Thirty eight years ago Deanna and I were living in Vancouver, Washington. We attended a Baptist church and it was our first step toward “really jumping in” to the life of a church. It began by working with a group of 5th and 6th grade boys and girls during a Wednesday night ministry.
That year the pastor of the church challenged the men to begin to meet together in groups of 2-4 with a goal of “iron sharpening iron”. (Proverbs 27:17) I joined a group and within the group there were a couple of guys a few years older than me who had far more ministry experience under their belts.
One of the men had been a youth pastor and was finishing his seminary training. He would regularly bring biblical topics and issues from his classes and as a group we would wrestle with some heavier biblical questions surrounding those topics. It was my first taste in the debates surrounding “predestination”. It’s fair to say that my contribution often was lacking. Sitting and listening was more the norm for me when the debate was taking place.
The truth is a couple of those men who were significantly farther along spiritually than I was were actually mentoring me in areas that I had never thought about. Those discussions created a spark about the importance of the scriptures and began a trajectory of moving me toward ministry, even to where I am today.
Let me ask a question; have you ever had another person in your life be very intentional with you where you would call that person a mentor? Biblical mentoring isn’t some causal coffee relationship talking about the ugly weather. It is about having another person looking to “present you mature in Christ”. (Col. 1:28)
Here is my opinion; the church of Jesus Christ is lacking intentional mentoring relationships. I am not sure why it is so hard for churches to move down this disciple-making path. But as I look at the younger generations (teens through 30’s) in churches of today, I see they are hungry for these types of connections.
Realize spiritual perfection isn’t part of the job description of a spiritual mentor.
Realize spiritual perfection isn’t part of the job description of a spiritual mentor. What it takes is men or women who are a step or two beyond someone else to think through a plan for spiritual influence in another. Do you know that Jesus intentionally invested in the 12 disciples but he intensely mentored three in a far more deliberate way? Paul followed that same model and poured his life into a young man named Timothy which resulted in a continuation of ministry well after Paul went to be with Jesus. The Bible is filled with other examples of people intentionally influencing another in helping them walk with God and serve the Kingdom.
How about testing the waters in this area? At the end of March I am offering a class on mentoring using a book that communicates what Biblical mentoring is all about. My hunch is that God is very interested in people responding to become spiritual influencers in a more intentional way…I think it has something to do with that word “discipleship”.
Parents, a special shout out to you! How about taking a shot? If you have a son or daughter you are called to disciple your children. Realize that the core of parenting is “mentoring”! Our teens deeply need moms and dads learning the spiritual skill of being a mentor.
I’m hoping to fill up the new conference room off the foyer with adults who will begin to learn about spiritual mentoring this spring (whenever it comes)!