I am big fan of mentors and some form of attaching yourself to wisdom. Especially as a follower of Jesus, we must always keep at the forefront that following is an action, and becoming better is a have to. So at 24 years old I attached myself to Kerri Weems. Not in a weird stalker way but in a, “God, I see that she loves you and is doing it better than me, so I’m going to do my best to learn from her life.” And so I watched from a far, I took notes, I learned. I messed up, I stumbled, I dusted myself off. It wasn’t easy, it’s still not easy, but I’ve been intentional and it’s made me a better person. At 30 years old God saw fit to make me her assistant. And so I watched from very close, I took notes, I learned. I messed up, I stumbled, I dusted myself off. Now, in my new position, I am back to watching her from afar, but this time there are others near to me watching me this go round, taking notes and stumbling; its all a beautiful cycle of helping lead people to Jesus and sharpening the rough edges so more people can know Jesus through our lives. Today I watched my pastor, mentor and friend preach a monster message and I could not stop myself from shouting her down and clapping and being excited to hear about all God had revealed to her. And it was then that God kindly reminded me of the following things. He lovingly reminded me of some life lessons she taught me that are helping me in this new season of leading people, people that will one day surpass me and who I am humbly honored to lend my shoulders to.
Develop uniqueness, don’t reproduce yourself.
Pk and I are night and day. But she never tried to change me. She never looked down on my sassy humor, she just guided it. She never looked down on the fact that I’d show up to conference in a members only jacket and sneakers instead of heels and blazer. She developed me, and helped develop my vision to see what God was doing in and through me. The person you are helping along shouldn’t become another version of you, but a better version of themselves.
Don’t shy away from hard conversations
I still remember the hardest convo I ever had with my pastor. I can tell you what I was wearing, where I sat in her office and the look on her face as she went ‘there’. Flattery shy’s away from healthy conflict but love see’s it through. If you love people, you’ll go there, you’ll fight it out with compassion and understanding. Love see’s people through and love points people in the right direction.
Encourage roots, not fruit
If you teach someone to develop the fruit of their life and their gifting sets but you never teach them that dormancy and hiddenness is a must, and a totally okay season then you’ll set them up for a fail. If they never learn to sit and be still and allow life to grow their roots they’ll be susceptible to the storms. And life is infamous for uprooting shallow trees that look mighty but aren’t rooted; so encourage people to get planted. Fruit is awesome, God gives fruit, but fruit doesn’t last, root systems do.
So if you are a mentor or you’re being mentored remember that the greatest leaders invest and develop uniqueness, love people through storms, and remind others that roots are the way to go.