Archives For mentoring

My Baby Girl Is Twelve

Erik Cooper —  February 9, 2011 — 4 Comments

Today my baby girl turns 12. Twelve.

Donuts come in dozens. So do roses. And now I guess years are packaging that way, too. Who knew?

To top it off, Mandy and I have officially become those parents. You know, the ones who spout annoying, clichéd sayings like “when did she ever get that old?” and “how did the years pass so quickly?” and “it seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.”

Don’t you hate those people?

(I’m sorry. It just happens like unwanted belly fat and male pattern baldness. Involuntary.)

Yet there she is, in all her emerging womanhood. Emma now shares shoes with her mom. She reads books with no pictures. She (occasionally) even talks to her dad about issues bigger than Justin Beiber and iCarly. She’s like a caterpillar in the early stages of pushing through its cocoon.

It’s beautifully scary.

So this year we’re launching an experiment. A year long intentional effort (that I honestly hope mom and dad have the courage to complete).

The entire year between Emma’s 12th and 13th birthdays is our gift (along with a few tangibles for dinner tonight, don’t worry we’re not crazy). Twelve months of exposure to new thoughts. Specific time set aside to write and dialog about those ideas with Mandy, me, and mentors we trust. A year of brand new experiences. A open window into the world. God’s world.

  • Relationships (and yes, the dreaded sex word).
  • Injustice and global responsibility.
  • Money and how we should think about it.
  • Scripture and what it means to work it into our lives.
  • A trip to an impoverished country.
  • Maybe even a physical challenge (a 5K or a biking event if dad can get motivated).

I’ll keep you posted here on our progress (the successes and challenges).

Our job as parents is to build our kids’ muscles. To help them see the world as God sees it. To get them leaning into their heavenly Father fully despite our own tendency to be such broken examples of who He really is (and trust me, even carrying the “pastor” label, we’re as flawed as they come).

So that when their cocoons fully open, they can fly.

Happy birthday baby girl! Here’s to a great year. To flying. Faster. Higher. Straighter. Closer to the Father.

With His heart in you.

All my love…daddy.

Mentoring in the Church

Erik Cooper —  November 4, 2010 — Leave a comment

My wife was honored to attend the Women of Influence breakfast here in downtown Indy.  One of the major buzzwords that kept coming to the forefront was mentoring.

Each of the powerful and influential women honored this morning referred over and over again to mentors who had personally and intimately invested in their lives.


If mentoring is such a powerful force, why does it seem to have become a lost art in the church (at least those I’ve been a part of).

I love the energy, encouragement, and challenge of a weekend service and the “step into intimacy” of a small group.  But the most lasting change I’ve seen in spiritual development has come through mentoring.  One person taking responsibility for another. Sharing life. Wisdom. Insights. One on one.

Has a mentor directly impacted your relationship with God? Has the church really lost the art of one on one mentoring?

A New Scorecard?

Erik Cooper —  March 6, 2009 — 4 Comments

One of the topics I’ve seen flying around many of the blogs and feeds I follow is the question, “does the church need a new scorecard?”  It spawns a great, thought-provoking dialog, and one I’m very interested in since I’ve just co-planted a brand new church in downtown Indianapolis.  Last Monday morning, the day after our launch, the questions were predictable:

How many showed up?”
How much was in the offering?”
How many salvations?”

It’s the typical stuff, and it’s not so much that it’s wrong to ask or that those issues aren’t important (or are they?).  It’s just that this checklist has become our scorecard and I think it may measure the wrong thing, or at best push things of lesser importance to the top of the list.  So how do we “keep score?”

This morning I met with one of my newest friends, Dr. Mike Elmore.  Mike has spent the past few years developing his passion and personal plan for mentoring people towards real & positive life-change.  He threw a couple of questions at me, things he looks for in those he’s mentoring, and it got me wondering if maybe these wouldn’t be the beginnings of a dialog that could lead to a better gauge for our “success” as a church.

  • What does my spouse or significant other say about me to others (unsolicited)?
  • What do I talk about?  Is the reality and activity of God in my life evident in the way I speak?
  • Have I shown a shift from self-focused to others-focused?
  • Have I shown a change in my attitude towards adversity in my life?
  • Do I have a desire for solitude with God?
  • Have I progressively shown more positive interaction in relationships with others?
  • Do I have a passion to serve humanity?
  • Have I displayed an increased submission to God in decisions that I make?

Honestly, these things can’t be quantified in a graph or Excel spreadsheet.  They’ll show up in relationships.  In dialog.  In real stories from real lives.  But at the end of the day, these questions dig into the things that really matter.  I’m not sure what it all means or what we do with it, but I know the church I’m called to co-lead needs a different filter.  A new scorecard.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…