#8 Plan for the Future. Ending a Mentoring Relationship.
Every spiritual mentoring relationship will end, so plan for it! Most of my mentoring relationships generally wind-down in 3-5 years. And, I need them to wind-down to be able to take on other men. I’ve also found that in that time frame, I’ve helped a man about as much as I’m able. My July 25 blog, I gave you some ideas how to prepare for that day, gracefully and purposefully.
In preparation for “graduation”, I very much want to make sure they have other men in their life who will cheer them on, after me. So, what does that look like?
Accountability groups are small circles of Christian friends committed to encouraging one another to live out the will of God for their lives.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I’ve been in a weekly accountability group for over 20 years. These five men have become my other spiritual mentors, cheering me on and speaking truth into my life.
Here’s the way we work.
1. Every year, each of us goes before God in prayer and asks the Holy Spirit to teach us what areas of our life need attention. We then write out 2-3 goals, things we feel God wants us to address in this coming year in these six areas; Spiritual, Our Spouse, Our Children, Vocationally, Friends and Extended family and Physical and Emotional Health.
2. Then each week, for the next six weeks, each of us present copies of our goals to the group. We also explain why we set these goals, and the obstacles we see to accomplishing them. We encourage advice from each person and ask them to pray for us. We do these four times each year.
3. In between these quarterly review meetings, we study scripture or a book to help us grow as godly men. But, the purpose of our group isn’t Bible study it’s accountability. We know that if there isn’t a flesh-and-blood person right in front of us, like a mentor would be, most of us would probably let ourselves slide. That’s just human nature. It’s also Satan’s goal that we would slide into spiritual mediocrity, what I’ve called in The 10-Second Rule – beige Christianity.
If you want to know more about how to find accountability partners and the practical steps to get started, you can download Accountability: Partners and Groups, from the STORE page of this website.
The bottom line is this; “The tyranny of the urgent” often robs us from developing the most important relationships of our lives. Help your protégé move seamlessly from a dependence on you, to other deeply spiritual relationships. They will be grateful forever for sending them off having encouraged them into this new adventure of personal and spiritual growth.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11