We were never created to do life alone. In Genesis 1-2, God creates a beautiful world and declares that it is good! And then, in Genesis 2:18, we get to see the first ‘not good’ in the Bible. And what’s not good? It’s not good that Adam is alone!
But Adam isn’t alone. He’s got God, and surely God is all He needs; don’t we sing songs that say this at church? But God says – “This is not enough for Adam. He needs a close relationship with me, but He also needs a close walk with others.”
And so in Genesis 2:18 God says that he will make a helper for Adam. But the word ‘helper’ here doesn’t mean slave or servant. Eve is created to help Adam reach his full potential – and Adam is created to do the same for Eve. If this was true for life before sin entered the world, then how much more do we need people who will help us embrace God’s best for our lives.
I want to suggest that we will never reach our full potential in Christ unless we have at least one person in our lives to whom we grow in accountability. You can call them a discipler – spiritual director – or mentor. It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you lead by example in this and then encourage your young people to embrace this too.
Jesus intentionally invested the three years of his ministry in a handful of young men. Thousands of people flocked to see Jesus all the time, but he poured his life in to just a few disciples because He understood that you will always make the greatest Kingdom impact by investing in the smallest number of lives. The Apostle Paul understood this too, which is why he gave more time and attention to cultivate the faith and leadership of Timothy.
So what are the characteristics of a good mentor? The Dictionary defines a Mentor as ‘an experienced and trusted advisor’:
- ’Experienced’ implies someone who is a little bit further down the road of life. Someone you humbly recognize is further ahead in the journey of faith and life, so that you can draw on their wisdom and life experience.
- ‘Trusted’ implies someone who has won the respect and confidence of the Trainee. Someone with whom you can be totally honest, totally vulnerable and totally open, trusting that you’re secret sins won’t be published in their next internet blog.
- ‘Advisor’ implies someone who is able to advise you and help you make good decisions. They don’t live your life but help you to live yours.
Once we know what we’re looking for, how do we go about finding this person? Here’s a P.L.A.N…
- Pray – pray that God will help you find this person
- Look – have your eyes open for who might do this
- Ask – ask them if they’d be willing to disciple / mentor you
- Never give up – if they say no, ask if they can think of someone who might BUT keep praying and looking in the meantime.
You can use the same approach to choose a young person to mentor OR to encourage them to find their own mentor.
Commit to lead by example today by actively embracing mentoring for yourself as a lifestyle, and then inspire your young people to make the same commitment. BIG in the Kingdom of God is always about changing the future, one life at a time.
Matt Summerfield, CEO of Urban Saints