Inside My Mentoring Group

I started my first mentoring group in January 2010 after being inspired by Regi Campbell, author of Mentor Like Jesus. His organization, Radical Mentoring, guided me through the process and enabled me to do something I had always dreamed of doing.

A Mentor Meeting with His Mentee - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/asiseeit, Image #9854027

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/asiseeit

Mentoring has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The first year went so well, I decided to do it again in 2011. We just wrapped up our second season. I am doing it again in 2012.

Scores of people have written to ask how my group works. I thought I’d write about it here in the hope that you might be inspired to start your own group. (This is not an invitation to join my group. It is already full for 2012.)

I am contacted almost weekly by people who want to be mentored. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that young men and women are desperate for mentors who will build into their lives.

Here’s how my group works. (Again, this inspired by what I learned from Regi, but modified a bit by me.) Let’s start with the vision.

My vision is to help younger men live a God-centered, integrated life and fulfill their God-given potential.

I believe that we can be followers of Jesus Christ and have successful careers and be great husbands, fathers, church members, civic leaders, disciple-makers and friends—ALL at the same time.

I endeavor to share what I have learned about success in these areas, most often by focusing on where I have failed. (And I have plenty of examples!) I want to help my mentees avoid the same mistakes that I made along the way.

I have eight men in my group. Why so few? As Regi says, “More time with fewer men equals greater Kingdom impact.”

Also, the reason I have not included women is because I want to focus on those things that men struggle with. I believe mentoring is done best with those of the same gender. You may disagree, and that’s fine.

Requirements

I specifically recruit men who met the following criteria:

  • Men who have a passionate commitment to Jesus Christ. They may be struggling in their relationship with God, but, fundamentally, they want to grow.
  • Men who are married and in their late 20s to late 30s.
  • Men who are willing to look themselves in the mirror and make changes to improve.
  • Men who are teachable and willing to take direct feedback—about anything—without being defensive.
  • Men who are willing to replicate the process at least once with another group of guys sometime in the future.
  • Men who live in the greater Nashville area. I think it is important to be able to meet face-to-face.

Commitments

The men and their wives sign a written covenant to do the following:

  • Be on time to every session. I am big on punctuality.
  • Attend two scheduled retreats, one at the beginning of the year and one at the end. These start on a Friday evening and end late Saturday afternoon.

  • Meet with the group at my home once a month for three-hours (7:00–10:00 pm). This is the formal session.

  • Read one book a month. I assign these and the mentees are responsible for purchasing them themselves.
  • Prepare a written “net-out” (book summary) for each book and bring eight copies to each meeting.
  • Memorize two assigned Bible verses per month.
  • Meet with me one-on-one for lunch every eight weeks (six meetings through the year).

  • Meet with their assigned growth partner (one of the other mentees) in person or by phone once a month. These meetings can be as short or as long as the partners desire.

Opportunities

In addition, I invite my mentees to participate in these optional activities:

  • Meet with the group informally once a month for two hours (7:00–9:00 pm). This is the informal session and will be driven by my mentees’ questions. I host this in between the formal sessions.
  • Come to dinner with my wife, Gail, and me at our house once during the year—just the four of us. This is purely social.
  • Contact me as necessary to process any specific issues they need to work through.

Schedule and Topics

This is the program I have planned for this year:

Month Theme and Book Cost
Jan Launch Retreat: Creating Your Personal Life Plan by me $100.00
Feb Character: Who You Are When No One’s Looking by Bill Hybels $9.72
Mar Priorities: Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley $9.06
Apr Health: The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz $10.87
May Marriage: Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas $10.19
Jun Temptation: Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) by Joshua Harris $9.77
Jul Fatherhood: Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay $16.15
Aug Talents: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath $14.97
Sep Leadership: The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter $14.53
Oct Community: Samson and the Pirate Monks: Calling Men to Authentic Brotherhood by Nate Larkin $11.07
Nov Influence: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream by David Platt $14.95
Dec Graduation Retreat: Finishing Strong: Going the Distance for Your Family by Steve Farrar. $100.00

Agenda

The agenda for the formal, three-hour session looks like this:

  1. Prayer: We begin with me praying for the meeting.
  2. Catch-up: Each guy shares the high point and low point of the prior two weeks. I encourage the guys to take notes. They will need these at the end of the meeting.
  3. Scripture Memory: Each guy says his two assigned verses from memory. I then randomly ask guys for previously assigned verses.
  4. Break: We take a ten-minute break.
  5. Discussion: This is the bulk of our time. Each guy passes out copies of his book “net-out.” I then lead a discussion around the content of the book. (I use questions I have prepared before the meeting. I also do a net out.)
  6. Assignments: I make the assignments for the next session. This includes the next book, next two Scripture verses, and any exercises I expect them to complete. (Every session will have one practical exercise that they will do daily before the next session.)
  7. Prayer: We pray for one another, based on what was expressed in the Catch Up section.

The informal, two-hour session is driven entirely by their questions. They bring questions they want to ask me. These could be on any topic. I also ask the guys questions. It’s a very free-flowing discussion.

Cost

The total cost is approximately $360. This includes the books and the retreats above, plus the cost of going to lunch with me six times during the year. (We go “Dutch” and I assume they will spend $10.00 per lunch). In addition, I ask them to make a donation to Radical Mentoring and suggest $100 each.

As you can see, my guys make a serious commitment of time, effort, and money. So do I. This insures we all have “skin in the game” and maximize our learning.

I am really excited about leading my mentoring group this next year. I only wish I had time to do more than one. That’s also why I am praying that other men will step up and become mentors.

If you are over forty, I seriously encourage you to consider it. It will be one of the most rewarding things you could ever do.

Question: What questions do you have about mentoring? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://growahealthychurch.com John Finkelde

    During  my 30 years of pastoring the mentoring of leaders has provided some of my greatest highlights in ministry. It is truly both a privilege & a strategic opportunity to impart & garner wisdom. Congrats on your mentoring strategy Michael – love it!

  • Dale Aceron

    Hi Michael,

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I myself am at a place where I need to find a mentor. I realize that I cannot do this alone so this is something that I MUST do. But oddly enough, I recently had a guy in my church approach me to become “his” mentor. I read at the bottom of your post that if someone is over forty that they should consider it, but what are a few of the possible dangers of becoming a mentor at about age 36 to a 30 year old?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I probably should have been more clear. Everyone should consider becoming a mentor to someone (Jesus was only 30 when he started), but ESPECIALLY those over 40.

  • Ellex

    This is a wonderful idea!  Much success to you and the men of your mentoring group!!!

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  • http://twitter.com/romanalo Ro Manalo

    This is awesome. I lead a discipleship group here in Manila. I meet around 4-8 ladies every week but this is more like a bible study. I am very interested to start a mentoring group and would love to be part of one as well. Thank you for sharing how your group works. This is certainly a good model.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Thank YOU, Ro, for leading these women. What a gift your presence is to them.

      • Anonymous

        I really appreciate that, Michele! Thank you! It is my privilege to lead these women. We are on Day 6 of our church’s annual 7-day Prayer & Fasting and two of the ladies in the group are doing it for the first time. Both of them are so excited about the revelations they have received from God. I am so full of joy seeing them grow in Christ.

      • Anonymous

        I really appreciate that, Michele! Thank you! It is my privilege to lead these women. We are on Day 6 of our church’s annual 7-day Prayer & Fasting and two of the ladies in the group are doing it for the first time. Both of them are so excited about the revelations they have received from God. I am so full of joy seeing them grow in Christ.

  • Aljurje

    Great post. Exactly what I needed, as I was just planning on starting a mentoring group with 3 other men. I wish someone mentored me this way 15 years ago. But I am glad I can give other people the guidance I never received and had to accumulate the hard way over a long time. Thank you so much, Michael. I am a avid reader of your posts, and I also recommended your blog to many of my friends and co-workers here in Timișoara, Romania. 

    • http://justin.am/ Justin Wise

      Aljurje … So glad to hear you’re going to invest in the lives of others. And to bring that type of mindset to your country? What an encouragement!

      Thanks for being a part of the blog community. We appreciate your input!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for recommending my blog!

  • http://twitter.com/gljones01 Greg Jones

    @mhyatt:disqus , I would love to take part in this, but I live in Atlanta. Do you have any contacts here that would be willing to mentor me? I am looking for someone who is godly and has a creative and analytic side and someone who is older than me and can share their life experiences with (yesterday was my 38th birthday). I believe that I am on the precipice of entering into some sort of ministry field, so I am also looking for someone to challenge me as we build a relationship. I want to be mentored so that I can, in turn, mentor. Thank you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Greg, I would check with RadicalMentoring.com. They are actually headquartered in Atlanta. Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/gljones01 Greg Jones

        Thank you sir. I greatly appreciate it!!

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  • Zachary Sink

    Michael – I’ve searched comments for this so if you’ve provided please
    direct me to the right spot. A friend and I are going to start following
    your mentoring plan even though we don’t have a leader/mentor at this
    time. We’re already doing individual counseling/coaching.
    Our hope is that A) God would provide us a mentor, but we’re not going
    to sit around and wait for it; and, B) that we could begin preparing
    ourselves to lead our own mentoring groups down the road.

    Two things that I haven’t seen yet would be helpful for us as we move forward:

    1) Would you share your prepared “net-out” questions for the formal
    sessions (or examples of what your questions typically look like)?

    2) Can you give us your practical exercises or assignments you give the
    guys each month as you move through the different topics?

    If these are things you don’t want to share prior to your current group experiencing it this year, would you consider posting the information
    after your group goes through their formal session each month? Thank you
    so much for being so open with your format, document downloads, and
    templates. This is a great blessing for us!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. This is a great idea. I don’t know if I can find the time, but I’d love to if I can. I do create a formal lesson plan for each session. I’ll give it some more thought.

      • John Mark Harris

        As you give them to your group, post them here. Then you will informally mentor us all…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Johnson/100002228041272 Derek Johnson

    Micheal, how do I sign up for 2013′s group.  I am in Hendersonville and would be honored to be a part of the mentoring group for next year.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have added you to my list of men who are interested. I will send out a notification to apply, probably in late November. Thanks.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Derek-Johnson/100002228041272 Derek Johnson

        Great!  Thank you much.  Look forward to it.

  • hogg.jenny

    Wow great conversation really very informative one ,Thanks for sharing informati0n .   Template Design</a

  • Lindalou1300

    we use this model in our church. We will beginning in 10 days this years program. What a joy to mentor women! Our men use this model too! It is life changing for the mentor too!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1312586550 Alex Theis

    Michael, I am a Christian without a church home. I’d love to mentor 25-30 year old Christian men as well with a very similar structure. I would have benefited greatly from a mentor when I was 25-34 and I want to help men thrive in business, belief, relationships, etc. Any thoughts on where I could find a pool of hungry Christian men I could serve, not being a member of a church?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t know what to suggest. Are you opposed to a church home or just haven’t found one yet. I think that is the best place to find a pool of hungry men.

    • John

      Yikes! Personally, I would suggest no one listen to someone seeking a leadership position as a Christian who has not served faithfully through their church. I would not want an unchurched mentor passing on their views to a younger generation of would-be Christians.

  • http://kurtbennettbooks.com/ kurt bennett

    Fantastic. Right now I’m in the middle of Dungy’s book, Mentor Leadership. Your post provides paints an excellent picture of what it actually looks like.

    Thank you Michael

  • Shawn Perry

    I live close to Nashville and would love the opportunity to “apply” for next year’s group.  Is there a formal process?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your interest, Shawn. You don’t need to do anything yet. I have added you to my list of guys who are interested. I will e-mail you later this year about next year.

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  • Kim

    Michael, I have read through all 262 comments :o) and couldn’t find an answer to the following questions:
     - What does your first Retreat schedule look like? Do the men actually work on their Life Plan at the first Retreat? It sounds like you then discuss their LP as you meet individually with them through the year. How has that gone?
    - What do you do at the second Retreat and what does the schedule look like?

    Thanks for any input you can give me on what the Retreats look like. I’m praying about starting a mentoring group this fall. I’ve been over to Radical Mentoring and have seen their Retreat schedules but it sounds like you do something a little different with your Life Plan. Thanks for any help or advice you can give!

  • Brandone

    Would you share an example of what an exercise, “Every session will have one practical exercise that they will do daily before the next session.”

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes. For example, our topic for April is health. Last night I told the guys that I want them to exercise in the next 30 days three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. They are accountable to their Growth Partner. Thanks.

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  • Tadair2112

    Michael,

    Thank you much for the inspiration. TD Jakes just preached at my church this weekend, and at the end of the sermon my pastor Steven Furtick used the analogy to the Scripture, the message, and life in relationship to a can of paint. It’s in the “application” only when the color is revealed and comes out, so we must apply what we have been given. I am a true believer in this…. How do I get started? I mentor people in my own company, but not to this extent. Would love to learn more.

    Thank you!

  • John Mark Harris

    What’s your schedule/agenda for the retreats? I want to do this. Ideally I’d like to be the “mentee” but I just can’t find someone. I found someone once, but then he was killed (see my article: http://churchexecutive.com/archives/in-view-of-a-call-leadership-and-martyrdom-in-the-midwest) so, I’m going to just find some guys in their early 20s and mentor them… I’ve used http://mentoringone2one.com/mentoring/ before, but I’ve been compiling books (much as you have). Thanks for this!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Mine schedule is pretty customized to my group. I would take a look at RadicalMentoring.com. They have some suggested retreat schedules. Thanks.

  • http://jornadadeumlider.com Fernando Almeida

    Great mentoring format and theme suggestions. I will be incorporating some of these in my mentoring group with future church leaders.

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  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    Michael thanks so much for the detailed description of your mentoring group. Though I am outside your target demographic (41 y/o), the detailed description of the books and agenda are great tools. First for my own continuing ‘distance mentoring experience’ with you and secondly to be able to pass it on to others. Thanks!

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  • L_schenk3

    What type of exercises do you have them do daily? Could you give some examples?
    Thanks!
    I learn so much from you. I appreciate you passing on your knowledge and that of others you repect!

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  • PjSmitherman

    Michael, I love that you have accomplished being able to put this into a format. I have been long searching for a group or a one on one. Do you know of anything in the Birmingham, Al area? Thank you as always for your excellent insight. 

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  • http://www.toddliles.com/ Todd Liles

    These are the posts that really hit home. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mwguay Mark William Guay

    Michael,

    Thanks for bringing this to light and being so specific in how your run your mentoring group. I was an integral part in a peer Christian mentoring group way back in my high school and have long thought about looking for a similar one of like-minded business oriented peers w/ a mentor much like yourself. Your words have given me further inspiration to look into seeking this mentoring experience with someone of your caliber in the NYC/Hudson Valley area. If you have any suggestions of those you know in that area that would be interested, feel free to reach out to me. 

    Hope you are feeling better since the bedbug incident.

    Merry Christmas,

    Mark Guay

  • Billy Stevens

    It is a Maxwell/Reiland Joshua’s men format. I like your reading list. I’ve used this format for a number of years. I like them having to buy their own books too! I used to use the three hour with meal format & it is just too difficult. Good stuff!

  • Ben

    Michael. Great topic and Great theme. I have a suggestion for your theme that would make your posts more shareable. I find myself wanting a way to share the individual comments of each post. Maybe all you need is a share button that expands to give options after it is clicked. That would be very useful to your theme and your readers.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Good suggestion, Ben. However, I am using the Disqus commenting system, which is a third-party plug-in. I don’t know if they plan to add this feature in the future or not. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/lrwhitney Lindsey Whitney

    Looks like a great list of books!  Thanks for sharing!  

  • Steve Hopkins

    Michael could you please send or post a representative agenda for the launch and graduation meetings.

    Thanks,

    Steve

    Stevehopkins@beautyscapesofga.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Let me encourage you to check out the Radical Mentoring website. They have this kind of stuff. Thanks.

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  • http://twitter.com/aaronashworth aaronashworth

    Michael, How would one be able to persue becoming a mentee?

  • Bryan Smith

    Michael,

    How would we go about getting permission to use portions of your agreement that you have your group sign?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Check with RadicalMentoring.com. They have a version of it you can use. That’s where I got mine.

  • GuyL

    Any insight on how we might go about searching out a like group in our area (Los Angeles/Hollywood/Teh Valley)? What a wonderful and needed group!

    • http://jorgesilvestrini.com/ Jorge Silvestrini

      GuyL – I’m sure that you can start a group in your area and find some people just like you, with similar interests who will LOVE to join! The challenge is up to you to take initiative. I’ve started a group with two other friends here in Miami, FL. In less than two weeks, we have encouraged each other to have plans for things we’ve never thought we needed.

      There are plenty of resources available for free and really all that I believe is required to do is: START! Get out and Do It… You won’t be disappointed.

    • http://jorgesilvestrini.com/ Jorge Silvestrini

      Did you start your group? No Fear… Start it!

  • Peter

    This sounds like a prison governed by one and only, you.

  • Alicia Britt Chole

    Since our participants do not live in proximity, we started with Skype then Google Hangout and now we’re very happy using http://www.FuzeBox.com for our one-on-ones and groups teachings. Mentors were among the first gifts God gave to me when he graciously interrupted my existence. My husband and I have been intentionally mentoring for 25+ years and Jesus’ model of investing deeply in a few still guides us. Our primary focus now is mentoring leaders in the marketplace and the church.

    We too keep the groups small (5-12) and twice a year all the participants are invited to our prayer retreat home for two face-to-face retreats. The content is structured and yet the one-on-ones provide the opportunity for personal customization. We call it having a fitness trainer for your soul.

    Thank you for the book list. We use a private facebook group for each year’s cohort which has been helpful but I’d be grateful to know of any other online tools you’ve found for small group community building.

  • josephjyoung

    Fantastic Michael. When individuals are willing to make that kind of commitment, you know something serious is happening in the soul. Jesus taught in Matthew 5, “They that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.” Many have detached from that aspect of living, that is, to be willing to do whatever it takes no matter what. Too many are giving up and throwing in the towel. Great work you are doing and I am sure your Mentees’ are better people today.

  • Tony Menzies

    I like what I have read and would really consider doing mentoring. How do you advertise or get people interested?

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing this post. Even though I’m a woman it gives me ideas of how I could do something similar with women.
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman

  • Regina E. Coley

    Michael your mentoring group sounds amazing. It’s practical, precise, and personal. I’m sure the men involved are Kingdom Builders who are grateful for your time and commitment.

  • http://www.calebstorkey.com/ Caleb Storkey

    Lovely shape and structure. Thanks for this Michael. I’ll definitely be implementing this downstream.

  • Blake

    I would LOVE to be apart of this. How do I become involved? The only requirement I don’t meet is I’m single. Other than that, it sounds perfect!