When it comes to mentoring, discipleship, or leadership, many Christians (especially women) find themselves at a loss for what to do. Oftentimes we are so consumed with our daily grinds of work, parenting, hobbies, entertainment, community service, or relationship building that we really don’t think deeply about “how” we are living our lives or whether or not we are making the best use of the time and opportunities God has given us.
When asked to mentor or disciple someone else, we simply look at our current commitments and assume that we cannot possibly add one more thing on our already full plates. But what if I told you that you can have a great impact for God’s kingdom simply by reevaluating your priorities, and then committing to grow deeper and more meaningful relationships with those God has already put in your areas of influence by mentoring for God’s kingdom purposes? And what if I told you that I can help?
When speaking about the church, the Apostle Paul used the metaphor of the “body,” often referring to believers as “the body of Christ.” If we think about our own bodies, we understand well that each part internally and externally has specific functions and when a part of our body does not function as it should, our entire body knows it. We face limitations if we are unable to use our five senses of touch, smell, sight, hearing and tasting. Likewise, if we have a pain or ailment in one part of the body, the rest of the body responds negatively. Have you ever had a paper cut on your finger, or dropped something on your toe? Did the pain only impact the finger or toe, or did it affect the way you engaged the world with your entire body? In the same way, it is necessary that every part of the body of Christ is spiritually healthy and actively engaged in God’s work so the rest of the body does not suffer.
What does this mean regarding mentoring as intentional discipleship? Every believer in Christ is called to make disciples. That is correct. Every single one of us has a responsibility to influence and encourage others to follow Christ wholeheartedly. When we all respond in obedience to this calling, the entire body is at work as it should, and God’s accomplishes his good purposes through us. The primary calling for all believers is to be a disciple of Christ and to make disciples of Christ. Our secondary calling is to fulfill the purpose, pursue the mission, or accomplish the work he has for us in light of the communities and people we are connected to. Paul writes:
It is he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16 NIV
Our secondary calling are not all the same. Some are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, or teachers, and others are the ligaments or supporters that link or hold all of the body together. The latter may include people who are encouragers, cheerleaders, or those with the spiritual gifts of hospitality or service. Regardless of our secondary calling, our spiritual gifts, talents, or passions, are given for the purpose of preparing God’s people for works of service, and building up the body of Christ to reach unity in the faith, obtain knowledge of the Son of God, and to become mature in living lives that are fully devoted to Christ.
It is only when we are obedient to our primary calling of following Christ and our secondary calling of accomplishing his work, do we collectively experience the body of Christ growing from a place of spiritual infancy, uncertainty, and lack of knowledge, to becoming a people of God who speak God’s truth in love, grow in unity of faith, and together commit to the work of God.
So the question may be asked, “What does this commitment look like, and how do we do it?” Well, I’m glad you asked, because is addition to writing, “Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose through Intentional Discipleship,” I have a also written a six lesson Leader’s Training Manual to accompany the book.
I was thrilled to return from spring break and find these printed manuals in my mail pile!
Like the book, the training manual has two sessions.
Part I includes three short essays. Essay 1 is for the discipleship or small group pastor or ministry leader. Essay 2 is for the mentor. Essay 3 equips the mentor to have an honest discussion with their mentees about expectations and their mentoring relationship.
Part II includes the six training lessons that equip the mentor or mentoring ministry team to Mentor for Freedom, Mentor for Joy, Mentor for Love, Mentor for Hope, and Mentor for Life. The training includes everything you need to equip yourself and others for this important work of service: to make disciples (our primary calling) and help them (and yourself) understand the purpose of our secondary calling. Each lesson has a clearly defined purpose, objectives, goals, and required reading. They also include a group leadership training agenda, personal and reflective exercises, and group discussion questions and exercises for your leadership meetings. I’m so excited about these training lessons because they each also include a short encouragement and teaching video from me!
The training manual also has a mentoring mock session preparation guide, and preparation notes for mentoring, discipleship, or small group leaders. It closes with a few additional resources, tips, and tools. If you are looking for an easy to use, all inclusive, and practical discipleship training resource, this is it!
There are a couple ways to get your hands on these resources:
- Order Mentor for Life before April 30th, and input your name, email address, and receipt order confirmation number here to receive the free video and training downloads.
- You can request mentoring coaching or leadership training for your team at any time, and you will receive the downloadable material, and your team will receive a free printed leader’s training manual as part of the consulting or coaching process.
Cheers to equipping yourself and others to Mentor for Life!