HDJM? Mentoring, Old School!

If you want to develop people, you could do a lot worse than to follow the example of Jesus.

No, this is not a religious blog. You don’t have to join a church, nor is it necessary that you profess any particular religious dogma or creed. I’m just saying that Jesus knew a thing or two about developing people.

If you’ve read the gospels, you know that Jesus had a message: Follow Me. And he had a mission: Spread the Word. He had three years to accomplish His mission, and to help Him He had twelve team members.

And if you are a leader, you have a mission and team members to help you, too.

I’m not really changing the subject, but…What has 399 eyes and 416 teeth? The front row of a Garth Brooks’ concert! Hey, don’t be mad at me. I like country music, and I like Garth Brooks. But I’m pretty sure the point of that “joke” is to denigrate country music and country music fans, right?

So let me use that to say a word about the team Jesus gathered: Jesus attracted a host of people who might have been called rednecks or hillbillies, people like Peter and Andrew, both fishermen, lacking formal education and no doubt smelled of the sea; Matthew the tax collector, a profession so reviled that no respecting Jew would be found in the company of one; brothers James and John who were known as “The Sons of Thunder” (making them sound like founding members of the World Wide Wrestling Federation); Thomas, famous for doubting Jesus; Judas who betrayed Jesus.

If you are a leader, some of your followers might be rough around the edges, people you wouldn’t necessarily trust to water your office plants much less deliver on your goals.

Jesus didn’t hand-pick Harvard MBA’s to carry his message. Jesus didn’t hold auditions like He was sponsoring an early version of Nazareth’s Got Talent to see which twelve might be the most worthy of His company. No. Jesus said, Follow Me. Jesus called those twelve members along with many, many others. What set this twelve apart from the rest is that they answered His call. 

If you are a leader, try to attract talented employees. But don’t be afraid to select those with less talent and natural ability if they have a high degree of passion and hunger for the job.

Jesus didn’t expect perfection. For example, Peter, the one Roman Catholics call the first Pope, denied that he even knew Jesus when he was under pressure from the authorities. In fact, Peter spewed out a line of ^&%$#@ to prove that he was no friend of Jesus. Was Peter perfect? Heck, no. In that moment, He was spineless! But Jesus was okay with that. He worked with any who were willing to follow and learn. He developed them, let them walk alongside of Him. He challenged them, pushed their thinking. And finally, He commissioned them to deliver on His mission.

If you are a leader, don’t expect a team of Michael Jordan’s. If you wait to find a superstar, you’ll waste time that you could be spending developing people to a higher level of mastery.

Finally, Jesus empowered His imperfect followers to get some practice while He was still walking with them. Jesus had a three year mission on Earth, three years to infuse His team with the right attitudes, the right thoughts, the right values, and the right actions. After that, they were on their own. Jesus trusted them to try (and fail) while He was still there to guide them.

If you lead others, you can’t wait until they are “ready” before you let them try things on their own. They will fail. Count on it. But if you’ve taught them well, they will remember enough to carry your mission and your work forward for others to see years down the road.

HDJM (How Did Jesus Mentor)? What He did was…

  • KNOW HIS TEAM
  • TAKE EACH MEMBER WHERE THEY WERE
  • SELECT MEMBERS BASED ON PASSION
  • EMPOWER THEM TO GET THE JOB DONE

Let’s see Garth Brooks top that…

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