“That’s not how you mentor.” A seasoned pastor once told me. “You have to take them out, show them how and then turn them loose.”
This was a challenging statement. A statement which has been the prevailing wisdom I’ve heard from western culture, churches, schools and even teaching workshops over and over again.
Now, I highly respect this pastor and I know can learn a lot from him. However, with 18 years of experience in spiritual and ‘life coach’ mentoring, I have found that, although my friend spoke some truth, ultimately he was wrong. The proof is in the practical results or lack thereof….
In the late 1960’s one of the more jarring cultural transformations in modern history shocked the United States. It was called the ‘Jesus Movement’. High and drunk hippies with very few sexual boundaries came to Jesus in droves. By all accounts, it was amazing. Many new incredible works for the gospel were formed as well as new forms of church expression and music. However, they ran into a snag.
Many of these folks were coming from a background of substance abuse and sex addiction, therefore, they had to go through a type of rehab to relearn habits on how to live within a ‘mainstream’ society. Some were told how to dress, who to marry and even where to go and what careers to pursue. At worst, some groups turned into cults, however, sadly many ministers became bureaucratic and focused on rules and regulations rather than Love, Faith, and Hope.
How does this example prove that my friend didn’t understand the crux of mentorship? My understanding is this… all those ex-hippies were told how to live, what to do and how to do it.
However, only a few were taught how to learn and how to think like Jesus and most importantly, how to journey on a new and unexplored path with Him.
Ask yourself, why is it that in the last century, the United States has encountered three massive revivals, yet we are still struggling with not enough foster homes, a high level of church decline and church splits, church leaders falling into sin, individuals struggling with suicide, as well as depression on the rise, drug use ballooning out of control, etc?
Why is it that the American church is having to relearn its compassion to take care of the poor, hungry and hurting… if being shown what to do is the “answer”?
For me, the true answer is simply explained by Jesus Himself, “I am the vine, you are the branch, live in me and you will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5)
Those who walk with Christ, naturally feel a need to help others and get involved in solving societal problems. At its core, love, hope, and faith are based on a real friendship with Jesus, and friendships can’t be taught, nor “caught.”
Friendships are earned and developed over time, with consistency and hardwork.
A mentoring style of discipleship is the hardest form of discipleship out there, but in the end, it’s the one that will stand the test of time