Have you watched Ms Represented on the ABC? It’s a documentary series on the history of women in politics in Australia and I would highly recommend it to both men and women. It made me rejoice as I thanked God for the people who fought hard so that I can vote. It also made me furious at the misogyny that women in the house of representatives still live with. You will be aware of the recent avalanche of stories about gendered sexual violence. Christian Porter, Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame are just a few of the names making headlines in this area as perpetrators are being called to account. Yet there is another, related narrative, that it is men who are under attack. The criticism of ‘toxic masculinity’ has been perceived in some circles as a judgement that all masculinity is toxic. How do we speak about a God who reveals himself as Father through the Son when these masculine terms themselves are cause for suspicion by some?
Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) is known as the father of social psychology. His thinking gave rise to so many processes we take for granted today such as action research, change process theory and sensitivity training. He coined the term ‘group dynamics’, did ground-breaking work in analysing organisational culture and gave us the psychological equation B = ƒ(P, E), meaning that human behaviour is a function of the person in their environment. That seems obvious now, but it took Lewin to make it clear.
Perhaps the most useful thing Lewin came up with for mentoring is his ‘Force Field Analysis’, a tool that I use all the time in mentoring sessions in an informal, unstructured way and occasionally as a formal exercise. The FFA provides a framework for identifying the factors that influence a situation:
factors that drive movement toward a goal – ‘helping forces’
factors that block movement toward a goal – ‘hindering forces’
Is mentoring a ministry, a vocation or a profession?
The short answer is, yes!
This question was raised in one of our recent member ‘check-ins’, and it’s a great question to consider. One look at the ACMN website gives a clear indication that mentoring happens across informal, formal and professional levels.
Following from Tim Dyer’s insightful blog last month, here are a few additional thoughts in brief, dot-point form, about what kind of qualities help mentorees get the most out of their mentoring partnerships.
By Tim with help from ACMN members on our April 2021 Member Networking Zoom
My training was largely around the concepts, skills, resources, and practices that would enable me to become an effective mentor. I was also being mentored and there was comparatively little reflection on what might enable me to be a ‘good’ mentoree.
This would all make good sense if 90% of the effectiveness of mentoring was wrapped up in the role of the mentor. However, after mentoring now for over 20 years, I am very aware that this is not the case. In the most productive relationships I have been involved in, both mentor and mentoree bring different but equally significant elements to the relationship. Mentoring becomes a genuine partnership in which both mentor and mentoree have complementary roles to play.
All of us need someone to walk alongside us. We need to be loved and to love. We need to understand and to be understood. Whether old or young, women or men, from Asia, Africa, Europe, US, Australia or NZ, wealthy or without earthly riches, follower of Jesus, Buddha, Islam or atheist, liberal, Pentecostal, progressive, conservative or evangelical, pastor, large, medium or small church, denominational leader or business leader, we all need mentors. I’ve seen this for over 20 years. I’ve had the privilege to walk alongside people with all these backgrounds. And I’ve seen 6 keys that are able to unlock and guide people’s journeys. When using these 6 keys to specific areas, mentoring people is transformative.
One thing we are never short of in today’s world is information. Yet although many of us suffer from information overload our appetite for more and more content seems insatiable. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of consuming endless information without it doing us any good.
Mentoring can contribute something tremendously valuable here. Conversations with a mentor are an opportunity to do a mental stocktake and ask questions like
What information, theories and ideas have we got in our heads?
Following are 10 components of resilience with development strategies for times of adversity like COVID-19.
What we are experiencing with COVID-19 and its implications for community life is not just higher stress, it is unusual adversity. This requires more than simply up-scaling normal self-care practices. Self-care is critical and remains needed, however in times of adversity a different capacity we refer to as resilience is required for the length of time the adversity impacts us.
COVID-19 is creating significant adversity in ministry and leadership. As I talk with pastors, there are 10 ways in which this impact is being felt.
Pastoral load is significantly increasing because of the pandemic Many church members are anxious and stressed. They are isolated, fearful and some may be ill and even dying. At times like this people usually turn to the church for solace and at present the lack of physical church support is very challenging for them and for us who minister. In the last few weeks, I have heard of ministers making around 20 calls a day to members of their churches.