Sunday, April 30, 2006

Mentorship End

A major responsibility of leadership is the selection and development of potential leaders. Mature leaders should openly and deliberately challenge potential leaders about specific needs and ministry opportunities. A danger sign indicating a plateaued leader is a lack of enthusiasm for challenging and recruiting potential leaders. A growing leader, on the other hand, stimulates the emergence of potential leaders. - J. Robert Clinton, The Making of a Leader

Well, next week is the official end of the first SPACE mentorship and it was a pretty awesome experience. This was the very first experience like this that I have ever done so I didn't know what quite to expect. But all in all, a lot of fun. Here are some of my thoughts as this comes to an end.

Related posts - post about original idea, and a post detailing the reading list.

- Emilie approached me about doing an internship with SPACE sometime during the middle of her junior year. I was kind of surprised at the idea, I didn't think anyone could do that, but was instantly excited about it. She works for SPACE for 28 hours a month and records her time in all the varied things that we do, from a day service project, to legwork activities to weekends away. In turn, her mentorship counts for credit, allowing her to not take as many classes this year and I give her a grade every quarter. She also attends a special class with all the other kids doing internships. For those of us in some kind of leadership [if I can qualify for that,] this represents the best scenario - when someone comes to you and wants to learn from you. "I am your sponge." As a leader, this should absolutely exhilarate you.

- Having experienced a very well defined, graduated, discipleship "program", I am leery of anything we leaders put together that is canned, out of the box, and easy to implement. I know my view on this isn't very fair. But I've seen far too many leaders that have been molded to be lazy because we give them something that allows them to 'lead' but doesn't require any effort - in fact, we shouldn't even call them leaders, we should call them chaperones. So, all the material and ideas in this mentorship, and some of it is very good, was tailored to Emilie, based on what I knew of her background, family [because she comes from a very unique family,] and ministry experience. Additionally, at the start of the mentorship, I focused a lot on the idea of giving her the right kind of information. Towards the end, I realized that she knew all the right stuff, and it was time for her to put it into practice. Something like this in the future needs to be focused more on releasing, catalyzing and empowering students to go out and do it, rather than just read and write about it. In the end, I believe it was too focused on information and not enough on action.

- As you can see from the writeup, one of the original intentions was to have Emilie work with a few different people in vocational ministry - all of them in different contexts [college campus ministry, college/young adult pastor in a mega church, street evangelist] but none of those details ever worked out. Too bad, because I think they could have been great experiences, and all of them are great friends and supporters of SPACE. In reality, some of this was due to my limited availability - which I will talk a bit more about later.

- She was definitely involved in a few firsts for SPACE including:
- first winter expedition - where we took a group of kids away during the winter for a missional weekend
- first cohort for summer team planning
For the first time, I had a cohort with me when I went to 'sell' the idea of a summer mission team to potential leaders. She went to every meeting that I had with summer team leaders, which was way more than I expected both personally for me and for her via the internship. It was really good though - those meetings are great opportunities where I get a chance to talk all about SPACE, why its important and then try to recruit people to investing in it. So it was a big investment in time, but good for her to see the way we get people involved in it, hopefully.

- Logistically, we never a set time for us to meet although on average we probably met once every two weeks. There were some times where we didn't meet for a few weeks and some weeks where we had three meetings on three consecutive days [summer team leaders.] And, of course lots of email, text messages and IM. In actuality, probably 25% of our conversation was centered around being subversive, risk and innovation and different expressions of church. Although we didn't implement any of those ideas per se, I won't be surprised if she does something in the next few years on her own.

- Once again, I am a finite person. I work a more-than-full-time career, have a family, and try to do SPACE as a hobby. Some of the extra project stuff didn't get done because I could not make time for it. It is too bad, but thats just the way things go. Maybe the next time it could be different. In past years we have made the time to meet with what we call the SPACEcrew, a group of students that we get involved in the planning and brainstorming for SPACE stuff. This year, we didn't do hardly any of those meetings, and much of that was due to my time being dedicated to the intern stuff instead. In hindsight, that was a mistake. Meeting with those students should be a priority - and I've got some ideas about that for next school year. These students are the ones that are going to extend and lead this thing and draw their friends into it - we can't ignore them.

- Two big things that impacted her the most was:
. Reading the book Waking the Dead
. Listening to some messages by Mike Frost [Shaping of Things to Come]

- It would be fun to have two interns in the future. That way, one could send them off together to work on projects. The time investment would remain more or less the same, while having two to work together could be more fun and interactive for both of them.

- Finally, the SPACE Senior weekend is Emilie's final project. I put her in charge of most everything about it, from the initial brainstorming of ideas, concepts and locations; to recruiting leaders; to logistics with our host. I am certain it will be a great time, and I know some Seniors are going to have their worldview significantly changed.

Photo - Mentor Street, Philly, by Emilie

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