Mentoring One Another
I will confess that discipleship/mentoring is a major part of my “job” at Vero Christian Church, so this is where I live. As such, having the privilege of re-reading Dr. Lynn Anderson‘s book, “They Smell Like Sheep” as I mentor someone these days is pure joy for me. It also challenges me and shames me for not doing a better job in communicating the importance and the practice of mentoring.
As such, let me share just a couple of truths regarding mentoring one another, and let me encourage all of us to engage in mentoring.
Dr. Anderson asserts two serious principles which I want to address:
God expects all of us to mentor others to some degree. – THAT is an expectation that should challenge and frighten us at the same time. God EXPECTS me to mentor others? Yeah, but I am not sure what that looks like.
The modern-day church shouts the need for godly men and women to serve as spiritual mentors. – We understand that nature abhors a vacuum. I would say that there is a vacuum when it comes to proper mentors in the church in general these days. In discussion about that matter this morning, a guy I am mentoring hit the nail on the head as to why that is so:
Too many of us are afraid to open ourselves up, make ourselves vulnerable to others for fear of them seeing our flaws…our sin. We want to come across as strong, as perfect and to mentor someone means getting in there and doing life with them to the point that the superficial facade that we like to put up crumbles in the light of reality. If God expects us all to mentor others, and if the church is shouting for the need for godly men and women to mentor, then it is incumbent on us to (and this is NOT a comprehensive list):
Do a heart check. Be a person after God’s own heart. Let your deepest motivations and passions be for God and for mentoring God’s people (by the way, God’s people are both Christians and non-Christians…God is for people, and you should be, too).
Get over the fear of being vulnerable to someone else. Open our life up to one person (and to a group of people in a Life Group), and “get real” with them.
Be authentic in your walk with Christ. Yeah, that IS related to being vulnerable. People need to know that you are REAL, that your faith is working for you, that you are a person of integrity.
Study to show yourself approved as one who correctly handles the Word of God. Share what you have learned and how you apply that to your life.
Remember that character matters. Be a person of character. Be faithful, because faithfulness is character lived out.
Do the hands-on modeling for the person or persons we mentor to be able to follow. We must make what we are doing scaleable and reproducible. It may come as a shock to you, but that is what Jesus did as He mentored the 12 Apostles, His inner circle of three guys, and the “disciple whom Jesus loved.”
Be ready to invest significant time into the person(s) you mentor. I often refer to mentoring/discipleship as the “crock pot solution to a microwave problem.” Mentoring is not completed in a day, or a week, or even a year. I don’t see a completion date when it comes to mentoring. Oh, the frequency of meeting may (and will) change, but doing life together means just that: doing LIFE together.
Bottom line is this: to mentor someone, you must love God with a wild abandon, and you must love people the way God loves them. You must invite them to follow you as you follow Christ, and you need to always remember that you cannot lead people where you have not gone.
Next time, I will examine “discipling on purpose.” For these discussions, I will use the terms discipling and mentoring interchangeably. Bear with me as I continue prayerfully considering this crucial topic of making disciples for Jesus.
What would you add to my list regarding mentoring? I would love to continue the conversation in the comment section below.