15 Nov Mentoring Spiritual Leaders
“An army of sheep led by a Lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep” – African proverb
The need of the hour for the developing and maturing organization like UESI is mentoring servant leaders. The focus area or the thrust area for the coming 2017-19, as declared by UESI is MENTORING SERVANT LEADERS.
If we go back to the origins of the word Mentor in Greek mythology, ‘Mentor’ was a trusted friend of Odysseus who was appointed to take care of his son Telemachus when he left for Trojan War. Mentor became Telemachus’ teacher, coach, counselor and protector, building a relationship based on affection and trust.
Over the centuries the word ‘Mentor’ has come to mean as trusted friend, effective coach, creative teacher, reliable counselor and wonderful protector. Mentor builds relationship with his mentee based on affection and trust and thereby brings out the potential of the mentee and shapes his character.In the coming years we will be focusing on mentoring servant leaders who can lead from the front with a servant attitude having the mind of Christ for the betterment of UESI.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the best example to model upon. Jesus had chosen 12 disciples and mentored them for over 3 years and had a wonderful relationship with them. As mentor, he invested his precious time in building them, taught them valuable lessons both about the kingdom of God and about daily living, prayed for them and prayed with them, rebuked their attitudes and actions, tapped their potential and assigned them with specific responsibilities, loved and protected them, demonstrated to them what servant leadership is all about, worked constantly on enhancing their faith in Him, forgave their shortcomings and restored them; and more than anything else, he ultimately suffered and died for them. After our Lord’s death and resurrection, His disciples exhibited the same qualities in their lives and ministry to the amazement of many. Our Lord and his disciples left a wonderful legacy for the church to follow.
Next to our Lord, Apostle Paul is the second best example to model upon. He mentored several servant leaders. He picked upon young disciples in all his missionary journeys and worked on them in terms of shaping their character, entrusting responsibilities and helping them to learn new things from him. Timothy, Ephaphras, Epaphroditus, Silas, Titus, Philemon, Onesimus, Dr. Luke and Young families like Aquila and Priscilla are few servant leaders who were mentored by Apostle Paul. The great Gamaliel and encouraging disciple named Barnabas mentored Paul.
We can work on at least 3 important areas in mentoring. Every mentor should focus on these 3 areas as he or she commits himself or herself to this wonderful relationship of mentoring.
Firstly, we should work on Character building of the mentee. Character includes who we are, our attitudes, our core values, commitments, what passions drive us, how we relate to each other, how faith policy works in our organization and what servant leadership is all about. These are some of the most important things that determine the effectiveness of our movement.
Secondly, we should work on Legacy that is, leaving wonderful footprints for others to follow. What do you want to be known for? How to go about it and how to build on so that others can walk in the same path as Paul said ‘follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.’ In the process of mentoring, a mentor’s life style, vision, commitment, sacrifice and many more areas are being watched and adopted by the mentee. We have wonderful examples of spiritual stalwarts who served and slept in the Lord like Prof. Enoch, Rev P. T. Chandapilla (to name a few) and a cloud of witnesses whom we call as UESI diamonds like Sis. Prema Fenn, Sathkeerthi Rao, P.C. Varghese and so on. They have left us a wonderful legacy to emulate.
Thirdly it is about Presence, How to do things in an effective way, how to learn new things, how we should go chapter by chapter in a way that brings glory to God. Paul commends Timothy in his letter to Philippians saying, “ I have no one else like him who takes a genuine interest in your welfare ”. About Epaphroditus Paul says “ my fellow worker, fellow soldier..”. Mentors are bound to make their mentee’s work effective, bringing out their hidden potential and motivating them for a higher calling and living.
Character, Legacy and Presence are three important things to be focused in terms of mentoring. We are not here to make our own clowns but to help mentees to become what God wants them to be. Indeed spiritual mentoring is a tiresome responsibility but the end result or productivity is immeasurable. Let us make lions that can lead…
Sudhir Gaddam is the State Secretary of UESI Telangana