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    Iron Sharpens Iron

    Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” In reflection on our many years in ministry, I am drawn to the truth of this proverb. I have seen it play out in my own life more times than I can remember. We usually think of ministry as investing our lives through serving others, as we hopefully “sharpen” them through discipleship, worship and community. However, I have recently given some thought as to how often others have sharpened me in the past, when I didn’t even realize it. What does this proverb mean, exactly? Most commentators see it as a statement of how people affect, or influence, one…

  • The path to sticky faith for kids
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    The Path to Sticky Faith

    I love being a mentor mom for a “Moms Together” group at a local church. I learn so much from these young women who are at the place I was 30 years ago when our children were small. Our current discussion topic is “Sticky Faith” from the book of the same name by Dr. Kara Powell. The book focuses on what we as parents can intentionally do to help our children have real faith that sticks throughout their teenage years and beyond the time when they live in our homes — what the author calls, “Sticky Faith.” Of course, that generated lots of discussion at our table, especially the statistic Dr. Powell…

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    How mentoring can save your child from walking away from the faith

    One of my greatest fears as a parent was that our children would turn their backs on Jesus when they left our home. A mocking faith-buster professor or sexy siren would steal their hearts and draw them away from their roots. It's a legitimate fear in our post-Christian culture. A 2013 study entitled Five Reasons Millennials Stay Connected to Church found that 6 in 10 young people who grow up in church drop out in the first decade of adult life–but there's hope. They also found that these stats held true UNLESS the young person enjoyed a close personal friendship with a mentor. God often uses mentoring to keep kids…

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    Lessons on mentoring (and other rebukes) from “The Voice”

    I've never been a fan of reality TV, but after a close friend confided that The Voice was her favorite show, we decided to tune in and give it a one-time try. Shortly we were hooked. And now I'm learning valuable lessons about mentoring from an unexpected source.  As a Christian who just co-authored a book on a new model of mentoring, Organic Mentoring, I was shocked that superstars Adam, Pharrell, Christina, and Blake illustrate  many of the principles we promote. WOW! My categories are rattled!          First, I love the concept of coaching built into the show. I love watching the way the coaches encourage and exhort the contestants.…

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    Why curriculums often shut down mentoring

    In her eye-opening book Shaping the Journey of Emerging Adults: Life-Giving Rhythms for Spiritual Transformation, co-author Jana Sundene describes her first attempt at mentoring. “I was guilty of approaching her with an agenda—one that really didn’t have much to do with her—rather than exploring her questions. . .. I was also serving a method. The discipleship book that was placed in my hands became the way to serve her. . .. it hung between us like a film that I could barely see her through, and our discussions fell flat.”      Like Jana, the goal for many older mentors is to teach a Bible study or spiritual curriculum. We love…

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    Let God be your mentoring match-maker

    One of the most frequently asked questions I get from women concerns mentoring. Young women crave a more experienced woman to walk with them through life and help them grow up as all-in Christ followers. But when older women set up mentoring "programs" that artificially match women, young women often describe these programs as "scary".  What might work better than a tightly orchestrated mentoring "program"? Instead of leaders trying to micro-manage other people's mentoring relationships, why don't we all try to create a mentoring culture where women connect naturally. Why don't we all learn the ins and outs of mentoring today. What worked in 1990 won't work in 2015. In…

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    Encourage mentees while bursting the self esteem bubble

    The blockbuster television show and singing competition American Idol interviewed one of the female contestants that managed to secure a coveted place as a top twelve finalist. “It’s really true,” the seventeen-year-old contestant bubbled, “You really can be anything you want to be if you believe in yourself and want it badly enough.” Never mind that thousands of contestants were turned away from the show even though they believed in themselves and wanted it badly. The ubiquitous promise rang hollow for them as they watched their dreams crash. Many young women find that roadblocks or limitations of one sort or another prevent them from achieving their optimistic goals. Many are…

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    Your Board of Directors

    At a conference several years ago I was given a thought-provoking challenge, to identify the people on the board of directors of my life: whose voices do I listen to? Whose counsel do I follow? Whose values do I respond to? The speaker pointed out that some people ought to be kicked off our board—like parents, if their voices of shame and criticism still control and restrict us. So should voices of much of the media, especially TV.  And we can replace them with wiser, more godly voices who can offer us direction and perspective. There was a discussion of categories of potential board members. They don’t have to be…