February 14, 2022
by Greg Henson, CEO, Kairos University and President, Sioux Falls Seminary and David Woolverton, Kairos Affiliate Professor
Today we begin the next category of our “how to” series. Over the next several weeks, we are going to take a deep dive into mentoring. We will begin with a few posts that provide an overview of mentoring and then move to some posts that focus on best practices for mentors as they engage with students and other mentors. Finally, we will describe a few ways that mentors can access additional support and resources.
Let’s jump in!
Mentors and mentor teams are a core aspect of everyone’s journey through Kairos. It is one of six principles of CBTE. We refer to this principle as “mentored teamwork,” and you can read what we say about that principle here. In the article, we note:
“Kairos invites each member of the team to see himself or herself as a sojourner, co-learner, and disciple of Jesus. As a team, they are shaping, evaluating, and experiencing a journey of discipleship that is informed by the context and vocation of the student…Each member of the team is engaged in a journey of discipleship, each member is learning together.”
Within an educational philosophy that begins and ends with discipleship, the mentor team is central in importance. Mentoring captures the essence of apprenticeship – engaging students in real-time contextual learning, in conjunction with high-quality theoretical and practical content. The result is a graduate whose capacities in content, character, and craft have been expanded, equipping them to be faithful followers of Jesus who flourish within their vocations as participants in the Kingdom movement. In simple terms, mentors make us better – better students, better leaders, better followers, better ambassadors for the gospel.
Mentoring also reproduces what’s invested: Having received from others before them, mentors entrust to faithful people what they hope will be passed on to others (2 Timothy 2:2; Philippians 4:9). Content, character, and craft are all reproducible. The materials and learning processes within Kairos are meant to equip followers of Jesus who will pour themselves into others for the sake of the gospel. The ultimate goal of the mentoring relationship within a learning environment centered on the person and work of Jesus Christ is to multiply exponentially as we join God on mission. Jesus preached to a crowd, he called and sent twelve, and he invested himself most intimately with three. By the time of Acts 1, the number of gathered disciples was 120 (Acts 1:15). Less than two months later, the church had over 3,000. Mentoring multiplies.
Mentoring also makes a student’s educational experience three-dimensional. It’s no longer about finishing a certain number of courses, passing tests, and getting grades. It’s about walking with others who will help students develop and demonstrate proficiency while being held accountable for their own personal and professional growth. It’s about celebrating what students already know while inviting students and mentors to grow deeper in character, stronger in content, and wiser in craft. Mentoring puts learning into real-time contexts with real-live feedback.
But how? Why? What does it look like? These are great questions. Join us over the coming weeks as we look at the “who, what, how, and why” of mentoring within Kairos. Next week, we will explore a few common misconceptions about mentoring.