By Steven Ackley
When we talk about mentoring, it can be a word we are afraid of because of bad examples or no examples at all in or through the local church. What it all boils down to is that mentoring is an intentional relationship designed to help one person move along toward a place or achievement that the other person has already reached or, at the very least, is closer to reaching. Though mentoring has been claimed by the world as a means of personal and business development, it is a biblical practice that sometimes comes under the umbrella of discipleship, but always has the potential to help one believer grow further into the image of Christ.
As shown in 2 Timothy 2:2, mentoring is a biblical mandate. It is something that we are called to be doing as believers. Find others who are walking similar journeys and helping them grow into the most godly version of someone who is moving in that direction. As biblically mandated as this practice is, it can sometimes get lost that this is not just a spiritual formation endeavor, but also ought to be practically helpful for people. Mentoring ought to be developmental with skills, not only spiritual growth.
1. Train your mentors to invest in someone in the present with their future in mind.
Put in the exhausting work in investing in the next generation of ministry leaders. If our view of ministry is limited to us and what we can and will do in our lifetime, we are far too self-absorbed and short-sighted. Take the long view and see what could be, not just today’s needs.
2. Train your mentors to lead by example.
As a mentor there must be a commitment to show those you are leading the path you want them to walk. Do you set an example or do they just see someone calling out demands for others to follow?
3. Train your mentors to hand things off to those they are investing in, rather than hogging all the glory for themselves.
In mentoring we must not seek to self-promote. Instead, effective mentors will be setting others up to lead ministry better than you ever have or could. It is about the Kingdom, which will far outlast any individual.
See the opportunity in mentoring. See the potential in people. Commit to raising up young adults who are capable of more than just repeating Bible facts, but that have been developed to be faithful and influential followers of Jesus in whatever domain God has placed them. Mentoring is crucial in our efforts to accomplish this.