Mentoring

One of the greatest blessings as an elder, pastor, director and even an administrator is having someone who listens, collaborate with you and help you in problem solving. Essentially it is someone that you can look up to as a guide. As noted that can be a real benefit in many ways for each one of us faces challenges and situations we never imagined or anticipated and having one to stand alone side can be most re-assuring. This is basically mentoring and as one reads the Bible he or she will see several examples of this in both old and new testaments.
Examples of Mentoring
Biblical examples that come to mind include Eli and Samuel, Elijah ad Elisha and Ruth and Naomi in the Old Testament. As for the New Testament there were Jesus and Peter, James and John; Barnabas and Saul, Barnabas and John Mark, Paul and Silas and Paul and Timothy. In observing these one is led to see close relationships, information sharing and on the job experience designed to make the mentee better in preparation and application for a given assignment/s.

Mentoring Takes Time

Looking at the above examples it is obvious that time was a necessary ingredient for both mentor and mentee. I recall in the example of Barnabas in relationship to Saul who would become the Apostle Paul in Acts 11:25, 26, Barnabas is pictured going to Tarsus for Saul and upon finding him he takes Saul with him to Antioch and there spent one year preaching and teaching. During this period Saul was being mentored. Of interest one would read in the book of Acts up to this point when the two names are mentioned it is Barnabas then Saul in that order but there after the order is Paul and then Barnabas pointing to a great job done by Barnabas even though much is heard about Paul in comparison to Barnabas.

Mentoring is Vulnerable
In becoming a mentor it is possible that the mentee will become better than the mentor. That ought not to prevent one from giving his or her best in mentoring another. What is most important is that both mentor and mentee understand their roles within the plan of God. It would seem that John the Baptist though not a true mentor of Jesus, understood this principle for he pointed out that Jesus must increase and he decrease. Unfortunately, pastors are not always willing to open up to another pastor for fear of having one’s weaknesses or sensitive issues being known and exposed. This is rather unfortunate for it may be that very person that God intends to use to encourage a fellow pastor or intern.
In the case of Barnabas senior to Saul, he put his reputation on the line by associating with Saul (as Saul was not trusted at this time for he was perceived by some as being Christian for the sake of finding and arresting Christians. Acts 9: 26 says that the disciples were afraid of Saul following his change but in verse 27 it says “But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way”.

Mentoring Must Nevertheless Continue
Don’t we all wish that we had a mentor? Maybe some of you do have great mentors. Be grateful for it is a blessing. Ellen White in commenting on the relationship between Elijah and Elisha says, “Those who undertake this training of young workers are doing noble service. The Lord Himself co-operates with their efforts.” PK 222-3. Furthermore she adds that, “the young men to whom the word of consecration has been spoken, whose privilege it is to be brought into close association with earnest, godly workers, should make the most of their opportunity.” Ibid.
Quite frankly, I value the God given opportunity to mentor young pastors and elders by actually demonstrating what to do in visitation and how to pray etc. I also enjoy being mentored as God has placed some wonderful persons in my life. Keep the ministry of mentoring alive!