You may remember a scene from the 2003 film, Radio (starring Cuba Gooding Jr.) where a café waitress asks Radio, “Do you want strawberry pie or apple pie?”

Radio responds, “I wan’ both!”

I love the movie. I love the response. And I love pie. But I also appreciate the dilemma. Some choices just can’t be made. Here’s another example.

“Do you want quality time or quantity time with your kids?” 

Well, “I want both!”

Because quality moments come in the quantity of time invested. It’s difficult to predict when the quality parenting moments will come. So, you must spend quantity time to catch quality moments. We must have both.

And when it comes to mentoring, we need both formal and informal engagements. Because the richness of informal mentoring relationships is often the result of starting out with a formal strategy.

Every guy I know would really love to have a few wise men in his life. Guys who have been where he is. Faced what he’s facing. Experienced what he’s experiencing… in work, marriage, health, career, fathering, business. You name it. Guys like me (and probably like you) can’t always bring ourselves to admit it but we need wisdom. We want help. We need Yodas in our lives who are willing to say…

“Foolish you are! Go home early and play catch with your kids.”

“Learn they will, let them wrestle with failure sometimes.”

“Cherished, is she? How would your wife know?”

“Pray and repent you must, or Satan will control you through your sin.”

You get the idea. We all long for someone who will tell us like it is. Recognize our good qualities and our flaws. Cheer for us in the victories and correct or rebuke as needed also. We need guys like those awesome coaches who can put their arm around you and kick you in the butt at the same time.

But those relationships are hard to come by. Connections must start somewhere, and, in my experience, they often start off with some formality. Some plan that has a clear beginning and has a clear ending point. (Men want to know that there is an exit ramp for something like this!) A formal commitment either ends at a prescribed time or produces benefits that everyone celebrates, so they want to continue.

The formal start produces organic growth.

For me personally, a pastor who invited me to walk through MasterLife (a LifeWay discipleship tool) became a trusted friend and advisor in a relationship that has spanned decades. Likewise, I’ve used formal book and bible studies to invest in young men who continue to seek me out for wisdom, insight, encouragement, and prayer.

In these cases, formal connections lead to valuable informal relationships.

So, when I talk with pastors and leaders of men about mentoring… I’m like Radio… I want both formal and informal mentoring. But we must start with a formal process to produce those informal, organic moments that every man craves.

Noble Warriors will spend the entire first quarter of 2022 on the topic of mentoring. We want to help your church connect men for spiritual growth. Be on the lookout for additional resources.

Here are a few links that may be of interest: