In the middle of your mentoring meeting, you look down at your watch, and it reads ten minutes until 9:00pm. But you look at your Meeting Guide, and it says it should be 8:20pm. How did we get thirty minutes behind? What now?
The answer…take a break.
What? Take a break? When we’re already behind?
Yes. Give your mentees some time to talk to each other and give yourself a moment to step into another room to pray and regroup. Look at what you’ve covered. Look at what’s left to discuss. Ask God, “What would you have me do with the time we have left tonight?” Then listen. “What about the mentees, God? Is there one who needs to say something? Who has a burden? Who’s been overlooked tonight?” Listen, really listen. Then revamp your agenda and roll on.
Radical Mentoring isn’t about covering the material. It’s about intersecting with your mentees. Loving them. Listening to them. Encouraging them. Challenging them. It’s not the end of the world if someone doesn’t get to spend ten minutes covering their net-out. Or if everyone doesn’t recite the Scriptures they memorized. People are more important than process.
Now don’t throw it all to the wind. The assignments and accountability are what make Radical Mentoring attractive and transformational. And if you’re always behind, put a check on it. Either you’re talking too much, or you’re letting your mentees go on too long. Tighten it up next time. Let the Holy Spirit lead. This is God’s deal, not yours. He’ll get it right even when you don’t.
And remember to slow down for ten minutes after each meeting. Debrief yourself. Review how it went. “What could I have done to manage the time better?” “Is someone in the group monopolizing the conversation?” “Do I need to speak to them one-on-one? Is that person me?” Do the talk meter exercise. Draw a circle and then make a piece of pie for each mentee, plus you. Was the conversation balanced or dominated by one or two? Be careful about talking too much. A good mentor listens more than they talk. Are you getting behind because you’re talking more than is helpful? Remember, unsolicited advice is usually received as criticism. Are you meddling? Are you teaching Sunday school without meaning to? Are you going beyond what Scripture and your personal experience with God are saying? Make notes now about what you’ll change next month.
God is in charge. Slow down. Let Him lead.
Scripture: In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Mentor Tip: When it comes to managing your meeting, the way to do it right is to be yourself. Make the agenda your own. Think of your session in sections and manage your time that way. Let it flow, within reason, and be flexible as the Holy Spirit leads.
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