Mentor: trusted counselor or guide.

“Oh my! This sounds suspicious. I don’t like the sound of programs. We don’t read of programs in Scripture. It sounds too secular for me. It reminds me of one of those packages you buy off a store shelf and there’s not a breath of God in any of it!”

Calm down now. Don’t get your back up too much. Would you prefer the word plan to program? Or how about the word process? That has a nice ring to it: Mentoring Process or even better MM – Mentoring Ministry. The scary part of this discussion is that while we quibble over semantics, vulnerable Christians are falling between the cracks, falling off the wagon of fellowship and their full potential for the Lord is not being realized.

Joash was one of the kings of Judah. He got off to a rocky start. His close family members were murdered by Queen Athaliah. Aunt Jehosheba hid baby Joash from the sword and raised him in a protected environment. A godly priest by the name of Jehoiada spent hours and days with young Joash – mentoring him.

The mentoring program was not a mere 6-week course. And it probably wasn’t all that structured or sequential in its application. But of this we can be sure: it was highly effective and was tailored to King Joash’s needs. It worked and the approach that Jehoiada used has been eternally showcased in the Holy Scriptures.

Here’s what the reviews say about the program:

“Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him.” 2 Kings 12:2 NKJV

When Jehoiada was instructing and counseling the young man, he did well spiritually. When it came to an end (the mentor died) Joash went into a decline.

“Joash, did you read and pray this morning? No? Well, let’s do it now – because how can we ever expect to do well if the Lord is not a part of our daily life? You know, Joash, I’ve found that God is to be not just a 911-God. He needs to be a very real part of your life every day.”

“Jehoiada, I messed up today. I almost skipped this meeting with you because I am so embarrassed. I not only feel dumb – I’m disgusted with myself. I feel like calling it quits. I’m a failure.”

“Joash, I’ve had my days when I’ve really disappointed my God too. I’m far from perfect. But now, what do you do? Joash, get on your knees here in my office and tell the Lord exactly what you did. Yes, confess your failure and ask God to give you strength and good judgment to do better the next time. I’ll slip out and leave you alone for a few minutes with God.”

“Thanks, Jehoiada. Something else that is on my mind: I’m praying about doing some repairs to the temple. What do you think? How should we go about it? What advice do you have for me? I respect you so much. You are always here for me – you can say things to me that no one else can because I know you love me and care for me and you have my best interests at heart.”

Creative writing – because the above scenarios are not recorded in the Bible, but are they all that far-fetched? After all, that’s what mentoring is like. A positive and ongoing relationship built on respect and trust, with a view to bringing out the best in the one being counseled, coached, shepherded and instructed.

Survival rates are much higher when people are actively and consistently shepherded and mentored. Thrival rates are almost completely dependent upon the quality of mentoring an individual believer has received.

Are there some Christians in your circle who are falling between the cracks? Are you using a hit and miss approach, marked by inconsistency and haphazardness? Or is there consistent and regular one-on-one shepherding being given to each of the developing believers in the fellowship?

If you are feeling the need for a mentor – talk to a godly Christian you respect. Perhaps they have been shy to approach you, thinking you might think they are trying to intrude into your life. They would be honoured if you asked them for ongoing advice. Give them your permission to be involved in your life.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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