A few days ago, I was working in our home office when I heard my husband talking on the phone. It turns out that Jimmy was talking to one of “his boys”, the term he uses to affectionately refer to the group of young men he has invested the most in over the years. These are the students who have benefited most from the type of mentoring we discussed in “TIME and LOVE the Languages of Discipleship”. They spent well over an hour on the phone talking about life, what God is doing in their lives, the struggles he was having, and other things. I frequently hear these kinds of conversations in our home and I did not pay too much attention to what was being said, but my ears did perk up at one key statement that made me stop and think…
“I’m 34 years old and have been in the ministry for more than 10 years, but I still have older men in my life who mentor me and aren’t afraid to tell me if I am making wrong decisions in life or in ministry…” Jimmy openly shared.
The Apostle Paul on Mentoring
This simple statement made me take pause. It also brought to mind something the apostle Paul once said, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14). Even Paul, who did SO many great things for Christ, did not consider himself to be perfect. He had men in his life that taught him what it meant to be a Christian and to serve Christ. Why do you think he partnered with Barnabas on his first two mission trips? He needed someone to work with him who had been a Christian for a while and “knew the ropes” so to speak. Paul also goes on to encourage the believers to “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” (Phil. 3:17).
Thoughts to Ponder
* Do you have someone in your life that is mentoring you?
* Do you consider yourself to be at a point that you no longer need someone to “tell you how to do things” and don’t feel you need a mentor?
* What does your attitude toward mentoring say about you and your ministry?
* How does your attitude toward being mentored affect how you mentor others?
Mentors may come and go in your life, but I personally believe you always need to have people in your life who are older, wiser, more experienced, and who aren’t afraid to get in your face about the important issues (if needed). The best mentoring relationships often grow naturally. Instead of spending all of your time seeking out the perfect mentor, spend time in prayer asking God to send this person into your life, develop relationships with people who are mentor material, and be willing to accept the leadership and challenges they will bring when your mentor comes on the scene. They may have been there all along and you just didn’t know it or just didn’t care.