Mentorship and Leadership Matters!!!
Having lived my formative years during the struggle against apartheid, I learned some important truths about leadership and mentorship. Often it looked different than the mentorship and leadership we are most familiar with. Because leadership was not endorsed by an institution, at times needed to be discreet, often came at great risk, and was a grassroots movement, people did not give themselves titles, nor seem to care about them. Most typically, they surfaced as leaders because they immersed themselves in relationships with others and “did the work”. From my earliest days, this model imprinted itself on my life. I saw that leaders were not so much selected by a process but rather emerged through their actions. That was also true in my own experience, as there were many who invested in my well-being, yet never identified themselves as mentors or leaders. This included my grandmothers, mothers, and aunts, who created space for me to learn and to be loved. In hindsight, I dare to say that I was mentored to lead in that way. In difficult times, like the Covid 19 pandemic and the national reckoning with white supremacy, how do we create space for others to learn and be loved?
I think that is the question for our parish at St John’s in this season of Epiphany. What spaces are we creating for people to learn and be loved? Last Sunday, the Old Testament reading invited us to follow the example of Samuel and Eli’s listening, obedience, and humility. Likewise, the New Testament encouraged us to be like Philip and Nathanael in finding others and creating gracious spaces to see afresh and let love penetrate. I want to make a plea to all of us: Never take for granted the mundane things you do for others. In whatever way, you are leading and mentoring others. Leadership is not always a title, but is most profoundly an action, often seen in the most ordinary of ways.
I want to give thanks for a few ways I see that kind of ‘leadership’ in action here at St John’s:
● Thank you for those who accepted the invitation to mentor our young people through
the EYC initiative.
● Thank you to those who attended Braver Angels with Mo. Sarah
● Thank you to those who are willing to lead and serve in the Digital ministry.
● Thank you to those who are tirelessly serving their families and children.
● Thank you to those who are checking in with their neighbors.
Would you consider ways in this new year that you can lead and mentor others…