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?

Randy responded with these seven things:

  • Who have been helpful or hurtful people in their story?

  • Stories they talk about that surface an unusual amount of emotion in them. All of a sudden you notice they really spiked in anger, or happiness, or sadness.

  • Stories that cause a person to light up or bring joy. When they start talking about certain things, people, situations, topics, their face lights up.

  • Stories of perceived successes, failures, and struggle. Pay attention to when they share those stories. Ask a follow-up question.

  • How they understand their relationship with God now. It’s such a simple question to ask, “Tell me about your relationship with God right now.” And hear what they have to say.

  • Pay attention to what seems to be defining them now. How do you understand who you are right now? They will give you a lot of free information.

  • Ask the magic wand question. If you could wave your magic wand, what would you love to do or how would you make things different or how would you like to see things turn out? This is a great question to ask, but it can also surface many other things we may want to explore further.

I am curious with you, What are those key things YOU pay attention to when you listen to another person?

There is such a great diversity of effective mentors and spiritual companions. For this reason, it is important for us to remember those from whom we have received this mentoring attention. What did your mentors seem to pay attention to?

And it is important for us to discover the unique ways we are hooked up to companion others for their growth. Over this next season of life, I would invite you to be open to God’s nudging in your life. How is the Spirit shaping and equipping you to be a blessing to others as you walk with them?

We have two opportunities this fall to deepen your confidence as a spiritual companion or mentor.

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