Category Archives: Mentors

Mentoring pays dividends

Next month, Carol and I will be in Moscow, Russia, to help lead a conference on identifying and training next generation leaders for the church. We will focus on the who, what, when, where, why, and how of mentoring. As part of the conference, the communications team at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA, interviewed three of the men I mentored while I was on staff at the church and who are serving as staff or elders today. Daniel, Mark, and Tedd were all part of a Sunday School class I taught for young families. They are their wives went with Carol and me to Spain in 2000 on a short-term ministry trip. The fourth gentleman is Keith Krell, the new Senior Pastor at Crossroads. The video is dubbed in Russian and the transcript of their comments is below. (Keith’s comments were not transcribed.)

On the one hand, I believe the video will be a great addition to the conference and helps to give me credibility. On the other hand, I found it extremely encouraging and affirming to know that the investment I made years ago is still paying dividends today. It was a huge shot in the arm and encouragement to keep going and stay faithful.


Mark video transcribed:


<Hello, my name is Daniel Adent. I was part of the class that Mark led at Crossroads, and now I’m currently serving as an elder here at Crossroads. Mark was influential in my life in growing as a leader>

<It started with just Mark inviting me and encouraging me to participate in things that would deepen my walk with Christ and give me experience at the same time. ‘Daniel, you should consider going on a short term mission to Spain, to Russia.’ ‘Daniel, you should consider teaching and taking this class on teaching that I’m giving.’ ‘Daniel, you should consider taking these classes on Bible and theology that will deepen your knowledge of Christ.’>

<Mark also modeled and taught me what it meant to be a servant leader and a shepherd to those that I serve>

<Mark also just made time for me. Morning coffees or breakfasts, either alone or with Mark Grotte where we would talk about anything and everything related to life, to leadership, to parenting, marriage, the church. Everything and anything, over the years, we would talk about it>

<When Mark was leaving Seattle, the Grotte’s, and Melanie and I, and Carol had dinner and Mark gave us two batons, each with 2 Timothy 2:2 on it, What you have heard from me, these entrust to faithful men who will also be able to teach others. And he charged us to take the investment that he had given in us and pay it forward and invest in others. I am happy to say that at this point in addition to investing in my four adult children, I’ve had numerous other future leaders, that I have had the pleasure to invest in as well. Much in the same way that Mark invested in me>


<Hi, My name is Mark Grotte and I was part of the class that Mark led at Crossroads Bible Church. Today I am on staff here at Crossraods. Mark was very influential in me becoming a leader>

<In January of 2000 Mark led a ministry team, in which he invited 5 couples to travel to Spain as part of a mission trip. The purpose of the trip taught us the importance of serving and of outreach and of missions. Following that trip, Mark personally invited me and a few others including Daniel and Ted to teach us the importance of knowing biblical doctrine. Also he taught us topics such as learning how to teach, so we could learn to be teachers. Also, he taught us the importance of leadership so that we could lead from a biblical perspective in the church.>

<Following that, I was invited to become an elder at Crossroads Bible Church. This was all built on the foundation that Mark had built into me, as well as other leaders, but Mark was really leading in significant ways for me to become the leader I was becoming at that point. Being an elder wasn’t the end of my learning, but the principles that Mark taught me along the way helped me to continue to grow as I was an elder here at Crossroads Bible Church>

<Three years ago, God called me to leave my secular work place for an opportunity to work here at Crossroads Bible Church. I had no difficulty in accepting that call it was very clear to me that God placed that call on me and so much of that was thanks to the teaching, mentoring and discipleship that Mark instilled in me for those many years>

<Today, I am so thankful that I can look back and see that Mark was a very influential and instrumental person in my life to bring me to the place I am today>


<Hi, my names is Ted Diedrikson and I was part of a class that Mark Wheeler led at Crossroads Bible Church. Today, I am an Elder at Sola church, a church plant of Crossroads Bible Church. Mark was very influential in me becoming the leader I am today>

<Mark was willing to spend the time to teach me. He taught me what it mean to serve, he taught me biblical theology and he taught me how to teach>

<He also provided me opportunities to put the things I was learning into practice. Almost 20 years ago he invited me to go on a short term missions trip to Spain, where we proved computer support to missionaries. Then he asked me to teach in a Sunday school class he was leading. Finally, he asked me to join the leadership team for that class. Each of these things were opportunities that Mark was giving me to put into practice the things he had been teaching me>

<I would not be the leader I am today, were it not for the time, training and opportunity that Mark provided me>

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2019 in Leadership, Mentors, Russia, Videos


Invest in your employees

Book Review: Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture that Wins the Hearts of Customers, by Dee Ann Turner

Dee Ann Turner spent 33 years working in the corporate office of Chick-fil-A. The last 17 years were spent as the Vice President of Talent, where she was a key leader in creating and sustaining the remarkable culture that is the guiding force of Chick-fil-A’s success. She has taken her years of experience and poured them into Bet on Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture that Wins the Hearts of Customers, where she explains the importance of “selecting and growing talent and creating a healthy, compelling, even remarkable culture in an organization.”

As she explains in the introduction,

This book is full of both principles and stories. Remarkable cultures are created and nurtured through the power of stories. This book will describe to you how to conduct an effective behavioral interview, and it will explain the steps to giving feedback and being an influential mentor. It will also educate you on the essential elements of a remarkable culture and how to inspire your organization to be willing to do the hard work to attain one. Remarkable cultures are based on timeless principles, and those principles, like ancient truths, are conveyed through the power of stories that contain them.

The book explains the importance of servant leadership and how leaders must model the qualities that want to develop in their employees. It stresses not only the importance of hiring the right people and making sure their gift mix fits the need within the organization, but also training employees to be effective and giving them feedback. Rather than putting the customer first, the author stresses putting your employees first. If you have the right people and trained them in the right values and methods, they will meet the needs of the customers.

The bulk of the author’s examples come from her years of experience working for Chick-fil-A. She also includes examples from other organizations and industries. She also weaves in biblical principles along with her stories and examples. While the concepts and principles are transferable, I kept having to think about how I would implement them in my setting since I don’t work in the fast food, quick service industry.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 5, 2019 in Books, Leadership, Mentors, Quotes


Moscow Conference 2019 – September update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Carol and I leave in six weeks on October 16.

As on previous trips, we will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. Here’s an outline of the lessons I’ll be teaching during the conference. We will be combining lecture, small group discussion, and some other creative learning activities.

  1. Session one – Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring.
  2. Session two – Case studies; biblical examples of training and mentoring.
  3. Session three – Who? What do you look for in a trainee?
  4. Session four – What? What should you develop in a young leader?
  5. Session five – How? How do you train them?
  6. Session six – Failures. Not everyone you invest in will follow through.
  7. Sessions seven – Panel discussion; Q & A.

Thanks to your generosity and God’s provision, the trip is fully funded. Enough funds came in that allowed us to do something special for the attendees. We purchased a quantity of relay batons and we added a label that says, 2 Timothy 2:2, in Russian. At the end of the seminar, we’ll give each participant two batons, one to keep as a reminder of the lessons and one to give to someone that they train.

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God for his generous provision.
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.
  • Pray for Carol and me as we head to California in two weeks for a short visit with our kids and Carol’s parents and sister. When we return, we will finish preparations for the Moscow conference.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.


Moscow Conference 2019 – July update

Dear friends,

Thanks for praying for the preparations for the October Moscow conference. Because of your prayers and generosity, the trip is now fully funded. We’ve purchased our tickets and made our hotel reservations.

As on previous trips, Carol and I will be working with John & Naomi Musgrave, missionaries sent out and supported by Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. We will also be joined by Marc Fournier. Both John & Marc were elders at Crossroads when I was on staff at the church and we have worked together previously.

The focus of the conference is on identifying and training the next generation of leaders in the church. I am starting to work on the lessons for the conference. The sessions will include: (1) Why? The biblical mandate for mentoring; (2) Who? What do you look for in a trainee? (3) What? What should you develop in this person? and (4) How? How do you go about doing it? I want to combine biblical teaching with creative activities and small group discussions so as to make the conference practical and helpful.

This past week, I sent in the preseminar assignments. If the participants complete the work, they receive a discount on their registration fee. To get them thinking about the topic, they are to answer the following questions:

  1. Read Exodus 18. What was Moses’ challenge? What was Jethro’s recommendation? What type of people was Moses to look for? What was the result?
  2. Read Exodus 17:8-16; 24:9-18; 33:7-11; Numbers 11:24-29; Numbers 13:1-14:45; Numbers 27:12-23; Deuteronomy 34:1-12. What kind of experiences did God and Moses use to prepare Joshua to lead Israel? What lessons did Joshua learn? What skills did he gain through those experiences?
  3. Read 1 Timothy 2:2. What did Paul instruct Timothy to do? What kind of character qualities was Timothy to look for in the people he was to invest in?
  4. Read Ephesians 4:11-16. What gifts and/or gifted people are given to the church? What is their role? What happens when they do their job well? What happens if they don’t carry out their responsibility?

Here’s some ways that you can pray for us:

  • Praise God that Carol and I have our visas, airline tickets, and hotel reservations. We praise God for his provision.
  • Praise God that the trip is fully funded!
  • Pray that God guides me as I develop the content for the conference and determine how to teach each session. Pray for insight and creativity.
  • Pray that God will bring the right pastors and leaders to the conference and that he begins to prepare their hearts to receive the material.

Thanks so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers.


Stay faithful for the long haul

Pastor Jeremy Writebol has written an insightful post encouraging pastors and church members to say faithful to their churches and ministries. In his post, “In Praise of Faithful Endurance,” he begins by saying,

“I can do this all day.”

I love how Captain America says that with a bloodied lip and bruised cheek. And as he gets back up, dusts himself off, and pulls the straps of his shield tighter around his arm he jumps back into battle, never willing to give up.

The ethos behind this kind of endurance is rare among us today, especially in the church. Too often, many churches are like revolving doors: people come in, stay a while, find something that bothers them, and then move along to the next church.

I don’t say that to pass blame. There are many good reasons to leave one church and find another. Nor do I intend to say that this problem only exists among non-staff members. However, ministry does require resolve, and those who are in it for the long haul encourage others to faithfully endure.

Click on the link to read the rest of his thoughts.

His post reminded of two men that I served with. Dr. R. Kent Hughes, one of my mentors, was in pastoral ministry for over 40 years, 27 of those years at College Church in Wheaton, IL. I was on staff at College Church from 1986-89. Kent now teaches at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, PA.  During my time in Russia, I joined John & Naomi Musgrave in watching a live stream of Jerry Mitchell’s final sermon at Crossroads Bible Church in Bellevue, WA. Jerry retired after 38+ years at the church. I was on staff at Crossroads from 1990-2004.

I have now been a pastor for 33 years. Articles like the one I quoted and men like Kent and Jerry encourage me to keep going. As Writebol says in closing his post, “May we all be long-haul, faithful believers for the sake of the name of Jesus!”

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Mentors, Ministry, Quotes


Training leaders in Russia


Helpful relationships that enhance growth

I am working my way through Jimmy Dodd’s book, Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships Every Pastor Needs.In part 1, he describes what happens when a pastor lacks integrity, that is, his front stage personality or character is different from his back stage personality and character. In part 2, he introduces his solution of the six relationships a pastor needs in order to be healthy and grow. In visual form, his model looks like this.

His model reminds me of what Prof Howard Hendricks often said, “Every man needs a Paul, a Timothy, and a Barnabas in their life. Every woman needs an Elizabeth, a Mary, and a Martha in their life. We all need a mentor, a protege, and a friend.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 25, 2017 in Books, Mentors, Ministry, Quotes


Expanding my resume

Two months ago, I added another job title to my resume—Professor. For the past 8 weeks, I taught an online class for Regent University in Virginia. Other than family members and my references, I chose not to tell anyone for a couple of reasons, which I will explain shortly.

When I pursued my doctorate in the 80’s, it was with the idea that I would be on staff at a church for 5-10 years, and then teach at a college or seminary. However, God had other ideas. My passion for the local church increased and my love of academia decreased. Over the years I have explored various teaching options, but God always closed the door and kept me in the church.

Last fall, I applied for a position as an Adjunct Professor (fancy term for “part-time”) at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA. It is a leading Christian University started in the late 70’s.

During the fall and winter, I went through the application process, including an interview and reference check. The process was completed in February just after I returned from New Zealand and I was approved as an Adjunct Professor. Shortly after that, I was invited to teach an 8-week course on Christian Ministry from March 13 – May 6. I quickly learned Blackboard, the instructional software used for online classes. The class started … the day after I left for Russia. The class just finished this past weekend. This course exposed the students to the philosophy and purpose of the church, something I know a thing or two about.

I chose not to tell anyone what I was doing for two primary reasons. One is that some might question my sanity for adding one more responsibility to my plate! I admit that I had the same thought and I wanted to see if I could do it before letting people know.

As it turned out, the class required about 2-3 hours of work per week. Other than the time difference and sporadic internet, it was not difficult to manage while I was in Russia. Regent designed the curriculum, assignments, tests, and textbooks. The assignments were of the read & report type with two papers to be written. My role was not to teach per se, but rather to mentor the students, giving feedback on their reading assignments and papers. Since the assignments were due on Thursday and Sunday evenings, I did my work on Saturday & Monday.

The second reason I didn’t tell folks beforehand was that some might worry I was planning to leave my current ministry and this was part of my exit strategy. Far from it. While I am committed to be the pastor of First Central Bible Church, I also desire to have a broader and deeper impact in the larger body of Christ. It is why I continue to teach for Walk Thru the Bible, go to Russia once a year, and write a blog. As I have shared before, I have no plans or timeline for retirement.

While I would like to continue, I don’t know what Regent’s plans are for the future. I suspect it will be later this summer before I am contacted about the next school year’s classes. We will see what God does and how he leads.


Ministry to/with Millennials

A guest missionary speaker showed the following video in church yesterday morning as he spoke about the challenges of mentoring those in the millennial generation. His thoughts fit in nicely with the book, Meet Generation Z, which speaks of the challenges of ministering to the newest generation, the one that follows the millennials.

A friend also shared the following video which is slightly tongue-in-cheek about a new ministry, Millennial International. Pretty funny.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Mentors, Ministry, Videos


Gaining evaluated experience

In order to grow and develop your skills, one needs not just experience, but evaluated experience. That is one of the many lessons I learned from “Prof.”, Dr. Howard Hendricks. As I work with and mentor pastoral interns at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA, I try to build those kind of experiences into their training.

Whenever one of our interns preaches, I ask several people in the congregation to fill out an evaluation form on their sermon and delivery. I then compile the forms and go over the results and comments with the individual. The goal is to help them build on their strengths and improve their weak areas. Below is the form that I use. Click on the link to download a pdf version of the template.

Sermon Feedback Form


Preacher: ___________________   Scripture ___________________ Date ___________


Introduction Low   High
_________________________ got my attention 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ touched a felt need in my life 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ introduced the text or topic of the sermon 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ exposed and explained the text clearly 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________’s message had a main idea that was faithful to the message and relevant to my life 1 2 3 4 5
Summarize what you sensed was the main idea of the message:



_________________________ engaged my mind and heart through the message 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ helped me apply biblical truth to my life experience 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ came across as sincere and genuine 1 2 3 4 5
_________________________ looked me in the eye and appeared comfortable 1 2 3 4 5
Two strengths of the message:





One area to develop for further growth: