Keep Mentoring Alive
Keep Mentoring Alive
As I prepare this article today here in Moscow, participating in a leadership training for leaders of various levels from local fields, union as well as directors of the Euro Asia Division, I have been led to contemplate that which led to my being here in Russia this week and, part of last week in Ukraine. I simply attribute this rare privilege to God and the people, whom He has positioned to impact, assist and mentor me, for no one is self-made. However, until I get to the story one day, I share a few points on mentoring. One of the greatest blessings as an elder, intern, pastor, director or even a union administrator is having someone who listens, collaborates with you, helps you in problem solving and achieving certain objectives. 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 never imagined or anticipated, and having one to stand by your 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 prepared for given assignments.
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, some administrators, pastors and elders are not always willing to open up to another colleague for fear of having one’s weaknesses or sensitive matters exposed. This is rather unfortunate, for it may be that very person that God intended to encourage or assist.
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 pretending to be a Christian, but his intention was to arrest and kill those of “the way” as implied in Acts 9: 26, 27. Nevertheless, Barnabas “took him, and brought him to the apostles,” and thereby legitimized him.
Mentoring Must Nevertheless Continue
Don’t we all wish that we had mentors? Maybe some of you do. Be grateful for it is a blessing. Ellen White 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 also value the God given opportunity to mentor others especially young pastors and elders. Keep the ministry of mentoring alive!