Recently, I walked the halls of my seminary alma mater and could not help but stop and smile. On the walls hung several portraits of ladies in my life who had mentored me in various seasons. They taught me about walking with the Lord, prayer, dealing with difficulty and so much more.
These ladies didn’t attend seminary classes, and they didn’t teach me their professions of medicine, elementary education or music; they taught me what they knew of the Lord. These were lessons taught from His Word and then applied and lived in front of me.
Mentoring is a buzz word in Christian circles. Women want a mentor, but they might not necessarily know how to find one or what they want to learn. At times when women are asked to mentor, they don’t know what to teach. Funny enough, the word “mentor” is never used in Scripture. Instead, our Christian concept for “mentoring” is really what Scripture shows us as discipling.
A lot of trust is built in the “lab of life.” As we teach and learn from one another, a mutual trust begins to build.
Jesus gives believers the command to “make disciples” and teach other believers “to observe all that commanded” (Matt. 28:19-20). Jesus modeled this for His followers and the discipling process is evidenced numerous times throughout the New Testament. However, we still seem to have a difficult time getting started. Here are some tips to begin:
- Be available – I will never forget approaching Joyce, the pianist at the church I attended in college, with the request that she “mentor” me. We realized that neither of us really knew what that meant. However, for the past 21 years Joyce has taught me what she knows of the Lord. She was available because she was open to a young college girl asking her questions about passages of Scripture, praying with and for her, and pointing her to the truth of the Word of God.
- Be open – Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned from women who have discipled me or whom I have discipled have come as we sat in cars together, ran errands, shared meals or talked on the phone with each other. The opportunities to teach have been apparent during our conversations and as we have shared what is taking place in one another’s lives — with authenticity. A lot of trust is built in the “lab of life.” As we teach and learn from one another, a mutual trust begins to build.
- Be teachable – No one has learned everything there is to know about the Lord. Teachability must be evident on the part of both the mentor and mentee. We can learn from one another, but we must be willing to do so.
- Be ready to release – Several weeks ago one of the ladies who mentored me in college reminded me of things she and I had prayed for many years ago and how the Lord has faithfully answered those prayers. She invested in me and now I invest in others as I make disciples. Those disciples are to make other disciples. We must allow those in whom we invest to invest in others.
Paul is one of my favorite people in the New Testament. I love that as I read through the Book of Acts he encounters men and brings them alongside him as he serves and then sends them out to do ministry. Timothy, Titus, Barnabas, Silas and a host of others are examples of mentoring in action. They are examples to us as we obey the Lord Jesus’ commands to teach other women to obey all He has taught us.