The final phase is often marked by the mentoring relationship becoming more like a peer friendship. Just like Paul and Barnabas. Do not keep looking down on your protégé when he has matured. Transform the relationship. Even our sons can be treated as peers when they have matured and proved themselves. Failure to redefine the relationship may destroy it as the nurtured champion feels suffocated. Give the young lion space! Otherwise his roar will forever be overshadowed by the master’s. The Master mentor, Jesus Christ, having raised the apostles, gave them the charge and gave them space to exercise what they learnt while he disappeared back to heaven. In his departing message he called them friends and brothers.
International church planter, Henry Madava, born and raised in Zimbabwe and now based in Kiev, Ukraine was raised and nurtured in Tom Deuschle’s church. Despite Pastor Tom not having known and recognised the young champion, the nurturing influence was there none the less. But the modest pastor accepts the fiery church planter back into his home church not as a son and junior but raises a platform for him as a peer. That is an example of redefining the mentoring relationship. A lot of pastors and organisational leaders fail at this point.
Like I stated before if the separation phase is handled properly the relationship will be transformed and redefined. If however the separation phase is handled poorly, the relationship will be destroyed. It is easy to destroy your legacy and life’s work by failing on the release well. Remember that your protégés are the missiles that you are sending into the next generation, they are an extension of your influence. Give them space to exercise their gifting along side you or separate from you without destroying the relationship.
Some mentors fail to realise that the redefinition phase may entail a separation from the organisation without disrupting the relationship.