I believe in mentoring. In fact, around my office are numerous pictures of students I’ve mentored through the years. I’m grateful for each one of them.
Here’s why mentoring matters – followed by some information about an EdD focus on mentoring and discipleship at Southeastern Seminary, where I teach.
Why should we make disciples through mentoring?
- The approach is biblical. If Jesus and Paul made disciples through this means, how can we not follow that pattern? Older men and women teaching the younger generation is not optional for the church (Titus 2:1-8).
- Christian teaching lived out reinforces the truth of the Word. The mentee who watches his mentor do personal evangelism is more likely to catch that fire. Faith exhibited during times of crisis becomes a challenging example for the disciple to emulate. Simply stated, it is in the classroom of life that we best see the Word in action.
- Mentoring discipleship requires the mentor to guard his life against the Enemy’s attacks. Committed disciplemakers wear a bullseye on their back for Satan. Knowing that their actions affect a second generation of believers, however, good disciplemaking mentors stand strong against the Enemy.
- A strong disciplemaking relationship provides a safe place to deal with failure. Confession is good, for it brings our sin out of the Enemy’s darkness into the light—where we can deal with the wrong through repentance and forgiveness. A disciplemaking mentor models holiness, calls his disciples to the same, holds them accountable to that standard, and offers forgiveness when they fail.
- Mentoring helps raise up the next generation of leaders. My experience is that young people are looking for mentors—and they will gravitate toward them. At the same time, having a mentor gives young people courage to spread their wings, test their skills, and prepare for leadership.
- Mentoring allows both the mentor and the mentee to grow in some way during the mentoring relationship. If the mentor and mentee are from different generations, for example, the intergenerational relationship may well be significant for a church if they do not already have these kinds of relationships in place. Developing these kinds of spiritual friendships can move your church in a positive direction.
This kind of disciplemaking is, of course, costly—and often risky. It takes time. It makes you vulnerable. It’s worth the risk, however.
Southeastern Seminary’s EdD program (a modular program that doesn’t require you to move to Wake Forest) has included a mentoring and discipleship focus option. Dr. Jim Shaddix (one of the best mentors I know) and I have the privilege of joining our colleagues in teaching and mentoring students in this program. If you’d like to learn more about the program, please contact me through this site or at firstname.lastname@example.org