MENTOR: How Along-the-way Discipleship Will Change Your Life
NOTES FROM LAST CLASS series:
In the introduction, the author, Chuck Lawless, tells how Jesus mentored His disciples:
– Jesus taught them how to carry on His work.
– Jesus journeyed through life with His disciples and taught them as He went, both by what He said to them and what He did with them.
MENTOR is about this very process Jesus showed us. In Lawless’ own words, the study is about “hanging out with somebody whose life shows God’s power; it’s about following Jesus’ example and mentoring others so they can carry on Jesus’ work too. It’s about mentoring and being mentored, discipling and being discipled. …written with a certain audience in mind – Christians who desire to be in a mentoring relationship with other Christians in the context of a local church or ministry.” (pgs. 8-9).
Understanding Along-the-way Discipleship
Who would you say has invested and influenced your life the most? Nearly all of us can think of someone, or several, who have taken the time to walk with us during a certain segment of our lives. So what words do you think about when you hear the word mentor? Some of the class’ responses were: admonisher, discipler, encourager, equipper, guide, intentional, never give up, relationships, and teacher.
We talked about divine intersections (p. 13), that is, the way God brings people together for His purpose.
Our Bible devotional was from Philippians 3:12-17. As a mentor, Paul was certain about what his ministry and example meant to other believers. He especially invited his “disciples” to imitate him and to watch how others like him walk in their faith (v. 17).
Mentors will soon discover their own weaknesses as they intentionally mentor others. The author stated that “our goal is to teach out of our strengths and keep working on our weaknesses, so we can continue to grow” (p. 15). Knowingly or unknowingly, mentees will help mentors know their (mentors) weaknesses.
We discussed the differences between encouraging and equipping. This was mentioned several times throughout the class session. It was noted that encouragement does not mean to mentor. However, mentoring always includes encouragement.
The goal of mentoring is that the mentee becomes more like Jesus and then leads others to do the same (p. 16). This is the model of discipling that Jesus exemplified and commanded.
The key to mentoring is directly related to the goal: becoming more and more like Jesus in the mentoring process (p. 18).
Homework! Read and answer the questions in pages 18-22. Specifically, consider what you think it meant to be a mentor in the early church. Then, define mentoring according to what you read about in the Bible.
The homework assignment will remind you that mentoring is Biblical. We see examples of men pouring their lives into other (young) men in Jesus and Paul. Can you name other men or women in the Bible who did the same?
Not only is mentoring Biblical but in the mentoring relationship both the mentor and mentee need to guard their lives against any attack from the enemy. In reality, the mentor should be more alert to this and guard his/her mentee. Still, as the author reminds us, “The shepherd is still a sheep” (p. 23).
We didn’t mention this in class but many of us (mentors) might be a mentor and not even know it. Young people or our peers (or even older people) look up to us. This makes it vitally important for us to guard our lives.
Finally, I personally identified a pillar of truth in this lesson. A PILLAR OF TRUTH is a strong, positive statement discovered in the lesson (either in the book or stated in class) which in concert with other truths gives each of us a foundation for mentoring. You should discover your own SIX PILLARS OF TRUTH about mentoring. For now, see my list, below.
THROUGH THE WEEK – See page 25 and be sure to connect, Pray, and Observe.
Learning From the Master: Jesus & His Disciples
Bible study review: We listed a few characteristics that Paul told Titus the believers must attain. Soundness in faith and self-control were high on the list. Paul followed Jesus’ model by pouring his life into a few young men, like Titus and Timothy.
1. Making disciples is not optional for followers of Jesus. WE discussed how the Great Commission and mentoring are related. (pgs. 30-31)
2. Our call is to point others to Jesus so they can spend time with Him. The author of our study, Chuck Lawless, asked the question, “Is your spiritual life so strong that others would want you to be their mentor?” (p. 34) It’s a good question to reflect on as we sort through our own strengths and weaknesses.
3. We are called to make God the priority of our lives (pg. 34). I stated in class: Jesus isn’t just number one, He’s the only one. Everything we have is His blessing to us because of our faith in Him. As mentors, we are to teach our mentees to make Jesus the priority of their lives.
4. Jesus initiated relationships. He didn’t wait for His disciples (mentees) to come to Him (pg. 34).
5. Jesus not only made time for His mentees but He taught them to prioritize their commitment to Him (pg. 35).
Jesus modeled how TIME is important in mentoring. He did this in three ways:
By spending time initiating a relationships
By spending time being intentional in relationships
By spending time making the relationship intimate
6. Good mentoring should always lead to Godly action (pg. 36).
7. Accountability is a part of Christlike mentoring (pg. 37). While we can’t hold Jesus accountable in our relationship with Him, we can call on Him to help us AND expect that He will be faithful to His promises – that requires faith on our part. As mentors, we are expected to hold our mentees accountable to the relationship. Remember, NEVER GIVE UP, no matter what.
8. Jesus gave His life for us. There are many ways in Christ’s name we can give our lives to those who follow us (pg. 37). Again, this is where TIME comes in.
Homework! Read pages 36-38 (a disciple’s task; the death of Jesus). Privately answer the questions at the top of page 38. We will not ask you to discuss these in class (however, a couple of us shared our story in last night’s session). Also, read through the Scripture prayers listed on page 43. Be prepared to share the one that spoke to you the most.
9. Jesus is always with us. We don’t mentor in and of our own strength (pg. 39).
10. Jesus mentored out of power and authority – so can we! (pg. 40)
11. Jesus patiently mentored His disciples so that they would be great evangelists (pgs. 41-42).
What PILLAR OF TRUTH did you discover in this lesson? Mine was: Mentoring can be messy, time-consuming, and frustrating, especially if God directs you to mentor someone who has much room for growth (pg. 42).
Mentoring in Action: Paul & Timothy
1. Paul initiated the mentoring relationship (pg. 51).
Mentors should recognize giftedness, the potential in their mentee(s), and the needs of their mentee(s) for a mentoring relationship.
2. Mentoring is a divine intersection that is difficult to deny (pg. 52).
If, through prayer, God has laid it upon your heart to mentor someone (in particular), how would you describe the best way to invite someone to be your mentoree? This question reminds us that mentoring is a humble enterprise; it is not about exalting oneself or even the mentee – it is about exalting Jesus. Mentoring relationships cannot be taken for granted, either in the invitation or in the mentorship that develops.
3. Paul recognized Timothy’s areas of needed growth (pg. 53). Paul took it upon himself as a Godly man, mentor, and father-figure to do life together with Timothy. That’s a great “model” for mentors – doing life together.
Homework! Read pages 53 – 55. Answer questions on page 54. This exercise will help us learn how to identify character.
4. Paul invited Timothy into his life (pg. 55). The key word here is invite.
5. Paul modeled teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance (pg. 55). He reminded Timothy of these positive characteristics (or traits). Read II Timothy 3:10-15 and reflect on this challenge: How does the role of mentor change when a mentee goes through something incredibly difficult?
6. Paul challenged Timothy to fulfill his calling (pg. 57). The author of our study book stated, “But my concern is that as older church leaders, we’re not doing enough to pass the faith on to the next generation. I sometimes wonder if young adult Christians feel as if they’re reaching back, and nothing is there. Intergenerational mentoring can correct that problem.
7. Mentors pave the way for their mentees to do what God has called and gifted them to do (pg. 58). We (mentors) should stop reminiscing about whose shoulders we’re standing on and do something about whose (mentees) standing on OUR shoulders (Joel Carwile, 3/21/13, Campbellsville University).
8. Mentors model faith all the way to the end (pgs. 59-60):
– Daily obedience prepares us for death.
– We can teach others until the day we die.
– Death is easier when someone else is ready to carry on the work of the Gospel.
My choice for a PILLAR OF TRUTH from this lessons was: Mentors model faith all the way to end.
Taking the First Steps
1. Kinds of mentors: intensive, occasional, passive
Our devotional was in I Corinthians 12:7-25. We identified personal gifts (for ourselves) mentioned in the Scripture.
2. What to look for in a mentor (pages 70-71):
growing in Christ
respected by others
time for mentoring
We compared this list with an article in the April 2013 HomeLife magazine, 10 Keys to Finding the Mentor You Need, by Margaret Feinberg. Here is an outline of that article:
1. Reconsider the meaning of Mentor
– Mentor means something different to everyone.
– Consider simply asking someone to lunch to build a friendship. Often these efforts produce a more natural relationship and provide time for prayerfully considering if he or she is someone from whom you want to learn.
2. Consider what you want in a Mentor
– Mentees don’t really know what they want.
– When you know what you want, you will be better equipped to approach the right person.
3. Check the person’s wingspan
Check the person’s wingspan. Does he or she have room for one more? Or, is this person already over-committed?
4. Make sure there’s a connection
Developing a healthy mentoring relationship will require you to pick up the phone, reach out and nurture the relationship.
5. Examine the person’s life
Make sure you’re not aligning your life with someone who has self-destructive tendencies or behaviors.
6. Share common values
Find a couple whose spiritual walk is similar to the path that you and your spouse are walking, or the mentor relationship won’t be beneficial to either of you.
7. Savor candidness
Good mentors will surprise you with their straight-forwardness and honesty – trusting that you’ll want to hear the answer. Or, if you admit a weakness, the mentor will address it head-on.
8. Develop thicker skin
– A friend will often tell you what you want to hear, but a mentor will tell you what you need to hear.
– A good mentor will say the things that are hard to hear – even if it affects the relationship.
9. Adjust your expectations
Instead of seeking a single mentor, develop a multitude of mentors. Look for people who can challenge you professionally, with your finances, in your marriage, and as you parent. Those aren’t going to be the same people. We do an injustice to our mentors when we expect one person to be the end-all-be-all wisdom-dispensing guru in every area of your life.
10. Pray for eyes to see
Chances are, God has already brought someone into your life who’s ready to be a voice of wisdom and encouragement.
3. Our next discussion centered on the three characteristics that come to mind when we consider what we want in a mentor. Several spiritual characteristics were mentioned. Also mentioned was “enabler,” and excellent way to describe a mentor who leads a mentoree to take action.
4. On pages 73-76, the author of the study mentioned mentoring expectations and goals. In this section, we also identified three types of relationship: formal, intentional, informal. These relationships are very different from mentoring relationships but also have a lot of commonalities. Relationships also prepare the way for deeper mentorship.
We noted that intentional relationships are a combination of formal and informal relationships. More about these are described in the text.
5. On pages 75-76, you’ll read about assessing (evaluating) mentoring relationships. In informal and intentional mentoring relationships, the mentor may need to discern several questions and lead his/her mentoree to address them:
1. In what way is/isn’t the mentoring relationship meeting your expectations?
2. In what ways are you a stronger believer because of this mentoring relationship?
3. What would you change about the way our relationship is working?
4. How might i be a better mentor/mentoree?
5. do you want to continue this mentoring relationship?
6. If so, what should be our focus during the next six months?
5. From pages 76-78, we find these truths:
– Mentoring is about making disciples and therefore it is about the Great Commission.
– Mentorees can be willing or unknowing.
– Our desire to mentor should be based on God’s guidance – not simply a desire to rescue someone but a desire to invest in someone.
HOMEWORK: Read pages 83-97; answer questions on page 88. Also, the question on page 95 about the type of books you enjoy reading.
OPTIONAL: Take the Spiritual Gifts Survey (handed out in class or click on the title to find it online). We will discuss this next week.
My choice for a PILLAR OF TRUTH from this lesson was: The best mentoring has the informality of a strong relationship coupled with the formality of intentional goals toward spiritual growth.
Developing a Plan of Action:
Suggestions for developing a lasting mentoring relationship
1. Prepare for spiritual battle (pg. 84).
You should never fight the war alone if you have a mentor by your side (pg. 85).
2. Bible study: Wear God’s Armor, Ephesians 6:10-18
God’s plan is for more mature believers to teach younger believers how to use the equipment and protection He provides.
Review the Charles Wesley hymn, Soldiers of Christ, Arise. What stanza do you like best?
Truth (pgs. 86-87)
Be clear about expectation. Remember that mentoring relationships function not only to prevent sin but to promote growth. Determine up front that you’ll both be honest.
Righteousness (pgs. 87-88)
We show God’s work in our lives by making God-honoring choices. In mentoring relationships, we hold each other accountable to God’s Word, push for holiness, and pick each other up when we fall.
Ready to share: prepared (pgs. 88-89)
Together, pray for opportunities, clarity, and boldness to share the gospel.
Faith (pgs. 89-90)
Read Romans 15:1-2. Who are the “we who are strong” Paul wrote about? Who are “the weak?”
An effective mentor encourages more loudly than the enemy discourages, strengthens more faithfully than the enemy weakens, and affirms more clearly than the enemy condemns.
Salvation (pgs. 90-91)
Good mentors recognize the enemy’s tactics and constantly remind us of God’s forgiving grace.
The Word of God (pgs. 92-93)
This is mentoring: Someone teaches us the Word, we obey it, and then we teach it to others. That’s taking up the sword.
Prayer (pg. 93)
We need mentors to teach us to pray.
3. Be in it for the long haul (pgs. 94-95)
Use various methods to prompt discussion, thinking, and reflection with your mentoree:
– questions & answers
– stories & case studies (real or imagined)
– reading (books, news stories, blogs, etc.)
– interviews (mentorees can interview mentors or others the mentor recommends)
– road trips
HOMEWORK: Make a list of people in your life who wear well the armor of God – ask them the secret to staying spiritually protected. READ pages 101-115, Preparing for Potholes & Possibilities.
My PILLAR OF TRUTH #5 from this sessions was: Mentors guard their mentorees against the enemy’s attacks while teaching their disciples to stand in God’s power against Satan.
Preparing for Potholes & Possibilities
1. Potential Potholes – early warning signs of problems (pgs. 103-109):
A. not establishing expectations
B. tutoring rather than mentoring
C. refusing to confront
D. developing jealousy
E. surrendering to spiritual letdown
F. choosing not to multiply
2. Potential Possibilities – returns on the investment of mentoring (pgs. 109-114):
A. finding authentic, rich relationships
B. expanding your influence
C. appreciating and offering grace
D. getting blessings and prayer
My choice for this session’s PILLAR OF TRUTH (#6) was: Mentoring should lead to independence from the mentor and dependence on God (pg. 103).
Your list of Mentoring PILLARS OF TRUTH will help you summarize what you’ve learned. Here is my list:
Mentoring PILLARS OF TRUTH
#1 – Good mentoring creates an atmosphere for honest confession because the mentoree knows that admitting the truth will not result in any less love or acceptance (pg. 24).
#2 – Mentoring can be messy, time-consuming, and frustrating, especially if God directs you to mentor someone who has much room for growth (pg. 42).
#3 – Mentors model faith all the way to the end (pg. 60).
#4 – The best mentoring has the informality of a strong relationship coupled with the formality of intentional goals toward spiritual growth (pg. 73).
#5 – Mentors guard their mentorees against the enemy’s attacks while teaching their disciples to stand in God’s power against Satan (pg. 84).
#6 – Mentoring should lead to independence from the mentor and dependence on God (pg. 103).