Mentoring in the Marketplace

The professional perspective:

Chapter 5 of Sheryl Sandberg’s national bestseller, Lean In, is titled, “Are You My Mentor?” Sheryl begins by discussing the dread of having a stranger ask her to be their mentor. Then she quickly transitions to the necessity of having mentors and sponsors if professional advancement is desired. In her words:

“They need to find mentors (people who will advise them) as well as sponsors (people who will use their influence to advocate for them) (pg 65).”

I love this choice of language. As Christians, we have the truth and we should share that truth with others, and that does not mean that we beat them across the head with the Bible. The truth that we have does speak to their purpose in the world, it does speak to how they prioritize and make life choices, and it does speak profoundly about how we should treat other people. Her definition of a sponsor also has deep implications for us as Christians. We should always be willing to stand in the gap and advocate on behalf of others. Of course, we need to advocate with integrity which means that we must prayerfully consider the character of the person whom we choose to sponsor. We do this with the understanding that our God is good, gracious, generous, and he owns everything. That means we should not be threatened by others who are in the work place; we should not operate out of a space of fear that there are not enough opportunities to go around. Additionally, if it is within our power, we should be willing to open doors and create opportunities if necessary for those who need it.

The Christian Worldview perspective:

A lot of business professionals live in our country’s and the world’s largest cities. Many of you live in a city. In 2010, Dr. Timothy Keller spoke about the importance of cities at the Lausanne Congress 2010. His topic gives a global perspective which speaks specifically to the importance of reaching others for Christ, which also speaks directly to the importance of what we as Christians do or don’t do in the workplace and how we, as leaders and mentors, prepare Christians to enter the workplace on a weekly basis. In his talk, he answers the questions:

Why we must we reach the global cities?

 How we should reach the cities?

Why we can reach those cities?

At the same conference, Timothy Liu spoke specifically to God’s plan to build a unified nation of people to worship him. He answers the question, “What would the workplace look like if God would have his way?”

Together these two videos gives a broader perspective of how we as Christians should approach our work. It also gives us a better understanding of how we should use our God-given influence at work.

Given these broader contexts, how should we as Christians approach our responsibility to mentor in the workplace?

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013

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