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Mentoring: Where Young and Old Collide
Mentoring: Where Young and Old Collide 284 300 The Provisum Group

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” – Mark Twain

Wisdom is the byproduct of experience. Experience is the product of many choices, mistakes, victories, and circumstances. In this life, we have a choice. We can learn from our own mistakes or we can learn from the mistakes of others.

The wise person will seek to gain wisdom from others to avoid unnecessary heartaches, mistakes, and bad choices. Wisdom is essential for success in your family health, work success, spiritual growth, and personal life.

Here’s a word to younger people. One of the best ways to gain wisdom is to identify and develop a relationship with an older mentor.

Why an older mentor? Just as you can look back and see how your life decisions have matured over the past ten years, a mentor can see patterns of behavior and trends in your life. Older mentors benefit younger mentees because they have more experiences and insights as well as the ability to give you a glimpse of yourself in the future—in a way that your peers cannot. They can help you think more clearly about the coming decisions you will need to make and can advise you on how to navigate them wisely and successfully.

Before you select a mentor here are a few helpful tips for you to remember.

  • Clarify Your Arrangement. When selecting a mentor, be clear about expectations. What will the mentor provide? How often will you meet? What are the areas you want to grow? Clarifying up front helps make for a better relationship long-term.
  • You’re Responsible. If you need a mentor, it is incumbent upon the mentee to develop the mentor to get what you need from a mentor. It’s important for you to figure them out—not the other way around.
  • Listen First. Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood. As a newer person to the American workforce, seek first by listening and learning. Your mentor is not your counselor or psychologist. If you’re not asking good questions and listening, you’re probably doing it wrong.
  • Invite and Accept Criticism. Criticism hurts, but is sometimes necessary to receive it in order to grow. By inviting a trusted mentor to give you honest feedback, you will become aware of your shortcomings faster so that you can adapt and grow quicker.

Here’s a word for the more “seasoned” readers. One of the best ways to give wisdom is to identify and develop a relationship with a younger mentee.

Why mentor somebody younger than you? Mentoring is an opportunity to give away what you’ve learned over the years. Mentoring is not filling up all the needs of somebody. It’s simply giving away the knowledge and wisdom you’ve acquired. Most importantly, if older mentors don’t seek to give away what they’ve learned, who will give it away? If not you, who can mentor help the next generation? If not now, when?

Before you become a mentor to somebody here are a few helpful tips for you to remember.

  • Clarify Your Arrangement. When selecting somebody to mentor, be clear about expectations. What will you provide? How often will you meet? What are the areas you want to grow? Be very clear about what you can and cannot offer a mentee.
  • Empty Your Cup. Andy Stanley used to say, “Your job isn’t to fill their cup. Your job is to empty yours.” Give away what you have and feel no pressure to fill all the needs in all the different areas of their lives.
  • Keep on Learning. Even though you probably have more to offer a mentee, find a way to listen and learn about the mentee’s needs, values, and ways of relating to the world. This will not only help you improve your communication style, but it will help you stay in touch with next generation culture.
  • Give Clear Feedback. Develop an open and honest relationship with your mentee. Be willing to tell them the hard truth. In fact, I suggest that you only mentor somebody who commits to hearing criticism and feedback from you.

Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, you have a unique opportunity to give and receive. You can use all that you’ve learned to increase the healthy and prosperity of your home, work, and relationships. When we give and receive what we’ve learned from others, we are participating and making a difference in our city and our world.

Three Hiring Strategies to Increase Business Expertise in Your Church
Three Hiring Strategies to Increase Business Expertise in Your Church 300 225 The Provisum Group

The church is not a business. The church just conducts business. This is a difficult reality for certain churches to grasp. Some church leaders want to believe that no business acumen is required for running a church. While minimal business involvement may work some missional-style expressions of church, there are still many other churches that require business expertise.

My advice: in order for churches to conduct business effectively, there needs to be at least one person on staff who knows how to conduct business. This may seem elementary, but you would be surprised at the amount of churches who do not have at least one person with the expertise necessary to thrive in the changing American church climate.

If you are a church leader and you know you need business acumen help, you may need to hire people outside the congregation to help. Here’s some hiring advice.

First, hire people with proven track records. Look for people who have experience in what you need them to do. When interviewing, ask experience questions. Also, take time to think about the particular experiences of a businessperson and how it can translate to the nonprofit world.

Second, hire people with solid reputations. Look for people who recommended by others and who have something measurable to show for their “experience”. Follow up with referrals provided by an applicant and ask probing questions.

Third, consider alternative hiring solutions when possible. At The Provisum Group, we offer accounting, IT administration, and communications and marketing solutions to churches and other faith-based nonprofits. We save our church clients because we are a virtual solution. My point is that there are lots of creative ways to invite business expertise into your church without breaking the bank.

May you be the kind of church leader who welcomes business talent into your church so you can lead more effectively.

When Business Acumen and the Pastor’s Vision Collide
When Business Acumen and the Pastor’s Vision Collide 555 417 The Provisum Group

If an undertaking is meant to create margin, someone at the table has to talk about such practical considerations as price, cost, and return on investment. A committee will tell you, “These are the must-have.” “This is a have-to.”

The voice of business wants to cut “must-haves” and “have-tos” in order to create margin that will enable the church to serve as many people as possible.

There is always a tension between vision and practicality, but both are necessary. Even the pastor who wants to keep his church broke—the pastor who keeps his members dreaming of things so big, they could never happen unless God showed up—has to take practical steps toward that which he is trying to accomplish.

The voice of business ought not to argue with he faith of the visionary, and the visionary might not follow the voice of business with exact precision; but they should honor each other.

Money may follow ministry, but margin pays for it.

Conflict Isn’t Always Bad
Conflict Isn’t Always Bad 1024 640 The Provisum Group

Conflict isn’t always bad. In fact, it’s often a catalyst for growth.

 

High-capacity leaders have a tendency to create friction with one another. Yet if a leader stewards this type of tension, it has the potential to lead to new growth in the organization.

But let’s be real here and say that human beings are emotional creatures. Somebody will always be getting mad about something. There are many leaders who avoid conflict entirely because they have never observed a healthy way to enter into healthy conflict.

If you plan to lead in a church, you must embrace the reality that there will be real emotions connected to the conflict. This doesn’t mean you should go looking for conflict, nor does it give conflict prone individuals the right to pick fights with each other. It simply means that as we live and work in peace with one another, we must be ready for anger and hurt feelings.

The question is this: how do we process our anger? Do we have a process for keeping “short accounts” with one another to keep the leadership team healthy? You need a plan for how you and your team will work through conflict. Conflict is coming. It’s inevitable. Do you have a plan?

To dive deeper in this topic, I suggest three resources.

My book of course, Minding His Business, is a great example of how I handle conflict.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes Are High

Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Patrick Lencioni

All three provide a great framework to do conflict well, and avoid the potholes of anger and bitterness.

May God give you courage to embrace and step into the difficult conversations in your life and your ministry.

– Don