The Future Church - A Church Communications Podcast
Church Media + Communications

E038 - Mentorship At a Distance

James: Mentors at a distance, Joanna we are talking about people that you aren't necessarily in a relationship with or even live in the same area. These are people that either exist online or through different coaching strategies that you learn from that you consider a mentor who you may never ever have a conversation with at all.

Joanna: In this very digital world we have access to knowledge information and people now all over the world who are experts. It's unprecedented what's going on right now in terms of human history. We have more access to the smartest people on any topic than ever before. And so I think let's just have some banter today around how valid is that as a mentoring relationship. There is some statistical stuff around like basically the millennial generation so kind of under 35 or under 40 year olds versus people above that age where the younger generations the first you know that people in their their teens and 20s and 30s would say that they can have real genuine relationships with people that they've met online and may have never actually met in person. Whereas for people who are a little bit older than that I think there is a struggle to find those as valid and real relationship. So where do you sit on that? Like how do you feel about those digital relationships and learning opportunities?

James: In today's day and age. They are just they're huge right. I mean I went to school for video and graphics and I always joke that I learned very little. And I mean it's actually partially true. I mean school you learn some things. But I learned the majority of my graphics and video knowledge from basically one or two websites that do a lot of tutorials. And as I was going to school and finishing school and then working full-time in a factory because I hadn't found a job yet I was watching probably three or four hours of these different sites every single night teaching myself the skills to be better at graphics and 3D and because of those online training things from these one or two individuals who were just pouring out information for free to people I was able to land my first job and got my entire career rolling and it's led all the way to where I am today owning visualmediachurch and Stokhub and doing this podcast with you. Like those are the seeds and those one or two individuals I have never met I've never talked to I've never interacted with any other way other than listening to their voice and listening to their teaching online. And it was really foundational for me. So I would consider those people mentors and they had no idea who I am and they never will. And that's OK because their idea was to put this knowledge out into the world to teach people. And I definitely consumed all that knowledge and learned so much from it.

Joanna: Yeah that's right. Another thing that it is doing even if you're learning a technical skill from someone online you're also learning how they think. I think the best teachers are not just teaching the skill but what their approach is. And so the mentoring is beyond just you know here is how you turn on the mic and record that thing. It's even their philosophy behind it and their approach to really their life as a whole you begin if you begin to take on like a whole body of work from someone who's teaching on a topic you really do begin to understand the thing behind the scenes sort of their character and their integrity and their passion as a person that can inspire you beyond just the technical skill that they're teaching you.

James: And like with all mentors I also think that we need to be careful here too to know for sure and not follow the wrong people who might be trying to not trying to convince you but they maybe have a different lifestyle that that even lines up with your Christian beliefs. So being careful to not follow people and learn from people who might put ideas or thoughts in your head they're going to lead you away from the Lord really. That's what I'm trying to say is there are lots of people out there who want to teach and project this lifestyle that it's probably not healthy for anybody and it's probably not good for you in the long run. So you also have to be really discerning about that as well and also thinking about it making sure you're not having too many like in today's day and age there are lots of YouTube channels and tutorial websites. There are literally hundreds. You shouldn't be trying to listen and follow them all because you can get bogged down and just constantly consuming. And that's my fear with some people listening to us today, my goal is not to tell you to go and consume as much knowledge as possible. You can get caught in this this trap of always watching and learning and being entertained a little bit and never actually doing so I would say filter it down to one two or three people that are doing a really great job of teaching and are actually trying to teach you skills as opposed to just entertainment. The people that I was referring to before about teaching me skills had very little entertainment value and a lot of just sitting watching their screen and how they were doing things and they are just pouring out knowledge for an hour straight and so it's really important to make sure that you are valuing your own time you only have so much time every single day or week to be able to learn and so make sure that you're getting the highest quality from that.

Joanna: And the other thing I would say about that in the digital world we should not forget that there is wisdom and knowledge that came before us. In every category of life there's things that we can learn about how to do life, family, business, faith, etc. From people who are dead. For there whether that's an ancient thing that's 2000 years old or it's something from 50 years ago. There are principles and like books that have sort of still stood the test of time. Wisdom and philosophy that has and business practice that has endured over generations. And so I would encourage if we're looking for a small group of voices to speak into us I would encourage that not all of them are people who are under the age of 40 or content that has only been produced in the last five years. I hope that we would have a foundation and richness in our life that comes from all the wisdom of history. So all that said we do hope that this podcast one of the goals of it is that we want to help you we want to coach you along we're trying to be as practical as we can sharing our insight and our way of operating and thinking as media and creative and communication people and we hope that you might consider us as we continue to go along in this podcast. The Future Church, that we might be able to mentor you in some way.