Hopefully when mentoring becomes a more established norm for pastors, a standard term will evolve. Until then, we will continue to use awkward terms like protégé, mentee, or disciple to refer to people being mentored by an older and/or more experienced person.
Mentoring is already the established norm in Scripture, even though the term is never used there. Moses prepared Joshua to fill his sandals, Elijah walked Elisha through the paces of a prophet, and Paul wrote the pastoral epistles for Timothy, Titus, and other pastors he was equipping.
Even though the Bible has a lot of examples like these of mentoring, it does not articulate a clear game plan on how to pull it off. When pastors don’t know what to do, they typically freeze up and do nothing. I am praying that this post will inspire you to take your first few steps toward mentoring.
Initiate a Casual Meeting
Online dating is something I have never experienced since my first date with Janet was in 1985. I have talked to several singles who use these popular sites to save time, money, and heartache on the sometimes painful process of dating.
Perhaps LifeWay will create a mentoring matchmaking service that will save you lots of time and energy! Just in case that doesn’t happen (it won’t), take a non-committal first step of sharing a cup of coffee or a sandwich. Wait until after your first meeting to determine whether God is leading you to invest in that person regularly.
Help Them Get an Early Win
I can’t tell you how many times I have made the mistake of leading without first listening. After carefully listening to what this younger leader’s greatest challenges are, help him/her overcome one of those particular challenges.
One church planter I am mentoring asked me to give him feedback on his sermons because he is relatively new at preaching. Sometimes mentees need equipping, and sometimes they simply need encouragement. A mentor is both an encourager and equipper; a coach, uncle, even father figure – depending on the age dynamic. You don’t need to be a genius to help someone through the challenges that arise in life, home, or church.
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