12 Guidelines for Enemy-Threatening Mentoring

Last week, I posted a discipleship strategy that threatens the enemy. That post ended with a call to begin investing in a couple of people in your church. If you’ve taken that call seriously, here are a few guidelines as you think about mentoring others:

  1. Put on the full armor of God yourself (Eph 6:10-17). If you start investing in others, the enemy’s coming after you. Be ready. 
  2. Pray as you determine the persons in whom you might invest. That’s what Jesus did before He called out the twelve disciples. He prayed all night long, in fact.
  3. Don’t be alarmed if God calls you to invest in a knucklehead. Some of the disciples were knuckleheads. God specializes in knuckleheads.
  4. Don’t worry about accusations of having favorites. Jesus Himself had disciples in whom He invested more time. Keep the commitment standards high for your mentees (like Jesus did), and anyone who is jealous will likely fade away.
  5. Start with the person, not with the program. Find out where your mentee is spiritually and what he or she needs before you plan a strategy. If you start with the program, you make your mentee a project.
  6. Set some goals together. What would God have you to accomplish together? Learn the books of the Bible? Do evangelism? Hold each other accountable? Minister to senior adults? Discuss parenting? At the end of the day, your goal must be to help each other be more like Christ.
  7. Meet formally and informally. Meet at least every other week, perhaps for a formal mentoring session or for simply hanging out together. Do life-on-life with intentionality, allowing your faith to be evident along the way.
  8. Pray together and open the Word together when you meet, even if it’s for a few minutes at Starbucks. You don’t always have to read intensely and pray powerfully to make a difference, but you do have to keep God at the center of your relationship. Don’t let that commitment slip.
  9. Don’t just study something – do something. A mentoring relationship that focuses on head knowledge only is not fully discipleship; it’s a tutoring session. Discipleship that stays in the head and is never translated to the feet doesn’t alarm the enemy. 
  10. Ask hard questions. Good mentoring digs deeply into the soul. Under the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit, it uncovers the secret places where the enemy lurks.
  11. Don’t accept defeat. Some mentees fall. They break your heart. They make you weep. If you leave them on the ground, though, the enemy wins. Pick them up, and start walking again. 
  12. Start with somebody. I’ll say it again: find somebody to invest in. Somebody needs you — and you don’t need to be fighting spiritual battles alone, either.

6 Comments

  • Skip Cook says:

    I hesitate to share this but about five years ago I was mentioning two men in hopes of them becoming Deacons. Two other deacons wives became jealous and through their efforts split our church. We are just now getting past that. Are their safe guards that can be put in place to prevent this.

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Sorry to hear that, Skip. Sometimes I think it’s wise to tell the church publicly what’s happening — like, “we have a short-term mentoring program to help us grow men, and I’ll be investing in a couple of them for a while. Please pray for us.” Simply making everything public sometimes eases jealousy. Sometimes it doesn’t, though — so you might always have somebody a bit frustrated. Don’t let that deter you, though.

  • Skip Cook says:

    Thank you and I did discuss with the Deacons who were all in. What is exciting now is one of those men has come back and I am praying about mentoring him again. The two ladies have long gone and our Church is now ready to move on.

  • Allen Baker says:

    Thank you Chuck. I still remember you sharing in class about you waking up every morning and before your feet hit the floor you pray on the armour of God. I have tried to do this myself each morning and have shared it with my church and others. That has been a blessing to me. Thanks again and God bless you. Your brother in Christ, Allen

  • Chuck Lawless says:

    Blessings, Allen.

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