In the middle of my mentoring meeting, I look down at my watch, and it reads ten minutes until 9:00pm. But I look at my Conversation Guide, and it says it should be 8:20pm. How did I get 30 minutes behind? What do I do now?
The answer . . . take a break.
What? Take a break? When I’m already behind?
Yes. Give your guys some time to talk to each other and give yourself some time to pray and regroup. Take a moment and step into another room. Look at what you’ve covered. Look at what’s left to discuss. Ask the Father, “Lord, what would you have me do with the time we have left tonight?” Then listen. “What about the guys, Lord? 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 guys. 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 his net-out. Or if everyone doesn’t recite the Scriptures they memorized. People are more important than process.
I’m not saying 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 the guys go on too long. Tighten it up next time. This is God’s deal, not yours. Let the Holy Spirit lead. 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 there a guy in the group who’s monopolizing the conversation?” “Do I need to speak to him one-on-one? Is that guy me?” Do the talk meter exercise. Draw a circle and then make a piece of pie for every guy, including you. Was the conversation balanced or dominated by one or two people? Be careful about talking too much. A good mentor listens more than he talks. 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 too? Are you going beyond what Scripture and your personal experience with God is 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)