NYWC: Mark Matlock on Mentoring

Mark Matlock, who founded Wisdom Works Ministries, led a seminar this morning on Mentoring with Wisdom in Mind. His main idea was that when we teach wisdom, we're giving students a framework of general rules and principles that they can apply to situations in their lives in order to make Godly decisions about them.

Since I'm in a teacher education program at the moment, backing up my youth ministry training at Wartburg, some of the concepts he used were very familiar. Mark is offering youth ministers an almost scientific approach to finding out where students are in their spiritual growth, using rubrics and surveys and keeping lots of notes on the students we mentor so that we can track where they're growing and where they're being challenged and tailor the experiences we provide for them to meet those needs.

Mark reminded us that youth ministers can only do this kind of deep mentoring with a few students at a time, so a minister who wants to use these ideas will end up spending a lot of time working with adults, training them so that there's someone to do mentoring ministry with each student.

He also leans on experience and practice, lots of rehearsal and role-play, to give kids the opportunity to practice the decisions they'll make in a situation where it's safe.

One challenge Mark gave us was to take our debriefing process farther when we go on trips or service projects or any other kind of experience that needs thinking about. He said that we typically go as far as analysis, but that we need then to talk about what we should do with our knowledge. After that step, we can do what he calls "problem-finding," looking for ways, once we're back in our regular life-zones, to go to the problems that need solving.

Mark's talk used a lot of info from Proverbs, which he calls "concentrated wisdom" that we don't usually need to interpret, the way we do with a lot of other passages we use. This spring, WisdomWorks will bring out a set of 55 proverbs on a deck of cards that students can sort through when they come to us with problems and identify wisdom that applies to their situation. These should be pretty cool.

No comments: