Mentoring is a word that I’ve noticed a lot in business. Mentors are considered wise and trusted counselors or teachers. Mentors have gone ahead of others and are happy to share the path to their success or accomplishment. Mentors do not have to know the people they mentor. For example, Zig Ziglar mentored me through his writings and his speeches. He spoke truth with such passion that I couldn’t help but take it in. Most recently, I’m being mentored by Jim Rohn, a philosopher/teacher and “self-help” guru. We have access to many mentors in our world today thanks to the internet and books. I also seek to be mentored by the Apostle Paul who wrote most the New Testament scripture. The scripture has another name for mentoring – discipleship. Paul’s letters to Timothy are great examples of discipleship/mentoring. Check this out….
22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, because you know that they breed quarrels. 24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, 25 instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 26 Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:22-26 CSB)
I think discipleship and mentoring are similar but different. Mentoring seems a bit more philosophical while discipleship seems to be practical. Discipleship is a concept from scripture that is displayed in the life of Jesus himself. He invests three years in a discipleship/mentor role with 12 men that He chose. His impact on the world was lived out in those relationships. I would suggest that all the events surrounding Judas departure and subsequent death were used in teaching and mentoring the remaining 11.
I think the discipleship/mentoring relationship can be narrowed down to three important characteristics:
- Generosity – the leader who chooses to disciple/mentor must be generous with their time to those they are investing in. They need to be accessible.
- Honesty – this is a not necessarily a “feel good” relationship. I’m not a fan of “participation trophy’s”. A mentor must be honest and speak the truth – not with a hateful spirit, but of genuine concern to see growth.
- Discretion – there must be a level of confidentiality and trust to be completely real, vulnerable and honest in the mentor/discipleship relationship. There is not one perfect and without out struggle, we often just manage those things differently.
I’m reading some great books that are mentoring me in life and business. I’m also ready the Word of God daily to become a more devoted disciple of Jesus. I want to help others to know the things I’ve tried that didn’t work. I want to keep growing deeper in my faith with wisdom and discernment as I get older and even more experienced in life. I love Paul’s counsel to Timothy about fleeing youthful passions and run from disputes and quarrels. I want to be a steady, faithful disciple of The Lord who teaches with my life and not just my words.