I have been rereading David Kinnaman’s essay, “The Need to Rediscover: Mentoring as a Crucial Formation Process.” He thoughtfully writes about the need for mentoring among young adults within the Church. His conclusions stretch far beyond the confines of young adult faith development into the whole lifespan of adult faith development. His last three paragraphs capture both the challenge and the opportunity before us as men and women who care deeply about helping others develop and mature in Christ. Kinnaman writes,
There are so many compelling reasons to institute mentoring in our schools, churches, and communities. Though it can be hard to get it off the ground and you’ll confront obstacles—people are busy, they don’t think they have the abilities and/or time, or they just have never mentored before—there’s so much opportunity.
Even in Scripture, we see how Jesus chose his disciples to mentor them. In fact, the real lasting impact of Jesus’s life on earth was through the relationships with those who were closest to him. Perhaps we’ve relied too heavily on mechanisms that attempt to mass-produce disciples. We’ve created this sort of automated approach, and yet there’s so much to be gained for the Christian community to come alongside young people in a life-on-life manner and provide this kind of meaningful, catalyzing agent in the form of mentoring.
Mentoring matters. It’s time for the church and agents into which it breathes life, such as colleges and universities, to rediscover this crucial formation process.*
Whatever we call it— mentoring, spiritual friendship, spiritual direction—we need more men and women who can confidently and humbly come alongside others and make intentional space for deeper discovery on the journey. This is how the good news is transmitted from one generation to another, life upon life. Jesus has never been in the work of mass-producing disciples. Spirit of God, be generous in your relational way among us and through us…
Join us for our next Online Mentor’s Workshop.
*David Kinnaman, “ The Need to Rediscover: Mentoring as a Crucial Formation Process” in Cultivating Mentors: Sharing Wisdom in Christian Higher Education, eds. Todd Ream, Jerry Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers, (IVP, 2022), p 31.