The Principles of Mentoring

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all the things that He Himself does. And He will show Him greater works than these, so that you may marvel. – John 5:19-20

There’s an analogy that our Pastor always uses when he wants to address the commands of God that we should be living out but have been perverted in one form or another to become undesirable. It’s something along these lines:

“When you’re driving a car on the motorway, or on any road, and you see an accident, you don’t decide all of a sudden that you’re done with driving. You don’t decide that because it’s obviously so dangerous, you’ll abandon your car there and then and walk to your destination. You may be shaken and concerned but it’s very unlikely that you’ll stop using a car on account of that. The same is true for [insert biblical principle]. Just because somebody has abused it does not mean it doesn’t work. Just because you’ve been the recipient of its misapplication doesn’t mean it’s a fraudulent concept. You shouldn’t discard it but rather work harder to find true practitioners.”

Today’s principle is “mentoring”. This is one of those concepts that gets a lot of lip service in the Christian faith. It’s often done halfheartedly, with the wrong understanding and can sow a seed of mistrust within the Body of Christ.

In our church, Gateway Chapel, we believe and emphasise the importance and necessity of mentoring – continually. This is how we succeed in business, career, personal growth, marriage, parenting and all areas of life. Of the many things that Christ talks about, I’ve not heard much spoken about how much emphasis He puts on mentoring. Consider the opening scripture from John 5 and let us do some analysis.

(I’ve always been taught to pay extra attention to verses in which Christ begins with “Truly, truly” or “Verily, verily”)

Christ breaks down the process of mentoring in three distinct stages:

Observation, Action, Results

These form the process for successful mentoring. When searching for a mentor, you should always consider these three.

Observation:

“…the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do.”

The whole point of mentoring is to shackle (I chose this word carefully) yourself to an individual who is at a place you want to get to and in humble submission follow the EXACT steps they took in order to make it to that point. It goes without saying that you must have a specific goal in mind. This is applicable to all dimensions of life from your spirituality to your business and (especially) to your marriage.

Observe those you’d want to model a part of your life on. Christ understood this and He watched to SEE what The Father did and then did the SAME thing. He didn’t add his own flavour to it just because He wanted to be “unique”, He did EXACTLY what He saw The Father doing. It was an intentional choice to pay CAREFUL attention to The Father‘s actions.

Whose actions are you paying attention to? Are you paying CAREFUL attention to them? Who are you watching in speech, in deed, in motive? Do you like to add your own twist, your own brand to something and call it your signature? If so, go get a coach! You’re not ready for mentoring! A coach can TELL you what to do and it’s up to you whether you decide to do it that exact way or not. A mentor requires you to follow in their footsteps.

There is no room for half or incomplete obedience in this. Why else would you think that The Lord would say to Joshua (if you know the meaning of the name then it’s even more special) in Joshua 1:7 (NKJV):

“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” (emphasis mine)

Simple instructions no? God doesn’t mince words. He’s a very particular kind of person. He made sure He gave Joshua the method for which he would be successful under a mentoring relationship. The mentoring relationship that God handed down to Moses and Moses to Joshua.

Find out more about the Biblical principles of mentoring in part 2