There are many key things to remember as we help our protégés plan their future. We begin by framing our vision through God’s vison for vocational work as seen biblically. With an objective lens, we assess our protégé’s current life stage. Lastly, we seek to connect the dots between our protégé’s present and their desired vocational future.
Framing work biblically
It is important for us to communicate to our proteges that for a Christian, our work is not the chief end in and of itself. Moreover, we are not primarily working for money, a pat on the back or self-actualization, rather we are working for God to be displayed as ultimate in our work. (Col. 3:23) We see work as a good thing that God has given us as a means of cultivating his creation (Gen. 2:15) even before the emergence of sin into the world (Gen. 3). The Bible also shows us that we pursue our vocational dreams and goals with an understanding that we should be faithful in life planning but with the understanding that God is in charge of the outcome. (Prov. 16:1-4) In brief, as Christians we work Godward. God is the main focus in our work, he has gifted us to be able to work and nothing gets done without Him.
Assessing our protégé’s current life stage
In planning for the future, it is very helpful to critically assess the protégés present life stage. We best make this assessment through asking appropriate probing questions. These questions include but are not limited to, in what areas is my protégé weak? In what areas are they strong? How are they doing academically, interpersonally and Spiritually? What role (if any) does cultural context play in shaping their present reality? Forming an answer to these questions and others like them are key in developing a useful vocational plan for the future.
One resource that our staff would highly recommend to assess the strengths of your protégé is StrengthFinders 2.0 by Tom Rath.
Connecting the dots between the protégé’s present and their desire future
Often one of the major struggles in goal setting with our proteges is helping them connect the dots between their future story and their scholastic and extracurricular performances today. One of the best means of connection is through hearing the full story of their mentors. We encourage mentors to share their full vocational story/testimony (good, bad and ugly) starting when they were their protégé’s age and continuing into the present. We share these stories so that our protégés can see many of our adult pursuits were first engaged and cultivated in the time of our youth.
Helpful Christian resources to help us better understand work –
Every Good Endeavor – Tim Keller
The Call – Oz Guiness, and Culture Maker – Andy Crouch (Artistic or Creative Calling)