Mentoring from the Best in the World

A recent discussion on where to get advice on a particular church ministry raised this question:\n\n“Should we go to the people recognised as ‘best in the world’ for advice?”\n\nThe general consensus was yes, why not, there’s nothing to loose. Go to the top. Polish the gift. (Stroke the ego?)\n\nHowever, by not letting those around us be involved in our ministry we are failing in our duty to create a context of accountability within which we minister and we fail to build into others the experience and ability to offer a balanced critique of ministry.\n\nPerhaps we should consider forsaking personal mentoring from the best in the world, and instead accept slower personal progress but look to grow the best possible mentoring network around us.\n\nWhich route would result in more lasting and effective influence in the parish?

Parables of Leadership: Successful Don

Don is a great businessman with a deep need for inner meaning and security. For great businessman read millionaire. For meaning and security read wisdom and groundedness.

Don walks across the corridor to Jack’s office a couple of times a week to talk, to reflect out loud. Which is fine by Jack, because Jack is a great listener and genuinely wise.

Don stays for about half an hour, sometimes longer. They talk, or rather, Don talks, energetically for most of the time. Jack offers his reflections. Don learns. Don is encouraged. Filled up. Refreshed.

When Don leaves Jack turns back to his computer and is overwhelmed by his need for money. Cash. The need to survive presses in on Jack. Jack’s broke. Jack has no work. And no money. He wonders again: where can he go to get help with that?

Graveyard Shift

The afternoon sessions at a conference are called the Graveyard Shift for good reason. The participants are comatose or worse, depending on whether it’s a weekend conference and this is the second day following a late night. The proliferation of zombie films are based almost entirely on actual scenes from corporate weekend conferences.\n\nThe afternoon speaker has two options.\n\nJazz It Up. Or. Call It Off.\n\nThere’s no middle ground. Even audience participation isn’t enough to overcome the lolling heads and dribbling delegates.\n\nSo when the after-lunch  speaker slowed the pace down to give the people more time to take in each bullet point on the enormous PowerPoint presentation what was most surprising was that he didn’t notice that he had lost his crowd in the head lolling, dribbling, comatose, zombies before him.\n\nOr worse, he did, but either didn’t have the skills to change the outcome, or the desire to, or was too lazy to bother.

Parables of Leadership: Mustang Sally

Sally loved performing and felt she was most fully on task when standing in front of a group of trainees (who all seemed to be getting younger!). These opportunities to perform were coming less often, which was such a shame in Sally’s view because she had all these teaching materials photocopied from the Leadership Training book she had written in the 80s. Still, “hope springs eternal” she thought as she switched on her computer for her weekly check of emails.

Parables of Leadership: Visionary Jane

Jane was all about ideas. The team around her marvelled at how many ideas she could have between one week’s meeting and the next. “I want what she’s having!” Jane was always out in front of the team – in vision, in effort, in energy, in inspiration (after all, a rolling stone gathers no moss). The team admired Jane. They only talked behind her back because she was so far ahead of them that she couldn’t hear them.

Parables of Leadership – Choreography

Samantha was agent for John … on commission … and John was ready to sell. Jim arrived early to buy but Samantha was late to the meeting … to control … Which left John on his own with Jim. Jim got a great deal. John wasn’t over the moon, but it was done. Samantha lost her commission. Decisions are made by those who turn up. On time.