Why You Need Mentors

Some would consider me to be a successful Pastor of a thriving church, but I still need others to invest in me. I need people in my life who speak encouragement and provide wisdom. This year I have made a commitment to not only surround myself consistently with our Church Elders, but to also regularly fellowship and communicate with some older, wiser men in our church. Their wisdom, fellowship, and encouragement have been a tremendous blessing to me.

I believe this is not only important for me, but it is a necessity for us all. Let me tell you why:

1. God created you to be in relationship with others.
Sometimes we have the tendency to become "lone ranger Christians" who work too many hours and fight too many battles alone. Frankly, we all need someone who can help point the way and provide some stability in day-to-day spiritual living.

A good mentor will teach, counsel, motivate, coach, lead and advise you within the context of a relationship. This relationship should be less like an instantaneous upload and more like a slow, gradual osmosis. It takes time.

2. Everyone needs accountability.
No matter your age, spiritual maturity or life experience, holy living is hard for everyone—not just because we're errant humans but because life simply never slows down.
Our busyness ebbs and flows. Sometimes our temptations do too. We all need someone who can hold us accountable to godliness and discipline during all seasons of life.

3. There's always room for improvement in our relationships.
The older I get, the more I realize I still have much to learn about relationships.
Cole and I have been married almost 12 years, but I am still figuring out how to be a good husband. In each new season of life, relationships change.

For example, I have never walked the path I am on now—our physical needs are different, our long-term goals are becoming more present tense and raising our children has become a priority. I need someone who has walked this way before so that I can avoid the pitfalls and trouble spots.

4. Everyone needs vocational guidance.
It doesn't matter if you're just getting started in the workforce or if you've been in one industry for 30 years, it's important to have someone—or a group of people—who can guide you through all stages of your employment.

If God allows, I still have many years of employment ahead—but I am recognizing the wisdom of those who encourage me to invest, plan, and be patient.
Now I want help making the best decisions for retirement. Do we invest differently? The viewpoints of others who have navigated these waters are so helpful.

5. It's important to lead and to follow.
It's important to lead and guide others in the faith—to have a relationship similar to the one Paul and Timothy had. In 1 Timothy 1:2, Paul addressed Timothy as his "true son in the faith." Your "Timothy" is someone who learns from you, follows your example and thus models Christ.
But I also want to model for my mentees the need to follow someone else. We all need a Paul who pushes us to be our best for God's glory.

6. "Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance" (Proverbs 11:14).
I want to make certain I end well. I suppose those words might sound morbid, but my point is simply that I do not want to mess up during the years of my ministry and service. I have watched too many older men ruin their reputations in their latter years by making poor choices and displaying bad attitudes.

I want to know when to press forward in my work and when to step aside for younger men to take the lead—but I need other brothers in Christ to help me see myself and my situation clearly.

Mentorship is a Biblical and necessary part of the local church. For the church to see spiritual and foundational growth in the hearts of their young men and women, mentorship is needed. Some of the greatest mentor-mentee relationships included Eli and Samuel (1 Samuel 3), Elijah and Elisha (1 and 2 Kings) and Paul and Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy).

These relationships were firmly rooted in God, but also focused on sharing knowledge through personal experiences. These men met and wrote regularly to their mentees. They would check-in, offer advice and encouragement, share meals and grow together.

The church desperately needs more people who are walking with Christ and willing to mentor young people. The relationship that a mentor can have with a mentee is incredible and life-changing. Mentorship may include book studies, life discussions, and accountability, but it requires a focus on Jesus. Mentorship is more than just meeting-up to talk about a book. Mentorship is life together. It’s sharing meals, enjoying shared activities and so much more.

If you believe God is calling you into a mentorship with a young person in the church, there are several things that you should be doing as you look for continued discernment about such a relationship. Below are four things that are needed when mentoring another believer.

Be Praying:
Mentorship begins with prayer. By praying for who God desires you to teach and develop, you are putting that relationship in His hands. Be praying for the young person God desires you to mentor, be praying for what God wants you to share, be praying for Him to guide and lead the relationship.

Be Preparing:
There are multiple things to prepare for. First, you must be prepared in the Bible. Knowing what the Bible says and how it has impacted your life allows for a greater ability to share straight from the word of God. Having additional resources is an excellent way to continue to grow together but if your mentor-mentee relationship is not rooted in the Bible, it’s not spiritual mentorship. Additionally, if you are merely acquaintances or friends with the young person God has called you to mentor, be sure to work on developing the relationship from a friendship to a mentorship.

Be Ready:
This goes hand and hand in preparing. Be ready to express your intentions and desire to mentor the young person. Young people in the church are greatly desiring advice from those ahead of them so be ready to share with them. Additionally, be ready to set boundaries. While you are developing a deeper relationship with the younger person, boundaries are incredibly necessary to the relationship. Be sure you set them right away and consistently back them up as the relationship grows.

Be Committed:
Be committed to the relationship. Develop it, grow it. Do not get into a mentoring relationship if you cannot fulfill regular communication and contact. Mentorship requires consistency if there is actual growth to be found in the mentee.

Mentorship is a great and desperate need in our churches today. Whether you are a pastor, a leader or just a growing follower of Christ, it is up to you to ensure that the young people in the church have the opportunity to be mentored. No matter your title, you can be a mentor to a young person in the church. I would challenge you to take the necessary steps to begin a mentorship with a young person in your church. Whether small or large, having someone to look up to and to ask questions of is a need that young people will always have. Start with one and see where God leads. Ultimately I truly believe that God has called us all to turn around and help others grow in Christ. 

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