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Mentored to Be a Mentor

previously published on August 2005

Mentoring is a dynamic 'mission critical' partnering. This vital partnering creates higher learning, fosters talent, and makes potential actual," Neville writes in his recently published book, 'The Ten Second Mentor.'
What would our church and individual growth be like if we were able to
… create “high learning of life’s purpose and goal?”
… “foster spiritual talent” where people will have effective ministry through use of their spiritual gifts?
… “make potential actual” of who we are and what we can be as a group of Christians?

The great 19th century theologian, Soren Kierkegaard, once wrote a little story about a town where only ducks lived. Every Sunday the ducks waddled out of their duck homes down Main Street to their duck church. They waddled into their proper place in their duck pews. In waddled the duck choir followed by the duck minister who opened the duck Bible and started preaching. He said, "Ducks! God has given you wings! With wings you can fly! No walls can confine you! No fences can hold you! You have wings! God has given you wings and you can fly like birds!" In response all the ducks shouted "Amen! Hallelujah! Preach it!" Then they all waddled out of their duck church, back down Main Street to their duck homes, until the next Sunday.

Does this story sound at all familiar? Are you willing to admit that you waddled in to church last Sabbath? Who wants to fly out?!!! Of course you do. You probably have wished that you could fly. You probably wish for the “higher learning, fosters talents and makes potential actual.” What are the methods that this can be more than just a dream? One of the ways to make this possible is through mentorship.

Let me begin by asking you to think about someone who has made a difference in your life. The kind of people I want you to think about are often called mentors. I believe that everyone here today can name at least one person in their life who has mentored them, one person who has made a difference. If you can name at least one person who has mentored you, someone who showed you that you had wings and told you that you could fly, who would that be?

I have not watch the latest Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith but there are two characters that I might want to be - Obi wan Kenobi and Yoda. Another interesting word from the Star Wars is the “force.” When Obi wan Kenobi and Yoda “mentored” and brought the young jedi to believe in the force and use the force, he changed the universe single handedly. Don’t you want to be the next Obi wan Kenobi? Don’t you want to be another jedi for Christ? It can be done through Christian mentorship. After all, do we not have someone who is greater than Obi wan Kenobi or Yoda combined? Did not Jesus promise the real “force” in the Holy Spirit?

What does it take to be a mentor?
First of all, in order to be a mentor, all of us, yes, every single one of us need to be mentored by the Mentor of all mentors, Jesus Christ. Of course there is a value in mentorship without any spiritual implication or involvement. However, why not make differences in someone’s eternal life with spiritual mentoring? Without any one of us mentored by Jesus, we will only be “good” mentors but not “great” mentors (after all, even Obi wan Kenobi believed in the “force”).

What happens when we allow Jesus to mentor us? If we are willing to be mentored by Jesus, He will use us, sometimes in remarkable ways. He can place us in the right place, at the right time, with the right words and the right actions, to make a difference to the world around us. Tony Campolo tells just such a story about a time in his life. He was speaking at a small Pentecostal College near where he lived. Before he talked with the students several faculty members took him aside to pray for him. As Tony knelt they put their hands on his head and prayed. They prayed for him and then, to his surprise they began to pray for other things as well. One faculty member prayed vigorously for a man named Charlie Stoltzfus. He prayed, "Lord! Lord! Don’t let this man leave his wife and children. Send an angel to bring him back to his family! You know who I’m talking about, Lord, Charlie Stoltzfus. He lives just down the road about a mile and a half on the right in a silver house trailer." Following the chapel talk Tony got in his car to drive home. He was just entering the Pennsylvania Turnpike when he saw a hitchhiker. For some reason, he picked the guy up. "Hi!" he said, "My name’s Tony Campolo, what’s yours?" The guy said, "Charlie Stoltzfus." Tony didn’t say a word. Instead he got off at the next exit and turned around. "Hey mister, where are you taking me?" exclaimed the guy. "Home," said Tony. "Why?" asked the guy. "Because you just left your wife and three children! RIGHT!" He said, "Right." And then he shut up. When Tony drove that man right into his own driveway he sat up and asked, "How did you know I lived here?" "God told me!" Tony said. For the next hour Tony sat with that man and his wife. He led them both into a personal relationship with Jesus. Tony concludes his story by noting that today that man is a Pentecostal minister down South – with his family.

When Jesus mentors you, then you are ready to be a mentor to others. Mentorship happens when there is a genuine love for a soul. I believe that true mentorship that changes someone’s life happens when I take my time and effort to pray for him/her, spend group time as well as individual time, and hold him/her accountable in the name of love.

Mentorship, based on love for a soul, happens when one is making an effort to be consistent. One of my dear friend and a fellow pastor, Eugene Kim is an excellent mentor. I have learned a great deal from the way he mentors our church members. Yes, he does care about the members’ physical health, social health, and mental health. However, he has a great burden for their spiritual relationship with God. He would make sure that he would “make” time to meet with them in a social level as well as to take an individual aside to hold them spiritual accountable of their spiritual discipline. But all of these mentoring begins and ends with love for a soul. According to Eugene, “love compels you to invest time and energy

that other person…love also opens up the door to teach, encourage, and rebuke more effectively because it is done in the context of a caring, committed relationship.”This second point is only possible when you yourself live the first point—making Jesus your personal mentor. I have collected many books on the topic of mentoring and leadership. In those books, it offering various ways and methods that you need to know in order to be a good mentor. But my conclusion is that you can be a good mentor when you know all the methodology and how-to’s for mentorship. But the bottom line is that you can never be a great mentor unless Jesus is your personal mentor and your love for an individual soul.

In conclusion, how can one be a great mentor? Start with these two points. As for methodologies of mentoring, God will lead you to the right books and people when we start with these two points. As much as you are excited about wanting to mentor someone, spend time on your knees. Be mentored so that you may be a mentor.

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