Mentoring matters.

Mentoring matters.

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 Educationeds. Todd Ream, Jerry Pattengale, and Christopher J. Devers, (IVP, 2022), p 31.

Not a spectator sport…

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. -Jesus (Matthew 7:24).

We face tremendous pressure in our lives today to be spectators of this Jesus. But faithful living has never been a spectator sport. Danish Christian thinker Soren Kierkegaard emphasized this by drawing a contrast between being an admirer and being an imitator. He wrote:

What, then, is the difference between an admirer and an imitator? An imitator is one who strives to be what he admires, and an admirer keeps himself personally detached, consciously or unconsciously does not discover that what is admired involves a claim upon him to be or at least to strive to be what is admired.

We can become settled in our admiration of Jesus and thereby keep his claim on our lives at a safe distance. But Jesus is seeking something far different than mere admirers. Jesus calls us to so appreciate who he is that we turn from our way of life to imitate him. We get out of the stands and onto the field into the action and follow him. Read More

Jesus’ Way with Others

I have been inspired recently by Emily P. Freeman’s words when she writes,

“I have a vision of a generation of believers who understand that the goal of life is Jesus and all the ways he wants to offer himself both to us and through us to the world.”

Yes, yes, yes! 

Beginning with Jesus’ earliest words to the men and women who would become his disciples, “Follow me,” Christianity has understood itself to be a faith imparted by one to another. For in Jesus we discover not only a worthy model for the journey but also an intimate invitation to a life together. Jesus reaches out by his Spirit, speaking and sharing his stunning life with us. 

Over the last couple of months leading to Easter, I have been offering reflections upon Jesus’ distinctive way of being with others. One could even call it his mentoring way. He continues by his Spirit to develop his followers in this same mentoring way today, life upon life. 

We have put these short reflections into an easily accessible and downloadable format:

Reflections on Imitating Jesus’ Way with Others

Take a look and ponder: Where might Jesus be inviting you to a deeper relational life with himself and with others?