Shortly after Randy had become a follower of Jesus, he met Warren, a successful farmer who had the biggest farming equipment Randy had ever seen. If you come from a farming community, it was the kind of equipment you wish you had the opportunity to play with. Warren was also a big man, the kind you would be glad to have on your side if need be.
While Warren worked the fields with his Versatile 875 tractor, Randy would come out to have coffee with him. The conversations always turned to how each was doing in their walk with the Lord, and what might be hindering their walk. Even in the everyday ordinariness of life—riding a tractor in this typical farming community of Yorkton, Saskatchewan—amidst the hilarious laughter, and at times through swelling tears, in their midst they discovered God.
Although Warren did not have a seminary degree, and even though he didn’t go to the latest mentoring seminar, he had an intuitive way of making space for Randy’s life. He asked the right questions—questions that probed, allowing Randy to discover the Spirit’s leading. Through Warren and these conversations, Randy came to see himself truly—and he discovered how his life might be used to serve God in the future. But, more than that, through Warren’s companionship, Randy experienced the real and present love of God. Read More
God has ordained things that we grow in faith only through the frail instrumentality of one another.
St. John of the Cross
Our growth in Christ does not occur in isolation; it takes place within the company of others who provide presence and perspective along the journey.
One specific form of being “in the company of others” is called spiritual mentoring; that is, a relationship between two or more people and the Holy Spirit where we can discover who God is, who we are, and what God desires to do through us.
Finding a spiritual mentor or even being a spiritual mentor has been a proven way over the years of discovering more of what this life with God is all about.
Craig had never thought about mentoring before. It was during his facilitator training retreat for The Journey that he first heard about walking with another person in an intentional spiritual friendship. “The more I thought about what I’ve read in the Scriptures,” Craig, 63, said, “it seemed to me that mentoring relationships have been lost in the church for decades.” Read More
God is already up to something good…
Helping others grow up into Christ rests on an understanding and conviction that the primary shaping work in a person’s life belongs to God. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). Our burden as people, and as mentors in particular, is to first be alert and receptive to God’s relentlessly creative handiwork in the world. All our best thinking and acting, listening and asking questions and praying, is secondary to and cooperative with the Spirit’s work.
This is such good news for us. Read More
What is required to be a mentor or a spiritual friend to another?
Many times we overcomplicate this question. For one reason or another, we tell ourselves, I simply don’t have what it takes.
I have found over and again that these four questions below have a way of orienting our hearts around what is required to walk well with others.
Allow these questions to ready your heart:
- Am I willing to listen? Listening is fundamental to building trust in the relationship. By listening attentively to one another we remind each other that our lives profoundly matter.
The third practice for a friend or mentor to walk well with others is prayerfulness.
Prayer in this mentoring context is about cultivating a deep trust in the loving movement of God in the life of another. As mentors or friends, we pay attention to the everyday life of others, helping them identify and see what is already in play and at work. Amidst the comings and goings of work and school, amidst the meals and chores, amidst the anxieties and arguments and joys of family and community, we become what Barbara Brown Taylor calls “detectives of divinity.”
Three primary practices shape walking well with others as a friend or a mentor. Last week I addressed the practice of listening, this week question-asking, and next week prayerfulness.
Three primary practices give shape to walking well with others as a friend or a mentor: listening, question-asking, and prayer. My reflections in this blog series are adapted from our VP3 resource entitled, A Mentoring Guide: Christ • Conversation • Companionship. I highly recommend it.
I have been thinking a good bit about “the why” of mentoring and spiritual friendship in the Christian life. And as I let my mind go with this question once again, I found myself circling back to an essay I read years ago by Annie Dillard entitled “An Expedition to the Pole.”
I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.
Rufus Jones (1863-1948)
Adults need a space and place to move deeply into their own experience and grow in the light of Jesus and his way in the world. Simply telling others where they must go or what they must do won’t cut it. Our mentoring tables need to be set for unhurried conversation.