The author of Proverbs 15:22 tells us, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” There’s no profession, calling, or vision exempt from this universal truth. In order to accomplish what we’ve been called to do in this world, we need the wisdom and expertise of other people. And there are few better places to find and offer those kinds of relationships than within the context of the local church.
On Episode 72 of The Think Orange Podcast, we hear from three ministry leaders with their own unique experiences fostering mentoring relationships among those they lead. Virginia Ward integrates her leadership and motivational skills to bring us practical advice on fostering multigenerational relationships that lead to keychain leadership opportunities. Then guest hosts Sarah Bragg and Joseph Sojourner sit down with Jeff Henderson and Nick Salyers to talk about their organization Champion Tribes. They have a straightforward conversation on what it looks like to build young leaders and to seek mentors for oneself regardless of age, position, or background.
Virginia Ward explains the concept of keychain leadership from the book Growing Young (9:19)
Keychain leadership is not just about launching a student leadership team—it refers to having the capabilities, the power, and the access to leaders who carry the potential to empower young people (14:04)
How to know if you’re a keychain leadership-style church (17:41)
Great teaching is important, but you can’t download thoughtful mentoring (20:24)
Guest hosts Joseph Sojourner and Sarah Bragg interview Jeff Henderson and Nick Salyers (21:22)
Nick describes Champion Tribes’ history and vision (21:47)
Rite of passage journey is an important, but mostly forgotten practice in Western culture (24:39)
Nick shares how he’s learned from Jeff the humility of sending a handwritten note (29:57)
Ways senior leaders can take a mentorship role within their church (32:58)
Identifying who to mentor (36:45)
The benefits of “doing for one” (38:28)
Practical tips for mentoring (40:16)
Jeff shares about his mentors and the group he calls his advisory board (44:52)
You can’t pour out unless you’re being poured into (46:40)
Potential difficulties in mentoring relationships (49:05)
• Lack of intentionality
• An unclear purpose
How mentors can help set mentees up for a successful mentoring relationship (52:15)
The empowerment that comes from having someone you respect speak into your life (55:31)
Dave and Kevin’s final thoughts (58:46)
The impact virtual mentors can have (1:01:59)
People, Places & Helpful Resources
Jeff Henderson is the Lead Pastor of Gwinnett Church, the most recent multi-campus locations of North Point Ministries. Prior to Gwinnett Church, Jeff served as the Lead Pastor of Buckhead Church, North Point’s first multi-site location for seven years.
He spent 21 years in marketing, working most recently for Chick-fil-A, before beginning his roles with North Point Ministries. Jeff and his wife, Wendy have two children.
Nick was part of the founding tribe with his father, David, over ten years ago. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia where he competed as Division I athlete on the swim team. During Nick’s senior year, he qualified for the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials in the 100 meter backstroke. Nick is a co-founder of Champion Tribes and the co-author of Collegiate: 7 Big Ideas to Make College Awesome. Learn more about Nick at https://www.championtribes.com/new-homepage.
Quotes from This Episode
Ideas to Influence the Next Generation
One of the top reasons mentoring relationships fail—or never even begin—is a lack of intentionality. Whether it’s living far away, not being sure what to talk about, or a hectic schedule, we all have reasons that important conversation or promise to grab a cup of coffee didn’t happen. To get you started, here are some tips for getting your next mentor relationship off the ground:
Regardless of which side of the table you’re on as mentor or mentee, take your time to listen and ask questions that bring clarity. As a mentee, it’s your responsibility to communicate where you’re hoping to be down the road. As a mentor, you’ll be most effective if you understand where you’re trying to lead.
Keep it simple.
There are times when mentorship needs to be formal. We all need people who track with us over time and can see where we’re headed next. But sometimes we have one-off questions or a decision that requires expert advice. In those moments, don’t hesitate to send a simple text or ask for a mid-day, stand-up meeting over bagged lunches.
Take a cue.
Did you know there are people whose primary job is to help you be intentional? At Orange, we have teams of people focused on helping parents, small group leaders, and other ministry leaders win. To discover more, check out GoWeekly.com, LeadSmall.org, and TheParentCue.org.
Conversation Starters For Your Church
Was there ever a time I experienced keychain leadership in my own life? If so, what happened?
Would we describe ourselves as a church that practices keychain leadership? If yes, what does it look like? If no, why not?
What’s something we can do (or improve on) to help parents guide their children through milestone moments and rites of passage?
Grab a paper and pen and create two columns. On one side, write down characteristics you’re looking for in a mentor. (If you already have a mentor, great! Jot down a few words to describe why they’re you’re go-to person.) On the other side, write down a short list of people who you might lean into as a mentor in this coming season.
When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at daveadamson.tv.
Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.
Join Us Next Time
Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.
We hope you’ll join us in two weeks for episode 73, Helping Local Schools Win, with Leslie Bolser. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.