Author and retired pastor, Robin T. Jennings, writes A Letter to the Church to encourage Christians to live the Word of God and be a mentor to the next generation.
Be a Mentor
What is a Mentor?
A mentor is someone who can help guide you through life, providing wisdom and support along the way. A mentor can be a friend, family member, teacher, coach, or anyone else who has been successful in life and is willing to share their knowledge with others.
One of the best ways to learn how to be a mentor is to live like Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate mentor, always offering words of wisdom and guidance to those around him. By following his example, we can learn how to be a mentor to the next generation.
If you’re interested in being a mentor, there are a few things you can do to get started. First, find someone you can trust and to who you feel comfortable talking. This person will be your sounding board as you navigate through life’s challenges. Next, start observing the people around you. Mentors are often good at reading people and understanding what they need. Finally, start sharing your own advice and experiences with others. By doing this, you can help mentor someone through their own journey.
Be a mentor today and help guide someone to success. You never know, you might just change their life forever.
Start with Your Transformation
Spiritual and character transformation are important for you if you want to be a mentor.
When it comes to transformation, we often focus on external factors. We think that if we go to church every Sunday and listen to sermons, we will be transformed. This is not enough.
In order to truly be transformed, we need to study the Bible for ourselves. We need to reflect on what we learn and examine our own characters. And we need to pray for discernment so that we can be sure of what is true and what is just wishful thinking.
But transformation doesn’t start with external factors. It starts with ourselves. We need to be the ones who are living like Jesus. We need to be the ones who are mentoring others in their spiritual growth. So let’s start with our own transformation. Let’s be the change that we want to see in the world.
In This Episode
- The siblings of Jesus
- James, the underrated early leader of The Church/The Way
- Letting transformation happen within you, because you may be the only Bible someone reads
- Being a mentor to the younger generation
- We have access to a lot of information, critical media literacy and critical thinking are important
- How to prepare yourself to be a mentor to the younger generation
- Being able to discern what is true and what is not
- Balancing dichotomies in faith
Robin T. Jennings
Robin T. Jennings, a gifted storyteller, sought-after professional speaker, knowledgeable teacher and author on the importance of spiritual growth and renewal in everyday life, empowers others with the Biblical guidance needed for deep personal reflection.
As Rector of St. Francis in the Fields in Louisville, Kentucky, from 1983 until his retirement in 2014, Robin has years of experience encouraging countless churches and parishioners to cast a vision — to develop their personal life plans — equipping them with the tools necessary to participate in the divine nature of Jesus Christ. He evokes a deep level of participation, for the participation he engages Christians in is not about passively exercising one’s faith.
Instead, Robin believes that when we participate in Jesus’s calling in our lives, we are energetic, involved, ever-changing and actively growing through our everyday, ordinary activities in life. He charges others to see the extraordinary revealed by the grace and knowledge found through our participation in the divine nature of the very real, kingdom of God.
Resources and Links
You can learn more about Robin T. Jennings at his website, robintjennings.com. Robin is available for speaking engagements and church team consultations.
Buy a copy of Robin’s book, A Letter to the Church: Spiritual Growth through the Witness of James [affiliate link disclosure]
Related Past Episodes of Beyond the Rut
The Secret Society of Success with Tim Schurrer- BtR 308; Robin and I discuss the need to stop chasing the spotlight and that reminded me of this episode where Tim and I talk about finding success by not looking for attention or fame.
3 Reasons Why Living with Faith Is So Important – BtR 314; Scott Greene from Llama Leadership shares three reasons why growing in the Christian faith is an important part of becoming a better father. It’s another way to be a mentor to the next generation.
Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan
Robin T. Jennings 00:00
We maybe we get a lot of information. But the word we’re talking about forms us. It’s a formation, a word of formation, which I think is very powerful.
Jerry Dugan 00:11
What’s going on Rutter Nation. This is Jerry from beyond the rut, the show that shares encouraging stories and practical advice to help pull you out of your rut and into a life worth living. Now in this episode, we’re going to have a conversation with Robin T. Jennings. He’s retired Episcopal pastor and author. And we’re going to talk about a letter to the church that he wrote for the next generation. In fact, his book is called a letter to the church and the next generation. So we’re going to talk about mentorships spiritual growth and lessons from the Bible that we can apply to our lives and the importance of mentorship, both in spiritual growth, but also just getting through life. So sit back and relax. Unless you are throwing darts at a dartboard and there are people walking around, then then don’t relax, you got to stay vigilant and make sure you don’t get anybody in the eye because that’s dangerous. So other than that, here we go. All right. Hey, Robin, thanks for joining us here this morning, day, afternoon, evening. Whenever somebody’s listening to us. That’s when we’re together. Because that’s how it’s gonna seem to them. How are you doing over there in Kentucky?
Robin T. Jennings 01:12
Jerry doing great. This is the day of the Kentucky Derby in case you’re dating this for your future listeners? Well, I’ll tell you later, who wins, but nice, exciting day in Louisville.
Jerry Dugan 01:23
That’d be awesome. You know, years from now somebody’s actually getting ready to watch the Kentucky Derby, they catch this episode. They’re like, this is awesome.
Robin T. Jennings 01:33
Too, or too early for a Mitchell up or any of those kinds of things. We’ll talk about that after the show.
Jerry Dugan 01:40
Now we got introduced through a mutual friend Eric Nevins. Now you listening to the show, you’ve probably heard me drop that name a number of times. I just had it on his heart many years ago, to start a group of podcasters who are Christian, yeah, to encourage them to provide some, you know, a community where they could share their their excitement, their wins, their struggles, and so on, with the specific focus of expanding the kingdom in the sense through this medium. And so I’ve gotten to know Eric over the years, especially the last three or four years. And yeah, he connected us and asked if, you know, I thought you’d be a good fit. I was like, I think you already know the answer. Let’s get Robin on the show. And so you’ve been a pastor for many decades. And which means there’s a lot of wisdom there that we need to pay attention to. That’s the point I’m making everybody. I’ve learned a lot. And you’ve you’ve also published a book called a letter to the church and the next generation, and there’s some themes I thought we could want to chat about and and the angle that you take with that book is through the eyes or the lessons of James, which we don’t always think about, you know, he’s got one of the shortest books in the Bible. It’s a few pages long. It’s towards the back. So if you get that far, you might read your Batum might have heard of him. But just tell folks like who is James, who is this
Robin T. Jennings 03:10
guy? That’s a loaded question Jerry. Right. And I think that’s that’s part of where people scholars struggle is and debate. And long story short, yes. A brother of Jesus. Okay, can we be more specific? And talk about, you know, the sibling order. Some would say an older brother. Well, how can that be Jerry with the virgin birth? Right? Yeah. You get that? So that throws that out right away. And and yet it does appear as if he were older. So then how about a stepbrother? What do you mean, it’s stepbrother? Well, and then here’s another theory is Joseph had been married, his wife had died. And he had this gaggle of kids when he married Mary. Yeah, there, along comes Jesus, with with this already ready made family now, you know, I don’t know if this is, you know, something that your listeners really want to hear all this back and forth kind of thing, but, but he could be a cousin there. But you go through scripture, and it’s clear that James was very close to Jesus. And that’s the whole point for me, in my book is I write about him as being a living link. I don’t want to get all this biological, you know, and although How do you know, because also what really prompted the book to was an asari. And I don’t know if you’re familiar with that term, but it’s a little box of bones that was found in the firt was found in Jerusalem during and they did data to the first century. On the box. It said James, brother of Jesus, son of Joseph. So true or false? Well, it was like 456 years of Legal till till they finally threw it out and said it was a forgery, the actual writing but but the dating at the box was all this as a way of saying, James became kind of a rock star at the turn of the century. And again, it was, like you remember, Daniel, Daniel, Dan Brown, and yes,
Jerry Dugan 05:22
the Davinci Code DaVinci Code,
Robin T. Jennings 05:25
it was this kind of stuff that caught on. And so, you know, it really, in many respects, began to weave a different narrative for the church that I don’t really want to get into. And I would throw out except to say that here again, there was all of a sudden this interest in James that was fascinating for people, which got them at least to go back and read the letter, what we all find in the letter. And if I’m talking too long, just give me a bye, but you because you push the button, but what what they find is when they find this letter, they find the similarities to Jesus. Some scholars would say it’s not very Christocentric, or it’s not it, he doesn’t use the word Jesus enough. He’s not all but But you look at those phrases that come out of James, and it’s out of the Sermon on the Mount. Yeah, there’s so many, so many comparisons that can be made. It’s 5060, some comparisons of verses between James and Jesus that he was a right hand, man to Jesus, a link to the living Lord. And here’s the one that really blows my mind. Scholars are now saying back to your first comment about this letter is that it’s very possibly written in the early 40s. Yeah. Which, which would again, push it almost, if not, well, it does push up before Paul’s letters. So there any kind of controversy, one draw between Paul and James and all that kind of stuff? This was pre Paul. Yes. Yeah. So here we go. It’s a very, very exciting kind of study once you get into it. And I’m not, I didn’t take readers nearly through what, what you and I are talking about? But you started at Jerry? Oh, yeah,
Jerry Dugan 07:09
it needs that, where we just kick this whole conversation off. Because where I plan to have this episode aired, by the way, folks will have listened to an interview I did with a guy named Tim Sure, who used to work with a guy named Donald Miller with story. And, you know, his book is about, you know, the secret society of success, where a lot of the folks that, you know, helped drive success are really folks in the background, you know, that, yeah, that are really driving it and building the structure, building the teams and so on. And so, you know, he talked a lot about getting out of the spotlight. And here’s a guy in the Bible 1000s of years prior to Jim Schurrer. Who did just that possible. Yeah, that. Yeah, it sounds like James took leadership, he kept a low profile, for whatever reason. And he really essentially built the church it sounds like and that is just that says so much about leadership on so many levels, that it’s not about us. It’s not about the spotlight on us. And I think in today’s culture, we strive for that so much, you know, be a social media influencer. Why? I don’t know, because I want to be famous. Why? Yeah, you know, and the real like, you know, meaningfulness of life is, can you build other people up? Can you build your children up, and I just love that we’ve already touched on that, or at least kick that off in my brain, hopefully, it’s kicked off in other people’s brains. So that, in essence is James, you know, we’re, I think, essentially just summon him up as a brother or somebody very close to Jesus. And so from there, you know, there’s some key lessons in your book about how we can grow as Christians and impact the world in a different way. And remember, one of the things that you said, in the pre interview communication that we’ve had is, you really wanted to talk about being doers of the word. And yes, and for those of you if that’s a new term, we’re talking about the Bible, you know, the word of God, you know, being doers of it, not just, you know, consuming it. Why is it important to make that distinction, like, what is it that folks tend to do with the word that makes that comment necessary?
Robin T. Jennings 09:23
There’s so many words that are out there now. And not all good. Yes. So there’s that there’s that sigh. Cherry, and then, too, with that, there’s so much information. I do I want to say this, this in particular, and I’m pleased here this is not knocking it, but this is an old man talking about this next generation, this generation Z. They have all this information in the palm of their hand. You know, my days, I used to have to go to a library, and I had to open book looks, check them out. And three weeks later write a paper or something, boom. Well, I’m talking more about myself. But But here again, back to this next generation, there’s a lot of information that they have in the palm of their hands any answer to any question they have, they’ll get now rather than whether or not it’s the right answer, or it’s a correct answer. And this is where I’m going with the word to is, it’s not only there are a lot of words out there, but not all the words are good. And then to formation, we maybe we get a lot of information. But the word we’re talking about forms us. It’s a formation, a word of formation, which I think is very powerful. Especially Oh, my goodness for this for all of us. But this next generation that’s coming out of COVID. Thank God, it’s Friday. All they say, that’s what they’re looking for. In a hero. Here, this is generalizing and not not criticizing is but you know, thank God, it’s Friday. Yeah, because work is meaningless. You know, I’m just trying to get paid. I’m just trying to get this done. And I got to get rid of this and get onto that, and I can’t wait to just go out and rock and roll in part, you know, Jerry. So here again, we need to thank God for the word that has been given to us. Okay, so now, what’s the word? Well, you know, it’s Jesus, in the beginning was the Word. So there again, this is what might be considered. And this has to do with the word logos, which is that philosophical term, out of which we get logic, you know, a logical way of living life doing the word is doing what’s logical, and what needs to be done. Alright, so now you’re saying how I’m connecting all these dots. And I can go further and be more specific with you as we progress in the interview. But I hope that gives you an overview of just that importance. Once we tap into doing the word will, can you be more specific? Yeah, it’s Jesus. Okay, well, what does it mean to you know, do what Jesus calls us to do? Well, here we go. That’s the calling. That’s the story. That’s James. And by the way, and I’ll put a comma or a period at the end of the sentence. So But James, developed, James grew through the Scripture, James changed, he was transformed, obviously, by the power of the resurrection, but throughout his life with Jesus, you can see and identify some of those points in the in the book, but but that too, needs to be taken into consideration. Is this development of our life grows and changes and transforms in this living word?
Jerry Dugan 12:49
Yes, yes. And I wanted to touch on that. Because, I mean, I’ve probably been a Christian since 2005, my wife and I debated did to receive Christ in Oh, 506. Somewhere in that window, we know how much of a stubborn guy was. Yeah, we might claim it was really from 2003 to 2006. Somewhere in that window, I became a Christian. And it was a gradual thing, series of events. But since I’ve been a Christian, one of the things that I hear a lot of when folks complain about their church, or they complain about a group of Christians is, well, I’m just not getting fed there. Yeah. And to them. And I think the point they’re trying to make is that maturity, spiritual maturity is all about can I listen to a sermon that whilst me and entertains me and gives me more information. But then you look at the person’s fruit of their life or their actions. And there aren’t a lot of actions, like they go to church on Sunday, they want to be spoon fed some information. And then as soon as they leave the church parking lot with the church building. So from the parking lot until the next time they’re back at church, they go on to just be in the regular jerk cells, no real transformation, no change in other people’s lives, nothing. And so what I hear doers of the word, and you say Jesus is the Word, you know, we’re talking about being in the likeness of Jesus, around others, for others, to others. And so I think that’s, that’s just huge. And, you know, there’s even that scripture that says, it’s faith and works. It’s together. And, you know, when I when I read about that in your book, you know, that we got to be doers in seeing in your emails. You know, for a lot of people out there in the world, we might be the only Jesus they see until they become followers. We might be the only Bible they see. Yeah, until they themselves have decided yea or nay. And that’s just
Robin T. Jennings 14:52
a great responsibility. Again, and I’m not just plugging a book here, but that again, is The focus really of my attention, not only is on this next generation, Gen Z, whatever you want to call it, but the need for mentors, you mentioned sermons, and, you know, I preached for 40 years. Does anyone remember what I said? What does that tell you? No. But in all seriousness, what does, I think make an impact? And what does change lives are the one on one conversations, and really the relationships that are formed within the church. There are people that can be trusted in the church that are mature, that they do have, again, like you were saying earlier, wisdom, and that really is what this next generation craves, they may not articulate it or say that, but tell me what, you know, tell me how you did? What’s your story, you know, this kind of thing. They really are interested. It’s not like they’re just throwing us out. As much as they really do want to engage in this discussion. So one aspect, I think, again, of the feed me feed me feed me sort of thing. By the way, don’t forget, Peter, in the post resurrection scene with Jesus on the beach, what did Jesus say to him? Do you love me? Yes, Lord, you know, I love you. Do you know what came next? Genuine sheep? Feed my sheep. There you go. And by the way, that’s, that’s one of the things too is people will tell me I look so holy, or being a priest or standing behind an altar. Do I represent Jesus? And so and so? Which? No, I can’t I represent Peter. I’m there to feed the sheep. That’s the name of the you know what I’m so Well, with that said, mentoring, mentoring, mentoring, and I think often starting with a conversation. And it’s that’s hard to say starting, but opening the conversation might be better about God. Can you tell me about your faith? Where are you hear you were Jerry? What, 15 years ago? So So what was going on? What and I’m not interviewing you, but you know that you’re ready to begin this conversation? Because it’s it’s powerful.
Jerry Dugan 17:22
Yeah. Yeah. It’s, yeah, it’s so important. You know, we’re, we’re so used to, especially on social media, it’s, it’s a lot of little bites, you know, it’s a whole sentence here. It’s a, it’s a meme there. And yes, when you’ll read the comments, there’s no real dialogue happening. It’s me just spitting out more of what I already believe. And if I see you say something, contrary, I just regurgitate my own talking points again, and it’s very rare, you see somebody actually take that in, give it some thought, let it change their lives, that is rare, and what you wind up seeing, like echo chambers, where people just get more entrenched in their beliefs, right or wrong. And, you know, wisdom, though, takes that step back and says, Well, what is this in the context of everything else? And I think with like, COVID-19, the, the pandemic over the last two years, I think, if there was any one statement, I heard more than anything, and people were gonna think it was gonna be about masks, nothing about masks. The most. The most common thing I heard over the last two and a half years, or two years was I don’t know what to believe there’s so much information out there. Yes. I don’t know what’s true. Yes. And I would tell folks about critical media literacy, how you take all that information, and you sift through it, you know, what is reliable information? How do you define reliable information? What are reliable sources? How do you dig deeper? Like, for the statement behind the statement, or the data behind the statement? How do you how do you do that meta search type of stuff. And, you know, that, in essence, is like a perfect analogy for everything that you’re talking about, that it’s not just the pandemic information people are being overwhelmed with. They’re being overwhelmed with, you know, who is God? What is, you know, is there a god? Is there a god? Yeah. You know, is this really what Christians believe? You know, they’re talking about this, listen, this when it doesn’t sound aligned with Jesus, and, you know, what about this war going on in Ukraine? Do just like I don’t know what to believe. And, and I think wisdom helps you take that step back, put things in the context of Jesus, and then you’re like, Oh, this is what I need to do to impact the world around me. And and then once, I think, and I think this is where you’ve been getting at with your book, in a sense, is, I think once you start to get there and start to form that within yourself, yes, you now are ready to mentor others. And so that’s kind of a rough paraphrase. So how would I prepare myself or how would you say Scott over there in Corpus Christi, prepare himself I mean, he’s already mentoring others. But if you were to start over Scott, you know, you I don’t know, you know, but I do. Yeah, he’s a Christian podcasters associate, he’s a good friend of mine. But yeah, I mean, how do we prepare ourselves to be a mentor to others?
Robin T. Jennings 20:16
I think we’re just if we can use Scott as an example, I don’t know. But you know, you can say, oh, Scott’s a great guy, he’s one of us. Well, and then you get into that tribal stuff, you know, and, and you only work with people like you. And I think, again, being a mentor, to be able to match yourself, or, or, again, be open to those that may have different hair, different tattoos, you know, I don’t want to get into all this stuff. But but you know, that still don’t look like you put it that way. Don’t look, but here again, is we start to they’re unique. And to recognize that uniqueness, I think, is again, part of the focus that comes with being mentor is on identity, and helping this generation claim their identity in Christ. Which is different than how many followers do you have? And you know, Facebook, or social media or whatever. So with that said, I’m not getting political jury. Here we go. No, when you talk about what we can’t talk about dissent, you know, there’s a new department of disinformation. Oh, that’s being formed. Yeah. Yeah. So are you seriously? Well, yeah. So and that’s back to your question of trust, and truth. And, and, you know, I often associate, I don’t interrelate unnecessarily, but trust and faith, are walk hand in hand, how many people have I met, who said, I will never trust that person. Again, I’ve lost faith in them, you know, is the next sentence. And so here again, you did so back to you, a huge word that you use when we start to talk about that, and to develop that trust with a mentor, again, is a sacred responsibility. And with that said, we’re always going to tap into a little politics was this next generation, and you’ve probably seen a million of the demographics that have come out as well. I use Barna Research for so much of mine, but you’ve heard of the expression, the nuns, it’s not a religious order. The nuns are those who circled none of the above. Yeah. So when asked, Are they Christian, Jewish? Islam? You know, Muslim Buddhists, you know, whatever. None. None of the above. Media loves this. I mean, they go crazy. They see no one believes in this anymore. You know, it’s all about science and all that kind of stuff. And so, you know, trust me, science has limits to but but here again, where I’m going with this, is it’s a cry for help. It’s a cry for help when they say none of the above. Because then what do they believe in? And this is the political dimension. Go to Russia. Go to a communist country. I’ve been to east, the East Berlin, East Germany. Compare that to West ones, dark ones, light ones alive ones dead 30 years later after that relationship, because when you are a communist, you circle none of the above. Yeah. Okay. How’s that? This is serious. This is real stuff, though. I mean, I think it’s really that important to be able to say, Wait a second. Yeah, I believe in God. And here’s why.
Jerry Dugan 23:50
Yeah, I was one of the guys that circled none of the above for a long time. Oh,
Robin T. Jennings 23:54
great. Jerry. You know, I was one of those guys. We’re not gonna talk anymore.
Jerry Dugan 24:02
But, oddly enough, though, it was a fellow. So I was in the Army. I was part of the invasion into Iraq. There you go. And you were talking about, like, you know, controlling information. And, you know, I was surprised at how many people we met in Baghdad, were like, What are you guys doing here? I mean, didn’t you learn your lesson when we defeated you in 1991? And we’re like, yeah, yeah. Ah, y’all did not win that. Yeah, we stopped. There’s a highway out there. And so that was like a big shock. Like, you know, we limit ourselves and to the information that has been spoon fed to us, you know, how do you find somebody who helps you discern, like, Oh, this is true. This is not. And you know, so that was one thing that just made me think of, but the other one is, yeah,
it’s such an important word. Go ahead. I mean, no, no, that’s
Jerry Dugan 24:51
fine. Because you keep me on track. So and the other thing was that what opened my eyes to the possibility of accepting Jesus was wildly In Baghdad, there was a fellow soldier who I assume is a Christian, because I remember when I got mad at him, he had a Christian like a gold chain and a Christian cross kind of hanging out while he was calling out my behavior. But, like looking back now that I know what I know, and I look back to that moment, it’s like, this guy was being obedient and doing the Word of God. Yes, he had it on his heart. Go talk to that man over there. He outranks you, but he’s clearly doing the wrong thing. And you just asked him? Yeah. What are you doing? That’s all he asked. What are you doing? What’s up with? What’s going on here? And that’s all he asked. He asked it two or three times, I gave a cruddy answer all three times. And he? Yeah, and he just kind of resigned to it. And he walked away. And I thought that was him caving into my rank. But again, knowing what I know, he, it was not him resigning to me, like if it was his choice, I think he would have just like, Let me have it and taking the trouble that would have come. But he kind of resigned it to Jesus at that point, like, you know, hey, I came, I said the thing. It’s in your hands, and he and he kind of walked away. He didn’t say those words, but it was all in his face. And I know it’s there. Because now I know what he was probably thinking at the time he did that and that conviction to go and do you know, what Jesus would have done? And yeah, that is huge to me. And that that takes a lot of courage does, you know, it’s like you’re standing up against the norms. And in this particular case, the norms of war, and you’re standing up against that, in the middle of it. It’s the person who says, you know, we’re going to treat strippers with dignity and respect and treat them as humans by talking to them as people and not partake of their business and not, you know, I think the thing that annoys me the most is when I see a dad at a swimming pool with his kids, and he’s wearing a t shirt that says, I support single moms, and to silhouette of a woman on a stripper pole. Like,
you’ve seen that T shirt. Oh, yeah. Oh,
Jerry Dugan 27:09
it is okay. That’s okay. Come to South Texas, you’ll see. Like, oh, come on. No. And, yeah, this guy’s just wearing the shirt to him. It’s funny, it’s bold. And he’s got two daughters running around. I’m like, you know, the single mom, he’s making fun of something common he’s making is somebody else’s daughter. And it doesn’t extend you know, the love of Christ. It doesn’t do the world doesn’t. And so it’s like that kind of stuff that just, you know, when you see it in the world, you’re like,
Robin T. Jennings 27:43
Okay, that’s not me. Yeah, that’s not me. And, and two, I think, to your point is, is you’re going through this, I can’t help but think when you sit the stripper, I thought, what, but at the same time we’re not prudes, and a mentor is capable of, again, meeting with people that aren’t like us. I mean, they’re different from us for why it’s a sort of certain reasons. But also, you know, the spiritual life of him back again, to this next generation, they will say they’re spiritual, but not religious. And I say, Oh, that’s lovely, you know? And then I say, can I be both? Can I be? Is it okay with you if I’m both spiritual and religious? Because when you talk about being spiritual, tell me about your spiritual life. What what spirit Do you believe in? Let’s let’s describe, and so and I don’t want to keep using the stripper as an example. But but you know, she’s battling spirits. There’s a lot of spirits in her life. Wouldn’t it be nice if she met the Holy Spirit that relates and unites her to the will of God? What much like you’re saying the, your military discussion, and then we can talk about my son as well who flew those ch 42. You remember the double rotor? He was with Marines? Yeah, and did a lot of medical relief and and had four tours in Iraq. And that’s a whole nother story, Jerry that I’m gonna get off, we can get off on but, but what that did to, again, is really not just test my wife and RFA because I let my son tell his own story, you know, but but it provided for us again, back to trust and placing everything in God’s hands. It’s godly your own kids and they’re always your kids, Jerry. You know, they never Okay, so, I’m getting off subject here, but that’s okay. All right. You got me started again.
Jerry Dugan 29:42
It’s teamwork. Two guys with ADHD. I’m gonna show you this painting on my wall. Well,
Robin T. Jennings 29:53
here again what that taught me to and at the same time I was with a real reshape this as long as we’re talking to military with a, I was in a small group of spiritual directors and one of the guys is ordained minister, but he had been an Air Force pilot. And I was telling him how difficult it is to surrender. I don’t get it, to surrender to Jesus or to I mean, just to surrender. I don’t I don’t that’s not in my MO, you know? And he said, he looked at me and he said, you know, you’re right. He said, Boys, back to your guy with a T shirt boys. We’re not trained to surrender. We don’t give up, you know, losers. never win and winners never lose. You know, quitters? Never, you know, all that stuff. Exactly. We didn’t surrender. Okay. He said, here’s the deal. Man, I’ll never forget, he looked at me. He said, When I was a pilot, he said, we were told never to surrender to the enemy. You’d rather shoot yourself and surrender to the enemy. You know? Okay, I get that. He said, however, we’re talking about God. God is the source of love. It’s okay. To surrender to the source of love. Try it. Turn your life. Let go. You know that, that let go and let God I didn’t get that far. And now I do. You know, that was, that was my mentor. 2030 years ago, you know, I went, Oh, I see, you know, the big pivot kind of thing.
Jerry Dugan 31:16
Yeah, it’s huge. Yeah, Jesus hits us with all kinds of dichotomies that seem like polar opposites. But it’s like to get here, you have to embrace this other thing. Yeah. And don’t worry, I’ve got you. And it’s like, if you want to be strong, you really got to be weak. If you want to be smart, you gotta admit that you’re not. It’s like, you know, if you want to be powerful, you got to give it up, and not worry about that power in the first place. And it’s like, it’s weird that I’ve seen it, even as a leader. Like, I lead best when I let go of the authority and share it with the team. And it’s counterintuitive. I get flack from others all the time about it, like, No, you gotta be in there, you got a rule? And I’m like, they don’t say those exact words. But it’s like, I know, it’s like, no, I think I’m leading them by letting them lead. And they’re like, that makes no sense. And like, well, that’s that’s how they own the mission. And, and Jesus, does that essentially, you know, the disciples gets sent to by to, you know, be told Feed my sheep. James, at some point, picks up the mantle and just quietly works in the background. And yeah,
Robin T. Jennings 32:30
you know, he didn’t Empower empower. Yeah, they’re empowered. Yeah. Again,
Jerry Dugan 32:34
power. Yes. Yeah, that’s huge. So we talked about, you know, James, we talked about being doers of the word, the, the importance of part of our faith journey, is preparing ourselves to become mentors, and then mentoring others. And we’ve talked about some of the key things around there, like, you know, being humble, you know, opening ourselves up gaining wisdom from others, serving others. And then most importantly, you know, going out to those who are different from ourselves, you know, outside that tribe in a sense. What else do you want to share with folks, before we wrap it up? Like what’s, what’s a good final word of wisdom in the sense and where can people find the book?
Robin T. Jennings 33:15
Well, sure. First of all, I don’t want to wrap it up. Jerry, I compensation. Let’s keep it going. But But I think when we’re talking about mentors, again, it is a gift that you’re offering. And with that, as I said, earlier, comes this gift of identity and Christ that young people certainly are looking for. Because I doubt seriously, if anyone has, you know, growing up, so many of them were told, you know, there’s certain things you don’t talk about. You don’t talk about politics, you don’t edit a polite dinner table politics, or sex or strippers or those kinds of things. That’s now all people talk about. But also you never talk about God or religion. And they’re still not talking about God, it really it’s a big silence. And you know how to bring that conversation up, I think is is again, sort of the name of the game, have a mentor, to allow that conversation to be not only respected, but to go in places. I know, I started the ministry, a long, long time ago, in a place far, far away, Jerry, but I was working in an Episcopal boy’s home and the chaplain, and I would and by the way, it was for kids that were emotionally disturbed. And I had the seventh and eighth grade boys who were all bigger than me. And every day we got in, there was a fight. Yeah, a fist fight. And I hadn’t been in a fistfight since I was in third grade. You know. So all this is a way of saying it was a tough rough time. And these kids were from difficult sides. It was Chicago, and I was, you know, a little white kid from the suburban north side and I come in Hi guys. How are we doing today? You know, who wants a bowl of cereal? You know, throwing my face yeah. So with that said, in talking with the chaplain, he said to me all he said to me that, you know, like, like you were saying, again about your encounter with was it wasn’t your superior. But
Jerry Dugan 35:13
no, it was a subordinate from another
Robin T. Jennings 35:15
sport. Yeah. But in that encounter, the chaplain said to me, he said, you know, wherever he said, You’re asking a lot of good questions. So really said, now the question is really? Yeah. And he said, Have you ever thought of going to seminary? Wow. And I was, like, 2324 years old, and obviously in love with my little girlfriend who became my wife here. But I said to her, I said, What do you think of we got to go to seminary, she said, Well, you know, I thought maybe we might go to church. That kind of thing. But But here again, it started with this conversation. And by the way, the word conversation is, is you got to be careful, because it was embedded within that word conversation is conversion,
Jerry Dugan 35:57
Robin T. Jennings 35:58
you got it. Yeah. So watch these conversations, and where they go, and watch these podcasts where they go, I don’t know what’s going to be embedded in this one. But anyways, with that said, with the conversation, you begin to talk about God, and their spiritual life, their faith, where it began, where it ended, what it looks like, and then from there, you can certainly begin to tap into some of the gifts much like you were talking about their strengths, their competencies, when we talk about leadership, those kinds of things, that’s really all important, as well as their passion, you know, it’s in there, believe it or not, and this is back to Barnum is, and I can’t remember the percentage now, our burnout, this next generation is burnout. Jerry, I didn’t even light a match at that age.
Jerry Dugan 36:46
These kids are already burnout, they haven’t even started yet. And they’re burnt out, you
Robin T. Jennings 36:49
know, what you want to say, come on. But but you know, here again, with respect to the importance of, of, you’ve heard this many times, finding your passion. And this is where again, God sparks that to the power and the energy and the light of the Holy Spirit. And, and as that spiritual conversation develops, I think it again allows us to connect with other Christians with the church. And in a way that is a natural bridge that the mentor can provide. And, and that’s, that’s where all this I think, really does take us, you know, to, to, again, not just a book, but but to a way of life that Jesus calls abundant.
Jerry Dugan 37:33
Exactly, yes. And, and I know your book provides a very beginning, it provides a framework for folks to walk through, you know, a couple of things. One, how do I, my thing is more towards the back of the book, like, how do I approach my pastor and talk about being a mentor to others? And then a mentoring agreement between you and a mentee? Like, that’s what I will provide? What are you committing to this? And we’re not talking like, you know, for 50 bucks a session, I will commit? Like, no, it’s really like that. Yeah, if you’re good. Like you’re talking about, you know, committing to openness and sharing what I’m going through when I really need to go through or address and, and so there are tools inside the book is what I’m trying to say to folks. Sure. And so you definitely want to get it, it’s on I know, I got a copy of it off of Amazon. And it’s a letter to the church and the next generation. So if you’re, if you’re a man, with a pulse, and you’re breathing in your 20s, and above, and you believe in Jesus Christ, you gotta get this book, you got to read through it pay attention to at the end of every chapter as well, that’s where he sums up the points but also provides those practical tools. Now you have a resource that you wanted to be able to share, it’s the thanks for week reflection journal, or reflection, guided reflection. working folks find that,
Robin T. Jennings 38:57
sure. Jerry, thank you for saying that. It’s Robin, Robin, our OB i n t, as in Tom Jennings, je n n ing s.com. Then there’s a slash guided reflection. And the guided reflection really is just that it’s a little journal, but it gives you thoughts around this, these various subjects of vision renewal, bearing witness doing the word and then certainly becoming a mentor. And so all of that’s kind of packed into it. But by the way, it’s for your listeners only, it’s free. Yes, you can get this done. But but I call it to your attention because again, it’s a discipline that mentors really need as they start to go through this process because, you know, it is a 52 card pickup, you know, you don’t know what you’re getting into. It’s throwing spaghetti against the wall, you know, what’s going to stick? You know, where’s this conversation going? Did I really say anything? All of that. I think literally feeds into it, but into the reflection journal so that that you begin to start to say Oh darn, I wish I said that or I wish, then you jot it down. So you remember it next week, you know the next time you meet?
Jerry Dugan 40:05
Yes, awesome. Robin, if I didn’t have a dog that needs to be walked and a wife who will probably want some good breakfast tacos, I would be here all day with you. It’s been great to have you on the show. And I’m excited and I’m glad I got to meet you.
Robin T. Jennings 40:18
Likewise. Okay, Jerry, I’m off to the races. So I’ll let you know who wins. Awesome.
Jerry Dugan 40:25
Now, I hope you found a lot of value in this conversation just like I did. And if you want to know more about Robin how to get a hold of him, go to beyond the rut.com/ 321. There you’ll find a link to his website, the show notes for this episode, the transcript for this episode, and more. Now, the other thing you could do for be on the right is to share us with a friend, a family member or a co worker or that neighbor across the street. So however you’re listening right now, hit the share button and send it to somebody you know you think will appreciate what we talked about. Now, I’m glad you joined me this week. I look forward to joining you again next week. But until next time, go live life beyond the rut. Take care!