When I was charting out this series it was difficult to pick out only a handful of topics because Jim has taught me so many things over the years. Taught isn’t even the right word. He invested in me. Jim did not consider himself a dispenser of wisdom. He was simply an Everyday Pilgrim…an ordinary person living out the sacred journey of his daily life.
He invested by: Storytelling – He told great stories. He knew the right amount of details to include that would emphasize his point and not distract from it. You could see him in the kitchen with his mother as she wrapped a sandwich in wax paper and filled a jar of iced tea for Jim to deliver to the transient person waiting on the front porch. And wah~lah! Generosity was extended and compassion had skin on.
He invested by: Giving Away Responsibility – Jim allowed me to sharpen my skills a lot. He encouraged all of us on staff to and gave us opportunities…and not just when he was away. He would let me speak, lead meetings or events that were safe in the big picture but still a stretch for me.
He invested by: NOT Dying On Small Hills – Jim had a way of being able to discern what needed immediate attention and what situations didn’t. He did not make mountains out of mole hills. I’ve seen a lot of leaders fixate on small issues – ones that didn’t deserve attention or that would have resolved themselves, but stubbornness and pride won out. Mole hills have led to the unraveling of far too many short-sighted leaders.
He invested by: Being a Team Player – Our area of vocation was ministry and Jim never played the, “We’re the big church” card. Life wasn’t just about us. We were involved in denominational events and he offered our service whenever and where ever they were needed. If it was a work day at a camp, we were in. If it was sharing resources with a church experiencing challenges, we were in. Nothing was beneath him and nothing was out of reach.
HERE’S THE DEAL: With all our resources, technology, and infomation there is still not an overabundance of mentoring done well.
The pendulumn tends to swing to the extremes. Either young leaders aren’t given any opportunity to find and use their voice or they are given responsibilities before they are ready for them. To do it well requires faith, investment, and relationship.
- Some leaders innately know this and are willing to make a person commitment to invest in you. If your senior leader is like this, thank God and thank them.
- Other leaders are willing if you bring it to their attention. If you suspect your supervisor is like this, schedule an appointment. Ask them if they would consider mentoring you.
- A handful of leaders don’t know, aren’t willing, and won’t…even if you ask them. If this is who you work for, find someone else to mentor you.