Wild Words . . . Photos & Fine Art

Co-creating by heart with sandy cathcart through writers helps and art info, focusing on all things wild.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Steve Hopkins Message to Artists and Writers - Part XI

Continuing the second half of Steve’s two messages given at the recent Artists Retreat at Box R Ranch in Southern Oregon.

Point One of Steve Hopkins message to artists and writers cautioned us to be patient but persistent with our pastors. A lot of folks have given me suggestions and I will be sharing those at the end of the entire series.

Point Two explained the need to be persistent but patient with our pastors, Point Three told us to think local, Point Four cautioned us to be a servant, and Point Five reminded us to be creative.

Today we learn how to be a mentor and what that means for a writer or artist.

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Be a Mentor

Christian mentoring is more than teaching, it is discipleship. Whereas a relationship between teacher ad student may not go beyond the specific subject matter which identifies their relationship, the mentoring relationship involves much more personal contact where not only skills are taught, but also a worldview.

The relationship is more one-on-one. This is how Christian artists and writers propagate their craft in a full-orbed way.

What is so valuable about this approach is that first we have the privilege of investing ourselves in the lives of others.

Remember the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus? It clearly showed the value of mentoring. Here was a musician who, for most of his adult life, chased after the “brass ring,” thinking he would be successful in his field only by composing his “great work.” But, he had to put off his dream and answer the more immediate needs of his family and his job. He felt cheated…until he found at the end of his career that his great work was in the lives of the people he had impacted over the years.


Another advantage of mentoring is that younger artists, being mentored within the context of a local congregation, by local artists, learn their craft within the context of service and ministry, as opposed to the accolades of the stage or the art gallery.

Their art serves their church and their communities. It brings joy to the nursing home, hope and comfort to the suffering, gladness and wonder to the younger faces, beauty and glory to the worship service, and glory to God.

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Wow! That was a good word.

Mentoring is something Chris Hopkins (Steve’s awesome artist brother) modeled for us very well at the art conference. He gave away all his “secrets,” and helped everyone as much as possible. He especially helped one young woman who was very eager to learn. You can see the result in the photos posted with this article.

Mentoring is something I’ve done for a long time.

My first real experience was in mentoring a younger woman as a worship leader. I had mixed feelings in doing so. It seemed I was training someone to replace me. And I wasn’t wanting to be replaced! It also irked me a little to give her all “my secrets.” But at the same time I found real joy in her eagerness to be all that God wanted her to be in the area of worship.

I struggled with these contrasting feelings until the day I realized that every time she stood up to lead others in worshiping God, I had a part in it. What a wonderful thought! I could be tired or sick in bed and still be honoring God through someone else’s gifts.


That simple realization made mentoring a joy to me.

I give away “my secrets” to fellow writers and artists and know that as they use them to glorify God I have a part and it blesses His heart and mine!

It takes away all the competiveness that sullies the art and writing world as well as the arena of music.

It transforms me from being a tortured soul into a thankful child of God.

It helps me to see my “gifts” in the right context.

Some of the people I’ve mentored have gotten their books published before mine. Ooops! There go those contrasting feelings again.

And how many times have I wondered whether I’m truly happy if God’s ONLY purpose is for me to mentor others while my own books remain unpublished. What does it really matter? Perhaps I’m reaching more people through mentoring than by the actual doing myself.

Another thing I’ve realized only recently is that I cannot finish all the things I hoped to complete in my lifetime. So, it’s a good thing to mentor others, because it will take all of us to complete the task! Ha!

The best thing about mentoring others is the awesome joy I feel when doing so. And the realization of God’s pleasure. I feel God’s pleasure when I write. But I also feel God’s pleasure when I’m mentoring. And it’s given me a wealth of new friends.



Steve’s concept of mentoring younger artists and writers in the context of a local congregation is a new thought to me, but it rings true in my heart.

I recently entered an art contest and didn’t place at all. Ugh! It made me feel like I wasn’t really of any worth as a painter. What foolishness! Art galleries, press releases, and accolades of stage are often the feelings of a certain crowd at a certain time.

Many artists weren’t recognized for their worth until after they died. I can choose to look at my art as a gift God can use instead of wondering if I measure up to someone else’s standards.

As a result, I now write for local papers that don’t pay much and I place some of my writing here and elsewhere on the web. Sure. I still have to pay bills, and I keep a certain amount of writing for that venue, but I also keep some as a gift and it feels really good to do so.

It also feels good to know that one of my paintings hangs in the hallway of my church where one of the pastors likes to see it because it makes him feel happy. A neighbor has one of my greetings cards featuring a bull elk hanging above their entryway. My granddaughter has a picture of Aslan hanging on her wall. I didn’t get paid anything for any of these things, but the treasure will last longer than money.

Now, I’m thinking of new ways I can bring glory to the worship service and to God. And while I’m thinking, I’ll also look for ways I can mentor others along the same path. Is there some way I can help them experience this same freedom of joy in service? Because that’s really what it amounts to—freedom. And it’s something that can easily be lost if we don’t guard it with all our hearts.

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