is no such thing as “turf” in ministry.
- Be transparent. Share the mistakes with the wins! Revisiting past failures has been helpful to me and Jens as well. No one is perfect, don’t try to be.
- Network! I don’t know all the answers, I don’t even try to pretend. But I have some great friends in ministry that have some answers as well and a world of knowledge to share. So while you are mentoring, use your resources. I have scheduled many meets with peers to allow them to see ministry on many different levels: from University Professors to Youth Pastors working in other churches, both large and small. It is great for them to see servants at work and at play.
- Evaluate. Know what you both want to accomplish. From the beginning there needs to be a game-plan for what needs to be accomplished. 7 weeks goes by fast…as does any length of time for mentoring. Don’t get caught trying to fit it all in the last week. Both of you will end up not liking ministry or each other very much.
- Realize that it takes a lot of time. So be patient and calm. Don’t get overwhelmed with the feeling that someone is just following you around.
- Have fun. Life is too short not to. Enjoy the time you have together. Realize we are serving with the kingdom in mind.
I will be having Jens write about his stay and what he learned while in the States. Pray for him and Steffi as they endeavor to serve in Germany.