Written by Geoffrey Hughes, Photo by Christy Tang
This year’s “Riding the Waves” Conference was a thorough time of learning about the ins-and-outs of mentorship. Attendees received a diverse collection of lessons and details from the conference speakers explaining how mentorship is about trust, effort, time, and building relationships. Youth pastors, church workers, teacher’s assistants, and others who were interested in the topic came to learn more about mentoring and were reminded that youth ministry is essentially all about Christ.
The keynote message was given by Dr. Benjamin Shin, who shared from his experience on how to effectively mentor the next generation. He said, “Mentorship can be an essential part in getting students interested in spiritual matters.” He mentioned, however, that these things are competing with students’ other interests such as academic pursuits, sporting events on Sundays, etc. Dr. Shin exhorted us to realize that God’s people cannot give up time with the Lord for other activities. He went on to say that there may not be one way of mentoring that fits all youth, and most people want something greater to believe in and somewhere to aim for beyond where they are at. “The goal,” he said, “is to find how God has made them and to send them forth in doing the good works which God has prepared for them to do.”
In the first morning workshop, Rev. Dr. Richard Chung talked about coaching and caring skills in mentorship, teaching, “the art of communication in coaching and how to show care and concern.” He said that you can choose a mentor by looking for someone who is stable, and that mentoring is about relational and spiritual maturity and direction, resulting in a long and steady growth—not perfection. Rev. Dr. Chung explained that it is important for mentors to be asking the Lord about how to respond, allowing the response to be formed by an understanding of what the mentee is saying rather than thinking about your own response. He said, “A mentor will always have to pray for wisdom about how to respond in showing compassion or even in challenging the individual being mentored to grow in certain ways.”
Dr. Agnes Ip explored personality profiles and conflict resolution in the second workshop. Through lesson-based exercises, Dr. Ip taught about how, “Understanding different personality types can help you identify suitable roles for your leaders and better equip leaders on how to respond to conflict.” She reviewed personality styles and learning styles, encouraging everyone to assess their own learning style to support a safe learning environment. She exhorted attendees to prepare for handling conflicts through understanding personal challenges, monitoring personal reactions, and going about confrontation in a good way. Dr. Ip said, “Understanding how personal challenges and experiences influence your work with a mentee will help each mentor to prepare to handle conflicts because personalities play a role in conflict and in mentorship as a whole as well.”
Family therapist Annette Jewik, LMFT, talked about having important boundaries to, “Create a respectful mentorship relationship and to build rapport.” The differences in values and characteristics between friendship and mentorship were explored, such as the need for explicit boundaries in mentorship that may not be necessary in friendship. She also said that mentorship relationships need defined times of being with one another.
- Learning about Mentorship from “Riding the Waves” - May 29, 2015