How Mentoring Changes the World
The art of mentorship. Very few seem to understand it today.
In the English language, we’ve historically described the mentoring process with words like disciple, coach and apprentice. The word disciple is usually used for religious training, the word coach is mostly used for athletic training and the word apprentice is used for workforce training for trades like electricians and carpenters.
Let's spend some time focusing on mentorship, because this is not referring to another man-made church program, but to the effective leadership model of Jesus and his disciples. In the New Testament, when Paul first wrote that John Mark was not beneficial to him in the ministry, and then later wrote that John Mark was now beneficial to him in the ministry, Barnabas was mentoring Paul and Paul was mentoring John Mark. I believe that their effective implementation of mentorship or apprenticeship was one of the main reasons why they were sent out in pairs - one master (proven) trainer and one apprentice (unproven) trainee.
Discipleship is most effective when people are brought alongside a mentor. That’s why Jesus said, “Follow me”, rather than simply, "Teach what I teach". Paul confirmed this when he wrote; “Follow me as I follow Christ”. This is clearly referring to a relationship, requiring uncommon personal involvement, commitment, responsibility and accountability for the mentor and the one being mentored. Even the word 'Christian' is telling us this, because it literally means "one who follows after the anointed one and his anointing."
Mentoring is an essential part of leadership. In essence, you cannot be a leader if you are not raising up other leaders. A mentor is "a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction," according to The Uncommon Individual Foundation, an organization devoted to mentoring research and training. Mentoring is an important endeavor and a missing piece in many of our churches today.
From the very beginning, God said it is not good for a man to be alone. Yet I have observed that we have a lot of people suffering in silence in the church. People who are supposed to be redeemed are living as fallen. People who are supposed to be walking in freedom are living as slaves to the world. We can do better at making disciples. When we mentor people and intentionally make disciples in this way, we also create safe places for people to learn and grow, to love and be loved well. As those people become mature, they go to share and do for someone else what has already been done for and shared with them. This is God's work of grace, and these are the communities we need to see in a church.
Questions Mentors Ask: (who wouldn't want to be led this way)
- How is your ministry affecting your own relationship with God?
- How is your sense of God's call being clarified?
- Where are your skills being tested?
- Where is your character being tested?
- What are your hopes and dreams for your future ministry?
- How can I help you?
- What evidence can you point to of the presence and power of God in your ministry?
- How is your relationship/communication style impacting your ministry?
- As you assess your growth, where do you see areas you need to work on? What are your felt deficiencies?
- What are some new things you could try?
- What are some things we could do that would help you to be more a person of integrity?
- What pain have you experienced and what were some of the effects of that pain?
- How has that shaped who you are?
- How might God use your past to prepare you for ministry in the future?
- Let's pretend that God knows what he's doing in your life, even though things haven't worked out as you'd hoped. What might he be teaching you through that?