In the previous post, we discussed highlights from Regi Campbell’s book, Mentor Like Jesus. This is an overflow from that discussion.
Merriam-Webster defines mentor as a trusted counselor, guide, tutor or coach. I know that some people shy way from the term because it sounds so, well responsible. Though it sounds quite formal, mentoring is a basic, foundational, tried and true practice. In our daily living, many of us mentor either directly or indirectly. We mentor as parents, teachers, friends, and encouragers.
As leaders, however, we have an obligation to intentionally mentor those that are not as wise or experienced. The “churchy” phrase for mentoring in this capacity is often referred to as the “Titus 2 Mandate,” located in scriptures Titus 2:1-5. I’m paraphrasing:
You must teach what is right according to the Bible. Teach the older men to be even tempered, respectable, disciplined, and faithful with love and perseverance. In the same way, teach older women to be respectful in their living, not gossips or drunks. Teach them what is good. If you do, then they can train the younger women to live with their husbands and children, to live disciplined and pure lives while being productive at home, and kind, while submitting to their husbands, so that none of them will disgrace the Word of God.
The concepts to be grasped in these scriptures are clear. Mentoring is an obedient response to the “if-and-then” demands of training and teaching, which ultimately changes lives. When lives are changed for Biblical righteousness, our relationships are as they should be and God is honored through them.
I encourage you to commit to the investment of intentionally mentoring someone today.
Here are a few of my thoughts when considering the highlights from Regi’s book (outlined in the previous post):
- Start in prayer, continue in prayer, and end in prayer. God will reveal the person(s) that he would have you mentor, and God will equip you to do the work.
- The decision to mentor is a high cost! You don’t want to mentor someone who is not fully committed to the process required for their change, growth and development.
- Learning and listening is part of the process. As a mentor, the automatic assumption is that there is much for the mentee to learn from you. (Additionally, Regi highlights the peer-to-peer mentoring that can occur in a group setting.) I have also found that mentoring can take on different shapes and forms because all of us are individuals and have a tendency to learn differently. For example, I learned several years ago that setting finite goals was not the best approach when mentoring certain young people. Intentionally mentoring that group of individuals often consisted of helping them “see” the big picture. Mentors should not rule out, however, the very important likelihood that you will continuously learn from your mentees as they learn from you.
- Be open to change. Regi points out that “mentoring is messy” because life is messy. Mentoring requires an openness, willingness, and humility that you may be wrong concerning an issue. When establishing a mentoring ministry or relationship, it is important to allow the necessary time to appropriately evaluate whether the relationship is fulfilling its intended purpose, and to make the adjustments as needed.
What makes you a mentor? Have you benefited from mentoring? What tools to you recommend for mentoring others?
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© Natasha L. Robinson 2010