What Is Mentoring?
“Mentoring is a relatively recent term especially in Christian circles, but what it describes has been the focus of Christian community since the early church. It is a dynamic relationship of trust in which one person enables another to maximize the grace of God in his/her life and service. It has a sound biblical and theological basis with Jesus as the ultimate model, retaining all that is consistent with his life and teaching.”
Extract from “Mentoring to Develop Disciples and Leaders” by John Mallison
Watching Over One Another In Love
John Wesley’s ‘General Rules for Methodist Fellowships’ (Societies) released in 1743 included, ‘Watch over one another in love’. This was the key to his success in retaining those who were converted through that revival. In class meetings and one-to-one, they cared for one another. “Watching over one another” is the essence of mentoring.
Part Of The Fabric Of Life
Mentoring has always been part of the fabric of society. Parents play a major role in mentoring their children, especially in their earlier years. The artisan/apprentice relationship or the coach of an individual sportsperson or team are common forms of mentoring or coaching. There is a growing emphasis upon mentoring at all levels of commerce, industry, education and public life. An abundance of secular training courses and resources on the subject are widely promoted. Increasingly, those who take their Christian discipleship and service seriously are seeing the value of having a friend and adviser with whom they can share openly and to whom they can be accountable. As the wise old sage said, ‘Two are better than one’ (Eccl. 4:9)
Jesus – Our Prime Model
Jesus, interacting with his disciples, provides our prime mentoring model. The New Testament is full of ‘one another’ and ‘together’ passages, pointing to Christianity as a relational lifestyle, about community, the power of togetherness.
You Can Do It
Mentoring is a very significant role every Christian disciple can fulfill – irrespective of age or experience – it is not restricted to ‘giants of the faith’. The basic requirement is a living relationship with God and an ability to listen and respond sensitively – and to encourage. If this is true of you, you can be God’s agent in enriching another person’s life.
- Men – Although many often fear to share their inner struggles, thoughts and feelings, lest disclosure erodes others’ confidence in them, they can bond with others to provide exemplary support.
- Women – are natural mentors and co-mentors, because they usually find it easy to talk about deep issues with friends.
- Busy people – Some of the best mentoring is done by those who are very active.
- Housebound – Many who are housebound because of young families or physical disability mentor effectively by means of their phones, email or by inviting others to visit them.
- Seniors – Mentoring can be a very fulfilling role for those of mature years, allowing them to grow older as participants rather than spectators!