In a way, this book’s title is a bit of a misnomer. Not that it’s not about mentoring—and to be certain, the book’s main audience is mentors (of some sort). But really, this book is more about discovering what God’s already trying to do to grow us, what this process looks like, and therefore what we should be on the lookout for—and in fact, what we just need to step back and let God do.
Randy D. Reese and Robert Loane. Deep Mentoring: Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey. 240p., $20.00, IVP Books.
Thus, the subtitle captures the essence of this book more precisely. Even then, however, we probably need to expand our definition of the word “leader.”
Those familiar with the work of (president) Randy Reese’s and (educational designer) Robert Loane’s organization VantagePoint3—specifically The Emerging Journey, The Equipping Experience, and The Enriching Conversation courses/workbooks—will recognize the concepts (and sometimes even the wording) here pretty readily. For the majority of you who aren’t familiar, it’s worth noting that Reese is an enthusiastic disciple of J. Robert Clinton, whose Leadership Emergence Theory is all over this book. VP3’s (and this book’s) focus is on “Leading Out of Who We Are”—to help others discover how God has made them and to help them lead out of that, rather than try to fit them into some proscribed leadership mold.
And all of us are leading in some way, whether we think of it that way or not. Thus, as the authors put it early on, “There is a need for a subtle but critical paradigm shift—moving from an enlisting way of ministering in our communities to more of an investing way of ministering.”
There’s a lot of emphasis on the power of story throughout this, especially in the opening section “Noticing God’s Already-Present Action.” One of the assignments, given in pieces throughout the book, is the development of a personal narrative—chronicling your life and seeing how God has worked through it, whether you were aware of His presence at the time or not. Having worked through this, and shared it with a group (and vice versa), I can testify firsthand that’s it’s a powerful experience.
The second section is the bulk of the book, and walks us through four stages of development: Foundation, Preparation, Contribution and Multiplication. I won’t give it away but suffice to say the Contribution section whacked on me pretty hard. Example:
God’s transforming work within us must always precede the transforming work God desires to do through us. If this were not the case… we would crumble and disintegrate under the weight of God’s blessing and work. Why? Because our character and person could not hold up to what God wants to give us.
For someone who’s been in an extended waiting period, those were good words to hear.
The third and final section is devoted to how to implement leadership formation. In the authors’ words, “we are involved in a deepening work, a particularizing work, a hospitable work, and a patient work…. Christian leadership formation is an act of cultural resistance. As we stay true to our work, we will naturally guide the leadership formation of others with greater particularity and care in Jesus’ name. It will become our nature.”
This is a book that’s making my re-reads list. There’s a lot here to absorb—and more importantly, a lot left here to grow into. (Personally, I hope that by the next time I read this—which should be about September 2016 [yeah, I’m like that]—I’ll be wrestling more with Multiplication.) But if you’re engaged in growing the people around you—and you are—you owe it to yourself to start working through this.