Table Mentoring: A Simple Guide to Coming Alongside Kindle Edition
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"Mentoring, at a table or not, needs to be part of every believer’s life. We know God so that we can help another to know God. We come alongside and show the way. And what a gift that is—to the mentor and to the mentee. Blessed to be a blessing."
I love how Sue expresses the value in both being a mentor and having a mentor. I think it's easy to get stuck with doing only one or the other. She does an amazing job supporting every point with Biblical references and she writes her books in such a fun and easy-to-read way! Reading this book, I feel like I'm sitting across from her with a cup of coffee as she is pouring into my life and mentoring me. It's a quick read and FULL of gold nuggets!
Mentoring doesn't have to be complicated, but for those who might need a tool or two to build confidence, she includes various worksheets, inspiring quotes, prayers from Scripture, suggested further reading, and other tidbits in the back of the book.
Just add a fresh pan of brownies, a pot of hot coffee (or tea!) and a heart hungry for someone to come alongside.
*I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
Fortunately for me, another uncontrollable force in her life was the power of God. She had an ongoing relationship with Him that continually pushed her outside her comfort zone, and even though the word "mentor" wasn't being thrown around back in the seventies, that's certainly what she was to me. We pulled chairs up to that defiant horizontal surface, pushed the butter dish out of the way, and opened our Bibles together. Her whole-hearted pressing on to know the Lord marked me in ways that I'm still discovering nearly forty years later.
Table Mentoring is a matter of coming alongside another person, and Sue Moore Donaldson has Scriptural backing for her assertion:
"God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, He brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." ~I Corinthians 1:3,4
Our natural inclination when it comes to mentoring is to play the unqualified card. "Who, me? I'm too [fill in the blank]. Too young, too old, too inexperienced, too busy, too over-committed, too introverted, too tired, too ignorant . . .
Quietly, Sue pulls her chair up beside mine and shares these two objection -silencing considerations:
God is the primary Mentor, and the first qualification for mentoring another is having first been mentored by God. It is not my own holy perfection or infallible wisdom that is being required. However, "as we experience God's 'alongsideness' in our up's and down's, joys and sorrows, we can more naturally share His overflow with someone who is where we have been." (8)
The second qualification for mentoring another is a willingness to take on the risk of relationship. The vulnerable sharing of our own lives is an open door. Furthermore, the experiences God has custom-designed and the thin slice of knowledge I may possess may be exactly the gift someone else is waiting to receive.
Sue's simple guide to coming alongside moves quickly from theory to practice. She has developed worksheets which can be implemented for structuring a mentor meeting time, for quiet time inspiration, prayer, and beginning Bible study. They can also be printed in 8 ½ by 11 size at her Welcome Heart website.
As I read, I found myself putting together an agenda for an imaginary future mentor meeting that looks something like this:
I. Goal setting. Ask: "What would you like to get out of our time together?"
II. Getting to know you. Ask questions about family, work, current challenges.
III. Strengthening one another's walk with God. This is where fine-tuning becomes important. Will the mentoring relationship look like a Bible study? There is great benefit to be found in simply reading the Bible together and pooling questions and insights. Will you read a book together and discuss it in your meetings? Sue uses a Personal Growth Plan (available here) to discern the needs and concerns of her learner.
Chapter 5 of Table Mentoring quieted my racing heart with some very important details:
Decide ahead of time how long you will meet and how frequently. Sue suggests twice a month for three months. This is very reasonable, and if a sunset is put in place at the beginning, no one will feel as if they are embarking upon a life sentence.
Time limits are a reasonable concern. It may be best to go to someone's home so that you can set the limit. ("Whoops! Looks like I'll need to run!")
Both participants will demonstrate their commitment by putting the meetings on a calendar. My experience is that if I do not write it down, it does not happen.
Sue's writing style is unique, and I continually found myself underlining encouraging statements. In keeping with the table theme, let's call these Sue's Mini-Muffins of Wisdom:
"Not feeling adequate shows that you are more ready than you think."
"I don't have anything worth passing on to another if I'm not regularly working on my personal relationship with God."
"If you know one promise in God's Word, you are ready to mentor that one promise. Ask God for someone to share it with today."
"You and I are blessed to be a blessing."
My reading of Table Mentoring felt like a specific invitation to move forward into this challenge. Therefore, I have begun praying for an open heart and for the right person at the right time. I am also praying to be BECOMING the right person to come alongside a sister who is looking for a welcoming heart, to offer the gift and the accountability of a side-by-side seeking after God.
This book was provided by the author in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Sue's wisdom flows alongside her humor and bluntness. You will feel as if you've known her for years when you open these pages. It is a quick read and provides questions to ponder/answer in each chapter, as well as free resources in the back.
This is now a favorite of mine; a practical guide that I can picture myself sharing with the ladies at our church. When reading it aloud with my husband we just changed the word "she" to "he" or "them" -- because it would work well with men mentoring men as well!
All the questions ever floating in my head about being mentored or mentoring have been answered within this small but packed book. I am excited to pray about and apply this advice & principals into my own life; excited to see where God takes it!
Thank you Sue, for sharing such rich knowledge and experience with us so that we can learn to let wisdom lead us as we learn to lead others.