Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mentoring in 3D

Bill Hybels wrote a book called "Just Walk Across the Room: Simple Steps Pointing People to Faith," which talks about how to share your faith in a very natural way, and encourages people to take some extremely basic steps - including treating people like friends instead of projects! As I reviewed some notes on this book, it struck me just how similar the basic principles taught are to what I'm suggesting in mentoring relationships. The theme of the book is "Living in 3D" - Develop Friendships, Discover Stories, Discern Next Steps.

Developing Friendships

Easy, right? Well, not for everyone, and almost impossible if you don't actually make the time to simply hang out with other people. Caring genuinely about other people and desiring to build into the lives of others is foundational to both evangelism, discipling, and mentoring others.
Proximity Principle - what's a natural thing you like to do that could be done with others, or what's a natural place you like to hang out at where you can find others with similar interests? Figure out what that is, get up, and just walk across the room and start getting to know other people!
Congruity Principle - be true to who you are, realize God wired you a certain way for a reason. Be yourself, and let others be themselves.

Discover Stories

Best way to share your faith is to blast someone with what you think they need to hear before getting to know them, right?! Bzzzzt! Wrong answer! Here's a better idea - start to build trust and relational integrity with other folks, by actually listening - finding out their stories. What has made them who they are? What are they passionate about? What are they scared about? Everyone has a story. Take the time and make the effort to hear them.
Commonality Principle - Focus on the things you have in common as you build relationships. (I know, basic stuff, but why do we need to make it hard?)  If you're a Colts fan, cherish that, and enjoy hanging out with other Colts fans.
Sensitivity Principle - If people are struggling with things or need to make some change in their live, chances are really good that they don't need you to dump on them about it. This ties in to caring for others and listening. There is a time to have tough conversations, but often that time will be clear when the other person invites you into their world and their struggles.

Discern Next Steps

Once you have taken the time to build an authentic friendship, and have built relational credibility by learning and listening to their story, it's now a great time to discern the next steps that the Holy Spirit is inviting you to take in order to encourage the other person to (better) understand God's love for them, and to take a step towards or in a relationship with Christ. What are some possible next steps? * Giving resources (books, links, CD's)  * Giving the gift of your TIME  * Focus on common recreational interests (to strengthen the relationship)  * maybe the next step is to tell Your story (succinctly and genuinely)  * Invite them to church or some bridge event  * express your heart - just let them know about your care for them and your desire for God's best in their lives.  Whatever the next step, take it and then you turn it over to God to do the rest.

Hybels passion and principles described in Just Walk Across the Room are for building bridges to non-believers, forming friendships whether they lead to spiritual conversations or not just because God loves them. But as you look at what is described above, these are really some basic yet powerful things to keep in mind simply for building spiritual friendships with other believers and in being open to informal mentoring relationships.

Live in 3D.  Got a story to tell? Share it with me!

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