Kathy Creasy with Joshua Gilliland
One of the most transformative experiences of my life was to be intentionally mentored. During the 12 months I was mentored, I grew exponentially in my understanding of my spiritual gifts and God’s purpose for my life. I dug into Bible study and increased in my ability to lead. And, most importantly, I learned to walk in community, sharing my spiritual struggles with others for the sake of restoration and guidance.
Mentoring is a sustained, one-on-one relationship between two people. The more mature and skilled person guides, supports, and instructs the mentee. Throughout the Bible, we see instances of mentoring. Moses was mentored by his father- in-law, Jethro. Elisha was mentored by Elijah and succeeded him as the prophet to Israel. Paul mentored Timothy and Titus.
Mentoring, unlike training, focuses on transformation. It is an intentional focus on helping another grow in spiritual maturity, relational health, as well as ministry and leadership abilities. Rather than focusing on training an individual to accomplish a task, mentoring focuses on the development of the whole person. In mentoring, the focus is on relationship, modeling through partnering in ministry and personal spiritual transformation.
Ephesians 4:11, 12 (NIV) reminds us of the purpose for ministry gifts within the body of Christ. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Mentoring enables those gifted in ministry to do what they have been gifted and called to do—equip God’s people for works of service.
Mentoring is the most effective means of multiplying godly and capable Christians. 2 Timothy 2:2 (NIV) clearly states this multiplication factor, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” Paul mentored Timothy; Timothy deposited what he had received from Paul in other reliable individuals. These individuals were then prepared to deposit what they had received in others.
Joshua Gilliland, our pastor at Internationale Jesus Gemeinde church, in Langen, Germany writes, “Many local churches rely on worship services, Bible studies, and small group ministry to bring believers to spiritual maturity. However, a local church cannot successfully accomplish this mandate without creating opportunities for mentoring relationships to develop. Often, members of our congregations continue to be trapped by the same temptations, sicknesses, or relational challenges because they are too proud or ashamed to confess those things and be healed. Mentoring opens up the door to have a relationship that welcomes confession and enables the mentee to come to a place of healing.”
Josh offers this advice, “As pastors and leaders of ministries within the local church, we must make a conscious decision to provide mentoring opportunities for new believers and emerging leaders. Find the right people to mentor—individuals who are passionate about ministry and willing to fully invest in the spiritual development of other believers. Provide training that guides these mentors in how to be intentionally active in their mentee’s spiritual, emotional, and relational development. Support and hold mentors accountable by setting aside scheduled times to pray and counsel together.”
As you consider developing mentoring opportunities for new believers and emerging leaders in your local church, take a moment to think about a personal blessing mentoring offers. Mentoring births spiritual sons and daughters. These spiritual sons and daughters often continue living out the vision, passion, and ministry of their mentors as well as maintaining lifelong relationships that provide support and encouragement.
If you would like more information on mentoring, Multiplication Network offers an excellent guidebook written by Jim Osterhouse and Gary Teja titled, The Role of Mentoring in the Local Church. Leadership Development and Discipleship has partnered with this organization in the development of several pastoral training courses. For information on how to obtain the book, go to www.multiplicationnetwork.org or call 708-414-1050.