By James Holland
Mentoring is instruction by example.
In Mentoring, we come along beside of someone. Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Sometimes our lives and schedules become so hectic that we don’t have a lot of time to spend with people. This is a major problem within the household of faith today. Many of us have lots of acquaintances but few friends – even in the church. In Biblical time, they went out, won people, took them in, and began mentoring and teaching them how to live in this new life and how to do the will of God as well. They developed leaders! It is sad, yet true, that many great leaders failed to mentor and train other leaders so as a result, when the great leader was gone, the church suffered greatly and, in some cases, closed down.
We are never truly successful as leaders unless we have a successor. Also, many times when there is a strong leader, he or she will lead to a certain level, then, unless other leaders are trained or brought in, the growth stops and things begin to stagnate. As leaders, we need to re-introduce the ministry of mentoring.
In mentoring, we train by example and experience. We must never become so entrenched in our own ideas that we refuse to go further. The “second phase” of salvation is discipling people once they are born again. We need to take new converts under our wings and teach them how not only to serve God effectively, but also how to develop their talents and abilities to be used in His kingdom.
Proverbs 24:3-4 states, “Through wisdom is a house built, but by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all pleasures and pleasant riches.”
Wisdom helps to set a direction. Wisdom helps us to lead others. Wisdom is a foundation for the mentoring relationship. Wisdom is understanding what is true and right and lasting. It is insight and good judgment. It is making a wise outlook, plan, a course of action, and a right decision. So, we could say, wisdom builds, sets direction, and leads.
Mentoring is a three- phase process.
First of all, it demands a plan of action. Secondly, it is process of development. Then it is a commitment to one another. There has to be mutual trust, patience, and commitment. God is no doubt grieved at the lack of trust that prevails in His kingdom, especially among those in leadership. Trust is developed when you spend time together. Effective mentoring takes time and patience and hard work. Yet the price paid cannot compare to the riches it produces. Once trust has been established, it is maintained through patient leadership. Remember, people, after all, are just people; so you have to work hard in this area. This process of development will produce emotional maturity in leaders as well as the ones being mentored.
Many in the kingdom have been defeated and destroyed because of a lack of trust. We are here to help each other. Leaders that do not trust anyone will never be involved in the mentorship ministry. Unfortunately, their mindset is “I’ll take care of me, and they can do whatever they want to after I’m gone. It won’t matter to me then!”
This, of course, is never the will of God. We are supposed to be building for eternity! Building something that will last longer than we do. Now, you must keep in mind that because we are humans, we are still going to fail from time to time in our expectations of each other. We are going to be disappointed. This doesn’t need to discourage us to the point of giving up. We need to learn from our disappointments. After all, it is a part of life. Remember also how we operate under pressure determines what kind of person we are and what kind of character we have. Leadership and mentoring is a life-long process. When we quit growing, we die. The habits, lifestyles, and patterns of a leader will not only have a great influence on him or her, but also on those to whom they are mentoring.
An excerpt from the book Developing the Ministry Within You by James Holland
Rev. James Holland is a pastor, teacher and conference speaker. He is also involved in leadership training. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He and his wife Shirline live in Glenville, GA where they have been serving as pastor of the First United Pentecostal Church for over twenty years.