Exodus 24:13–18, 1 Kings 19:19–21, Luke 5:1–11, Ephesians 4:11–14 (read online ⧉)
If you really think about it, there are very few true mentoring examples in the Scriptures. We are called to pass on the faith, but we often think about our children first. We might think of a co-worker or a friend.
In the context of mentoring, however, we don’t think of it as much. In “formal” ministry (i.e., pastor and priests), there is a mentorship of sorts where experienced pastors are mentors of the newer ones. In the Church of the Nazarene, that relationship can take anywhere from 3–8 years. Mentoring relationships can be built. Yet, often they are more of a guidance counselor that you see once or twice a year (as in college), rather than a true mentor.
If were to evaluate Moses on his mentoring results, Aaron (his brother) was not a particular success (though not a total failure). Joshua (the typical example) turned out okay, except that he (it would appear) did not learn a key lesson…who will come after. Elijah did a decent job mentoring Elisha, but Elisha did not pass on the “mantle” to someone else. So, yet again, the mentoring piece was lost.
Both Moses and Elijah are great examples of what it is possible to do when following God’s plan (even when you make a mistake). They are even good examples for who follows. Yet, they were not great examples of having mentoring click for the mentees. The mentoring relationship did not continue. In today’s language, we might say there wasn’t a culture of mentorship.
Jesus provided the better example. He took a few and taught them. He lived with them for 3 years. It was a life of mentorship. Through little vignettes in the New Testament, we see that Jesus would still guide them. He would release them, too. We often call them disciples (rightfully), however, the way we use it misses one of the deepest beauties of what Jesus did.
There is a “training” method that follows this pattern: I teach, you watch; I teach, you help; you teach, I help; you teach, I watch. This pattern is often used to teach people to teach others. This is often used in very short term ways, often by leaving a person to teach a group after only 4 sessions, which is really more abandonment rather than teaching. This pattern does help to broaden our understanding, though, of mentorship. It’s not a one and done thing. As we learn new things, we often have to have a teacher walk us through this exact pattern. As we learn something more advanced, we follow it again. It is a lifestyle of training. And, as we are not Jesus, in either role we usually learn more ourselves.
The equipping of the saints (i.e., Christians) is not a quickly done thing. It is done over time.
1) Jesus took 3 years to mentor his disciples, why do we think we’d be any faster?
2) Faster and faster is the way of the world. What are you doing to hurry up and slow down?
3) Have you ever been mentored as Jesus mentored his disciples? Have you ever mentored someone as Jesus mentored his disciples?