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This past weekend, my wife, Dana, and I decided it was time to do some much-needed landscaping at our new house. There are a lot of hobbies that I enjoy, but gardening is just not one of them. The main reason I don’t enjoy it is because I really don’t know what I’m doing. In the past, we’ve paid hundreds of dollars for plants only to watch them die due to my lack of horticulture knowledge. But this time was different because I had a mentor.

My father-in-law loves gardening and he’s extremely good at it. He just happened to be in town this weekend, so he came over to help with the task.  I quickly learned that having a mentor is a powerful advantage that transforms the entire experience.

Here is what I learned from the landscaping project:

You need a mentor to increase your passion
As the day went by, my disgust for gardening faded because of my father-in-law’s contagious passion.  He was teaching me about the process that he really loved, and pretty soon I was hooked. I realized passion exponentially increases when you’re exposed to a mentor who is passionate.

You need a mentor to increase your knowledge
One of the major reasons that I was beginning to enjoy the landscape project was because I felt like I finally understand what I was doing.  I wasn’t simply following instructions that came with the plan. I was watching and learning as he explained the best way to prepare the soil and care for the plant.  My knowledge was increasing because he was showing me how to get it done.

You need a mentor to increase your work
The landscape project only included the small flower bed in front of the house. I was too scared to tackle the larger beds that were on both sides of the house.  I was also too scared to touch the existing plants and shrubs that had become overgrown. So what did we get done? All of it! We pruned the shrubs, pulled out the weeds, and spruced up all three flower beds. And we did it in record time! What seemed daunting and impossible to me became a fairly easy project because I had leadership and encouragement from a mentor. We’re able to get so much more done when we have a mentor that is leading us and cheering for us!

As a ministry leader, you need a mentor. We all have blind spots. We all go through seasons of stagnation. We need a mentor to lead and encourage us to move forward. 

By the way, HUGE shout out of thanks to my father-in-law, Gary, for all the landscape help. We now have a much more beautiful yard thanks to him. More importantly, I feel like I have a lot more horticulture knowledge!