Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
Transformation is a concept that is central to MentorLink. It affects our teaching model of leadership, as well as our approach to Kingdom work. A Catholic priest recently told me that “leadership is not taught in any seminary – either protestant or Catholic.” He’s right, and it’s something we’ve known for years.
I recently became friends with a woman from New Jersey who came from mainland China in 1989. Her name is Lizhen Yan. She came to the U.S. for advanced studies, and has several graduate degrees including a PhD. The picture above is Lizhen at one of her many graduations.
She became a Christian in 2007. She attended Seminary studying marriage and family therapy. Virtually all her studies have been didactic: the classic teacher – lecture model. It’s what we refer to as “outside-in” teaching, where the teacher transfers content to the students.
She joined one of our Skype Institute sessions which is a discussion model. Participants study the same material and then share their struggles and challenges. She quickly sensed the transforming power of relational mentoring. Learning from one another, not just textbooks or lectures.
She was amazed at what she learned from others, and it has changed her approach to teaching and her ministry.
Instead of lectures and content transfer, we use the “inside-out” method. We aim at the heart values and over time we can see the effect on our participants. A heart change is transformational. If you change peoples’ hearts, their minds and actions will follow.
Our values are kingdom values which are timeless. We employ the method of teaching that Jesus used with his disciples: mentoring them in a relationship.
When I mentor others, I rarely provide content transfer. Instead, my input is done relationally, which is more natural. I try, with God’s help, to model the principles and values that have guided my life.
This morning, in the last session of one of our Institute modules, the group talked about why the process of the Institute works so well. One called it “magical”, noting that the learning comes not from the materials or the curriculum but from each other.
He concluded that it was “not an educational experience.” It is the community learning from each other. It’s the “secret sauce” to transformation, as it were.
Another, Ada Babajide from Lagos, Nigeria, said that she had turned down a scholarship to get a degree, but felt God was leading her in a different direction. Then she was introduced to MentorLink, its values, and later our Institute.
Ada said our Institute sessions has transformed her, through the working of the Holy Spirit in her life. She said it has totally changed her ministry.
She said being able to bring her hurts to the table and interacting with others in a safe place which was essential for healing. So many pastors, she said, are damaged, and they only pass on their damage to others if they are not healed.
So, the challenge for us is to realize that heart transformation rarely comes from content transfer. Lectures and often sermons don’t always lead to application. Millennials don’t want lectures. They want you to share your heart and your life experiences, both the good and the bad. As one millennial said, “If I wanted a lecture, I would ask my parents.”
MENTOR TAKEAWAY: Mentoring is not about content transfer or curriculum, but life transfer. Sharing one’s life with another is the best teacher.
WORSHIP: Listen to Christy Nockels sing “Let It Be Jesus” where the lyrics go “For me, to live is Christ”.
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