“I have a basic philosophy: If I can help you win, then we all win. If I can help you succeed in what God has called you to do, then we all win.”
Pete Henderson is known around CRM as someone with a love and natural affinity for mentoring. In fact, he sees mentoring relationships with younger men as one of his key contributions to God’s Kingdom. So it seemed natural to sit down with him one day and find out why he believes mentoring the next generation is so crucial. Here’s what he has to share on why and how he’s contributing to gospel movements through mentoring.
There’s a phrase I’ve adopted, which is “Everybody has something to teach me,” regardless of what their age is. I love learning from other people, so it’s not difficult to ask questions and learn. That was taught to me by my mother, who can actually overwhelm me with questions; my father’s really good at listening as well. James 1:19 says, “Be quick to listen and slow to speak.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that, so I try to do those things.
In one way, mentoring others is just obedience to the gospel, and the command to go and make disciples. Paul talks to Timothy about three generations of mentoring or coaching: What you’ve heard from me entrust to others who will also teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). I took that to heart at age 22 when I was a college pastor, ministering to college students. I have been mentored by many others, and experienced the value and power of it. I learned a lot by mentoring others in my twenties, and the reward of it was so high that I just wanted to continue doing it.
I have a high value for investing in the next generation, because they’re absolutely worth it. We need the next generation to carry on the work of God. It’s imperative. I have a basic philosophy: If I can help you win, then we all win. If I can help you succeed in what God has called you to do, then we all win. I really believe that, and it’s worth investing in the next generation of leaders, particularly those with great promise and Kingdom possibilities.
There’s a lot of emotional energy that’s required in mentoring. I’ve had to learn not to overwhelm myself with too many people at one time. So I value leaders who are going to make a difference and have the potential for a really high yield because of their influence. I’m intentional about who I choose to spend time with. It’s not just mentoring for the sake of mentoring; it’s mentoring with a mission and a purpose. I’ve selected six or seven younger guys in CRM, and as a man to a man, having lived a few more years, having a few more experiences, I know I can make a contribution to their lives.
The guys that I’m working with now are a lot of fun, really gifted. Sometimes they don’t know that about themselves and they need someone to tell them. I’ve grown a lot in my ability to discern what God is doing in their lives, sometimes to be prophetic, often to be pastoral. I’m moving more into a priestly role of actually praying and interceding for these emerging leaders.
At my stage of life, time is really important to me. I’ve learned to call things out of people and actually exhort them to do something about their lives. Earlier in life I would be softer in my role, but I don’t do that anymore. I recently told someone, “Before we meet, you need to write down what you’re going to do and make plans to do it. I’m not going to tell you what to do—you need to decide. And then don’t come back the next time and tell me you haven’t done it. Don’t waste our time together.” People are OK with that because it calls out intentionality on their part. It also calls people to integrity—Are you going to do what you said or not? Don’t fool yourself. And I’ve learned that’s really a loving thing to do. To just let people coast for prolonged seasons doesn’t really help them. When I look at Jesus and the way he treated the disciples, he wasn’t afraid to call them out and hold them accountable. They were doing the Father’s business—pretty serious stuff—and it required commitment.
What I want to see with this next generation is that they would be able to experience God and his Kingdom mission wholly better than the boomer generation. I want the next generations to be more blessed by God than we’ve been so far. That means living a life filled with a holy purpose and joy, resulting in an abundance of Jesus followers and whole cities transformed by their lives.
How do I contribute to that? I have to listen, and I have to ask how I can help. I also have to ask Jesus, “What are you doing here?” I want to give people what I can, and what the Lord is pressing upon me. To the extent that I can bless people like that, it’s a lot of fun and the Kingdom is advanced. We were made to help one another and joy comes out of that relationship.
I’m actually looking for better and longer lasting fruit in this next stage of my life than in the previous 45 years, and mentoring, passing on what I can to the next generation, is part of that. I really am expecting the latter years of my life to be much more fruitful than the former. I’m hoping for that, I really want that, and I believe that’s how life is supposed to be. I’m believing God for his promise in Psalm 92:14, “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Henderson has served with CRM since 2011. He recently hung up his hat as CRM’s director of operations in order to make deeper personal contributions to Disciple Making Movements around the globe.