A Book Discussion

At VantagePoint3, we have been cultivating the art of seeing others for 23 years . Close friends know that we call this “particularizing a person.” As our lives and the communities we lead continue to re-calibrate and lean into what matters most in 2024, the importance of relationships is front and center


As a team, we have been captivated by David Brooks’ newest book, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen. 


David Brooks is an outstanding, curious journalist with a proven track record as an author and thought leader. He wrote this book out of a desire to improve his human relationship skills and out of the conviction that he wasn’t very good at seeing and noticing others. Brooks believes that one of society’s most pressing needs is to go deeper with others. He also builds the case through the book that this skill can be learned.


In a New York Times interview, Brooks says, “I’m not an exceptional person, but I am a grower. I do have the ability to look at my shortcomings and then try to prod myself into becoming a more fully developed person.” 


At VantagePoint3, we are a network of “growers.”  That’s what God made us to do! But we can develop this more deeply for ourselves and those we lead!


Brooks goes on to say, “Being openhearted is a prerequisite for being a full, kind and wise human being. But it is not enough. People need social skills. The real process of, say, building a friendship or creating a community involves performing a series of small, concrete actions well:

  • Being curious about other people
  • Disagreeing without poisoning relationships
  • Revealing vulnerability at an appropriate pace
  • Being a good listener
  • Knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness
  • Knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced
  • Knowing how to see things from another’s point of view.”

I’ve slowly inhaled Brooks’ book from cover to cover with more underlines and dog-eared pages than those that are not. He is talking about the work we do through building up mentors and our VP3 processes, but he does so with language, depth, and insights that are helping me improve my skill set and desire to hear and see others more deeply.

Are you captivated yet??

Mentoring matters.

Mentoring matters.

I have been rereading David Kinnaman’s essay, “The Need to Rediscover: Mentoring as a Crucial Formation Process.” He thoughtfully writes about the need for mentoring among young adults within the Church. His conclusions stretch far beyond the confines of young adult faith development into the whole lifespan of adult faith development. His last three paragraphs capture both the challenge and the opportunity before us as men and women who care deeply about helping others develop and mature in Christ. Kinnaman writes,

There are so many compelling reasons to institute mentoring in our schools, churches, and communities. Though it can be hard to get it off the ground and you’ll confront obstacles—people are busy, they don’t think they have the abilities and/or time, or they just have never mentored before—there’s so much opportunity.

            Even in Scripture, we see how Jesus chose his disciples to mentor them. In fact, the real lasting impact of Jesus’s life on earth was through the relationships with those who were closest to him. Perhaps we’ve relied too heavily on mechanisms that attempt to mass-produce disciples. We’ve created this sort of automated approach, and yet there’s so much to be gained for the Christian community to come alongside young people in a life-on-life manner and provide this kind of meaningful, catalyzing agent in the form of mentoring.

            Mentoring matters. It’s time for the church and agents into which it breathes life, such as colleges and universities, to rediscover this crucial formation process.*

Whatever we call it— mentoring, spiritual friendship, spiritual direction—we need more men and women who can confidently and humbly come alongside others and make intentional space for deeper discovery on the journey. This is how the good news is transmitted from one generation to another, life upon life. Jesus has never been in the work of mass-producing disciples. Spirit of God, be generous in your relational way among us and through us…

Join us for our next Online Mentor’s Workshop.

*David Kinnaman, “ The Need to Rediscover: Mentoring as a Crucial Formation Process” in Cultivating Mentors: Sharing Wisdom in Christian Higher Educationeds. Todd Ream, Jerry Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers, (IVP, 2022), p 31.

Not a spectator sport…

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. -Jesus (Matthew 7:24).

We face tremendous pressure in our lives today to be spectators of this Jesus. But faithful living has never been a spectator sport. Danish Christian thinker Soren Kierkegaard emphasized this by drawing a contrast between being an admirer and being an imitator. He wrote:

What, then, is the difference between an admirer and an imitator? An imitator is one who strives to be what he admires, and an admirer keeps himself personally detached, consciously or unconsciously does not discover that what is admired involves a claim upon him to be or at least to strive to be what is admired.

We can become settled in our admiration of Jesus and thereby keep his claim on our lives at a safe distance. But Jesus is seeking something far different than mere admirers. Jesus calls us to so appreciate who he is that we turn from our way of life to imitate him. We get out of the stands and onto the field into the action and follow him. Read More


One of the things our VantagePoint3 team has been paying close attention to over the past few years has been mentoring. Our deep conviction is that a “mentoring attention” is required if leaders are going to help men and women grow up into Christ in every way (Eph 4:15).

A Mentoring Guide: Christ. Conversation. Companionship, this website amentoringway.org , as well as mentoring workshops, and our most recent course “Spiritual Mentoring: Recovering A Leadership of Companionship” have all been expressions of our belief that the quality of our relationships significantly shapes our ongoing growth and maturity.

This mentoring effort continues with the launch of 30 DAYS OF MENTORING! Each day you can expect an email with a quick one-to-three-minute read that will include quotes, short videos, guidance, and encouragement. We are excited to share with you sections from our mentoring guide as well as introduce you to others whose voices encourage us in our mentoring way work. Read More

What do you listen for?

There is no one-size-fits-all technique for mentoring. So don’t try to squeeze yourself into a mold of how others mentor. Be open to discovering the ways the Spirit has uniquely wired you to pay attention and companion others.

That said, there is much we can learn from other wise people who have walked well with others. VantagePoint3’s founder Randy Reese is one of those wise friends in my life from whom I learned much over the years.

A couple of years before his sudden passing six years ago I asked him on a webinar, As a mentor or spiritual friend to many, Randy, are there certain things you listen for along the way? Read More

Jesus’ Way with Others

I have been inspired recently by Emily P. Freeman’s words when she writes,

“I have a vision of a generation of believers who understand that the goal of life is Jesus and all the ways he wants to offer himself both to us and through us to the world.”

Yes, yes, yes! 

Beginning with Jesus’ earliest words to the men and women who would become his disciples, “Follow me,” Christianity has understood itself to be a faith imparted by one to another. For in Jesus we discover not only a worthy model for the journey but also an intimate invitation to a life together. Jesus reaches out by his Spirit, speaking and sharing his stunning life with us. 

Over the last couple of months leading to Easter, I have been offering reflections upon Jesus’ distinctive way of being with others. One could even call it his mentoring way. He continues by his Spirit to develop his followers in this same mentoring way today, life upon life. 

We have put these short reflections into an easily accessible and downloadable format:

Reflections on Imitating Jesus’ Way with Others

Take a look and ponder: Where might Jesus be inviting you to a deeper relational life with himself and with others?

A Longing for Spiritual Conversation…

A few years ago I stumbled across a journal entry of Henri Nouwen; and as so often before, his words deeply resonated with my heart. Nouwen wrote,

“I have come to realize how hard it is to have a real spiritual conversation. I keep wondering how people with deep religious convictions can speak together at table about the life of the Spirit…. It always strikes me how grateful people are for a good spiritual conversation, but also how hard it is to make such a conversation happen.”

In the circles in which I move, I sense a longing among people for better conversations, more soulish conversations, conversations around the big questions and wonderings of their lives. And yet, despite all this longing, people confess a reluctance, or perhaps inability, to initiate such spiritual conversations. Why is this and what can we, who feel such things, do about it? 

From youth soccer sidelines or neighborhood chit chat to informal dinner conversations to small group Bible Studies or mentoring appointments, how can we deepen our conversations?

To begin with, I want to invite you to watch our webinar Jump Starts for Intentional Spiritual Conversations, in which we dove into this set of questions. 

In preparation for this time, I found myself deeply affirming that the quality of conversation we offer others is inextricably tied to the quality of attention we provide others. How then can we grow in an attentiveness that leads to cultivating more meaningful spiritual conversation? 

Three initial thoughts come to mind, growing edges of sorts, for those of us who long for better spiritual companionship and conversation.  Read More

Mentoring is for Everyone

Shortly after Randy had become a follower of Jesus, he met Warren, a successful farmer who had the biggest farming equipment Randy had ever seen. If you come from a farming community, it was the kind of equipment you wish you had the opportunity to play with. Warren was also a big man, the kind you would be glad to have on your side if need be.

 While Warren worked the fields with his Versatile 875 tractor, Randy would come out to have coffee with him. The conversations always turned to how each was doing in their walk with the Lord, and what might be hindering their walk. Even in the everyday ordinariness of life—riding a tractor in this typical farming community of Yorkton, Saskatchewan—amidst the hilarious laughter, and at times through swelling tears, in their midst they discovered God. 

 Although Warren did not have a seminary degree, and even though he didn’t go to the latest mentoring seminar, he had an intuitive way of making space for Randy’s life. He asked the right questions—questions that probed, allowing Randy to discover the Spirit’s leading. Through Warren and these conversations, Randy came to see himself truly—and he discovered how his life might be used to serve God in the future. But, more than that, through Warren’s companionship, Randy experienced the real and present love of God. Read More

Take a risk

God has ordained things that we grow in faith only through the frail instrumentality of one another.

St. John of the Cross


Our growth in Christ does not occur in isolation; it takes place within the company of others who provide presence and perspective along the journey.

One specific form of being “in the company of others” is called spiritual mentoring; that is, a relationship between two or more people and the Holy Spirit where we can discover who God is, who we are, and what God desires to do through us.

Finding a spiritual mentor or even being a spiritual mentor has been a proven way over the years of discovering more of what this life with God is all about.


Craig had never thought about mentoring before. It was during his facilitator training retreat for The Journey that he first heard about walking with another person in an intentional spiritual friendship. “The more I thought about what I’ve read in the Scriptures,” Craig, 63, said, “it seemed to me that mentoring relationships have been lost in the church for decades.” Read More

The Great Mentor

God is already up to something good…

Helping others grow up into Christ rests on an understanding and conviction that the primary shaping work in a person’s life belongs to God. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). Our burden as people, and as mentors in particular, is to first be alert and receptive to God’s relentlessly creative handiwork in the world. All our best thinking and acting, listening and asking questions and praying, is secondary to and cooperative with the Spirit’s work.

This is such good news for us. Read More