Your Silent Mentoring Partner

  • Harold Westing
  • Nov 28, 2001

When you are engaged in an informal mentoring setting there may not even be an exchange in words, only an observation of a master at work. On the other hand, when a formal mentoring session is in action, the substance of the dialogue is of utmost importance. Observing and listening in on discussions of numerous formal mentoring experiences gives me the sense that many sessions are no more than a friendly visit about what ever seems to be at hand. My assumption is that all mentoring sessions ought to be an exchange of an in-depth dialogue about character, godliness or ministry. When a stimulating author is party to your discussion, you can almost always count on some personal growth producing and stimulating exchange.

Here are some helpful guidelines about how to use books as a stimulating silent partner in mentoring experiences. 

  • Select various sections of scripture like Romans 12:9-19. (How to Get Along With Difficult People.)

  • Select a book which most effectively addresses the mentoree's current need.

  • It is helpful if both parties are agreed that they want to study the suggested book.

  • Only read a chapter or two between sessions. This way you can concentrate in depth on the issues that are addressed in the book. You needn't finish a book.

  • Prepare questions from the reading that will cause an honest interaction with the issues addressed in the book.

  • By the time you have concluded each session, you should focus in on a change of attitude, action or behavior that both of you need to deal with.

  • A strong value for using these silent partners is that both mentor and mentoree can interface with the subject at hand. 

Here are some silent partners that have proven to be helpful in making a journey effective:

Spiritual formation books:
  • A Work of Heart, Mc Neal, Jossey-Bass
  • A Journey of Desire, John Eldredge, Nelson
  • Abba's Child, Manning, NavPress.
Ministry books:
  • Create and Celebrate Your Church's Uniqueness, Westing, Kregel Press
  • The Other Side of Pastoral Ministry, Brown, Zondervan
  • Leading a Team Based Church, Cladis, Jossey-Bass
Character and personality books:
  • Uncommon Graces, Vawter, Navpress
  • Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership, McIntosh and Rima, Baker Books.
  • The Ascent of a Leader, Thrall, McNicol and McElrath, Jossey Bass
  • Imperative People, Dr. Les Carter, Nelson
Leadership books:
  • Church Staff Workbook, Westing, Kregel
  • Leading Edge,  Dale, Jossey-Bass
  • The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make, Finzel, Victor