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.
Whatever one calls what Warren was for Randy, we recognize our world desperately needs more folks like him. We need folks who can confidently and humbly come alongside others, whether formally or informally, and make intentional space for deeper discovery on the journey.
Yet so many Christians struggle with believing they have what it takes to mentor another. Men and women who have followed Jesus for some time, who have weathered the ups and downs of life along the way, too quickly dismiss any thought that they could walk alongside another with intentionality, interest, and compassion. They do not believe they could ever be a spiritual mentor. And the most common reason for their lack of confidence? They think they need to be an expert.
But spiritual mentoring is not a ministry for specialists or experts; it belongs to the priesthood of all believers. Spiritual companions are not “advice-dispensers” or “answer people” or “gurus” of any kind. They are ordinary men and women, though rich in love. They ask questions. They listen. They pray with us.
God wants his people to grow up into maturity in Christ (Ephesians 4:15). And this most often happens through intentional, loving guidance from others.
Adults need someone to walk alongside them to help make greater sense of the Spirit’s work in their lives. A companion. A spiritual friend. A mentor. This is simply part of the mystery of how God’s Spirit nourishes us as Christians–life upon ordinary life.
God has uniquely wired each of us to pay attention and companion others. You may simply need some encouragement and equipping to discover that you can be an important gift in the life of another. Learn how to be a spiritual mentor at amentoringway.org. Get the book that has shaped hundreds of mentors, A Mentoring Guide: Christ. Conversation. Companionship. Buy now!
By Robert Loane, President of VantagePoint3 Ministries, Co-Author of A Mentoring Guide: Christ. Conversation. Companionship (VantagePoint3, 2019) and Deep Mentoring: Guiding Others on Their Leadership Journey (InterVarsity Press, 2012).