Changes!

For those of us in the Northeast, this past week or two has finally brought a change in the weather.  We’re still experiencing a colder day here and there, but temperatures are now generally in the range worthy of the designation ‘spring’.

It may be coincidental, but, spring is also always a season of change for our ministry.  We’d like to share just a few of them with you here.

Bittersweet goodbyes.  On March 21st, our graduating fourth-year students went through ‘the match’, the process that determines where they’ll spend the next 3-5 years of their training as residents.  Although most are moving on to new locations, we’re thankful that a few are staying close.  Without fail, there are always some surprises as the computer algorithm works its magic.  (Under the Lord’s direction, of course!)

Jen, a graduating student from Jefferson, was one of this year’s pleasant surprises. We’ve know her really well for these last four years and watched her serve as a key leader at her campus.  Along the way, God led Jen into an interest in general surgery, a specialty that definitely fits who God has made her.  But, we (including Jen) didn’t expect her to match here in Philly, so we were overjoyed we learned that she’ll be with us for another 5 years!  Although most of our other students will be going to other locations, we trust that God will multiply what we and others invested in them during their time here.

New campus leaders.  Each year, each campus fellowship gets an entirely new leadership team as the year’s current leaders move on to their clinical rotations, (generally) month-long experiences where they learn about the different branches of medicine.  Every year, we marvel at God’s faithfulness in providing for each campus group new students who are ready to step up and serve.  Over the next few months, we’ll be meeting with the new leaders, helping them discover and implement God’s vision for their particular campus.

One Constant.  Throughout all the changes, one thing remains the same: our call to invest deeply in the students God has given us.  Currently, Sharon & I are involved with ‘couples counseling’ (i.e., pre-engagement or -marital) for 6 different student couples, one of whom I just had the privilege of marrying.  In thinking through my schedule for the next few weeks, I realized that I have been meeting with about 15 men on an (at least) somewhat regular basis.  Sharon invests in many of our women.

To mention just one example, recently I had the chance to meet up with ‘Jeff’, a local student leader over a cup of coffee.  The group is fairly new, and I had the opportunity to not only rejoice with him over its successes, but also to suggest what it might look like for the group to keep moving forward.  We discussed the need for more intimate community, connection among the men, and, identified outreach opportunities as a key medium-range goal.  I also had the chance to show Jeff that the confidence he can have in Christ is a key step forward in his growth as a leader, something that will make him more effective not only now, but as he moves throughout his training.  I feel so privileged to speak into, and encourage, the students God has given us!

So, as we head toward year’s end, many changes are taking place.  And yet, we are staying focused on our core priority of investing in students’ and leaders’ lives. Thank you, dear friends, for making it possible through your prayers and gifts!

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for four wonderful years with our graduating, fourth-year students, and, for God’s faithful leading toward their next stage of training.  Please pray for us as we invest in them for these last few months, and, that God provides solid mentors and churches for them in their new (as of July) locations.
  • praise for new leaders for each of our campuses.  God is faithful!  Please pray that God gives wisdom as we begin investing in them.
  • Pray for Sharon & I as we mentor/disciple the different students God has called us to invest in.  We need discernment to see where God wants to encourage and challenge each one (or couple).  Pray that the Spirit takes our admittedly small efforts and powerfully multiplies them for His glory and their good!
  • Finally, please pray for our next student brunch tomorrow at 9am.  We continue to focus on the topic of ‘sharing our everyday faith every day’.  This semester, practicing professionals are joining us and sharing their real-life experiences to help the students gain a vision for this area.
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Two Indispensable Qualities For Mentors

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Image by ntr23 via Flickr

Looking for a mentor?  Hoping to be one yourself?  Already serving in that capacity?

In this post, I want to mention two must-have qualities that all mentors should strive for.  Without fanfare, here they are:

  • a character worth emulating.  This is the starting point for everything else.  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)  An arrogant person, for example, might be great clinically, and you could still learn a lot from him.  But, his mentoring will be seriously compromised because his foundation is built on himself, not God.  We need Christian mentors who are following God passionately.
  • a willingness to share your weaknesses.  We could also call this vulnerability.  No one’s perfect  – or even close – but medicine encourages us to act like we have it all together.  The best mentors let you in on their struggles, and, how God is working through them.  They understand that revealing their flaws doesn’t threaten their identity in Christ.  They understand that talking about their weaknesses actually enhances their ability to connect with, and teach, their students.

Let’s close with a few questions to bring this home.

Those of you who are being / want to be mentored: Do you have at least one mentor with these qualities?  If not, make a quick list and start asking your ‘top choices.’

Those of you who are mentoring / want to mentor: Are there any areas of your life you’re not giving to God?  If there are, they can keep you from letting others in.  Also: what one person can you take initiative with in beginning a mentoring relationship?

I hope that you are, or at least aspire to being, both a mentor and mentee.  May God bless you and multiply your influence.