Building Leadership Through Mentoring
by Dr. Waylon B. Moore
Mentoring has been delightfully defined as
a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, a push in the right
by Erik Johnson in The Uncommon Individual Foundation,
p. 36. Spring 2000. In the last edition of our Newsletter,
we took a thoughtful look at two of the five important elements involved in a
growing mentoring relationship. I suggest these Five
PRINCIPLES, PROGRESS, PROBLEMS, PRAYER, the PRACTICAL
as building-blocks, with which the coach or mentor may
effectively design his interpersonal time with a mentoree.
PRINCIPLES and PROGRESS
Let's review the key ideas from Part 1 of this article. Mentoring is a
deliberate, encouraging relationship in which the mentor seeks to spiritually
lift another person to his/her full potential in Christ. The foundational
element of the mentoring relationship, as well as the weekly time together,
and promises from the Word. We want to help the mentoree discover the Bible
as holy, inspired, and practical. We show the mentoree how to dish
up the Bible, eat it, and assimilate it into his life (
through simple question-and-answer Bible studies. In the mentoree's personal
life I emphasize the Wheel illustration:
1) the how of time in the Word,
3) obedience to God's will, and
basics are taught motivationally in my group study book,
Living God's Word.
Later we teach methods of inductive studies, which the mentoree can use for a
lifetime. They require only a Bible and a concordance.
We strive for measurable
including mutual accountability and check-up. Without some sense of
apprenticeship on the part of the one mentored, sustained growth is
difficult. Although mentoring may begin with a serendipitous teaching or
counseling hour, the best mentoring needs a consistent schedule of an hour or
more weekly, focused on both the mentoree's needs but also on goals which the
mentor has for him/her.
Many mentoring relationships have begun by listening to a person in crisis. But
do problem people ever become problem-solvers? Yes! When they have
a wise, loving mentor who knows how to lead them to
Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Mentoring needs to be done by choice, rather than chance. We have to make a
commitment toward that person, and he to us. Therefore, early on we need to
clarify our expectations, if the friendship began as simply a loose time of
counseling, for instance. This will neutralize potential relationship problems.
Agree on a meeting place, a time and its length. Discuss together some
perimeters about topics, goals, and how often you will meet. Get some agreement
to complete a specific study or ministry you do together.
Eventually we'll have to confront, or correct. We become mirrors that help the
mentoree understand his/her blind spots and the attitudes that hinder God's
best in his life. With tenderness I will hold up the mirror and say, Do
you see this in your life? A word of caution here. While Satan can't read
our minds, he does log our journey. We must be aware that this potentially
effective relationship will be under attack.
Problems That Kill a Mentoree's Potential
The world is always trying to squeeze us into its mold. Every commercial on TV
has one of three heart-motivations that it's tapping into to sell its product:
the sex motive, the security motive, or the success motive. Mentoring men
involves walking through the minefields of girls, gold, and glory (
1 John 2:15-17
). For women also, these same categories might be defined:
control, collect, compete.
As in the Old West, we seek to head the Enemy off at the pass. We
counter-attack sexual temptations, the lust of the flesh, before
they are a problem by teaching self-denial and taking up one's cross daily.
Instead of finding security in money, the lust of the eyes, we
train men and women to give their life, time, and money to Jesus. To counter
the success drive for personal glory, the pride of life, we model
and teach the servant-heart attitude. We are on earth to
who hath chosen us to be a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:4)
True mentoring is not an act but a process. It simply takes time. Who is
sufficient for this kind of warfare? Not me! We listen patiently as the
mentoree shares his heart, his hurts and hesitancies. Then through prayer we
seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
The entrance of thy Word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the
(Psalm 119:130). The Holy Spirit will teach us how to customize His Word to
each person's needs.
Perhaps the most bonding experience we can have is praying aloud regularly with
another person. Prayer is a mentoring necessity. We need to pray specifically,
openly, freely, crying out to God in intercession and petitions. Set aside time
for prayer together, whenever you meet to mentor. Be careful how you pray. You
Expand the prayer horizon of your mentoree. Pray driving in a car. Pray over
the phone. Pray together as you walk down a street. In a restaurant you can
pray with eyes open. Make a list of the mentoree's prayer needs and pray daily.
Ask the mentoree about his problems in prayer and answers. Help him also make
up a prayer list, and log the answers. Sometimes the pressure on the mentoree
is such that we need to read some passage of Scripture to claim, and go
immediately into prayer. While I was in Baylor Law School, I cried out to God
for wisdom about knowing His will for my life in a 4-hour prayer time with my
friend and mentor Bruce. I was called to preach during that life-altering
meeting, and have never doubted God's call.
Years ago in England, I visited the Anglican church of a friend and man of God,
Bishop A. W. Goodwin-Hudson. From the pulpit he requested the reading of
the prayers. Immediately I thought, why don't they just say their prayers
from the heart? Hmm. But then, listening to the prayer, I thought,
Whoever wrote that prayer is really good! It hit me! Paul wrote
that prayer they read in
Why did God allow Paul's prayers for those believers to be preserved nearly
2000 years? Aren't they examples for us of prayers God loves to hear and
answer? These other prayers of Paul are also worth memorizing:
1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13;
2 Thessalonians 1:11, 12.
Later I discovered a new joy from these verse-prayers. I matched character
qualities from a verse and prayed it for my wife, each of my children, and
some of the men that I mentored.
Next to prayer, ministry together is a great bonding experience. It also
quickly reveals what principles you've taught the mentoree that are sticking.
Without ministry together, you'll never know what he truly knows! Take someone
out witnessing, and you'll discover quickly where he is in practical knowledge.
His questions later will be pointed and real. No room for theory
here! When the mentoree begins to do ministry, his real fears, weaknesses, and
gifts begin to surface. Then, your progress in helping him into Christlikeness
Remember, in ministry you're modeling
the time. When pastoring, I recall taking Charlie with me to give a Gospel
presentation to a young couple. The couple gave their hearts to Christ. Charlie
was thrilled. Ten years later I visited with Charlie in another city where he
was now director of a statewide medical work. Remember the first time you
took me witnessing? Remember that illustration you used? Charlie asked,
smiling. No, I replied. Charlie went on to explain the illustration
I'd used. That couple came to Christ. And I've used that illustration
every time I've given the Gospel the past 10 years! Oh,
Charlie, I replied, that's not even my
illustration! Charlie's instant comment was, I saw it work when
they got saved; so it's what I use.
Mark it well: THE METHOD IS THE MESSAGE, too. Paul commanded the Philippians,
Those things which you have both learned and received, and heard and
in me, do, and the God of peace shall be with you
(Philippians 4:9). Reverse the first phrase of the verse, and note the
progression: seen, heard, received, learned. We learn by watching what a mentor
does and says; we begin to digest it, and ultimately copy it.
Decide together where and when to meet for ministry. At first, it may be
helping with a cookout at the church, mowing a widow's yard, painting a house,
visiting a patient in the hospital, or helping a neighbor with a computer need.
After a time of ministry, we then go out for coffee and discuss and evaluate
the ministry. What did we do? What could we have done better? We're listening
all the time for the mentoree's response his questions, comments,
emotional state, and growth. Then in private we'll do follow-up prayer about
the ministry that next week.
Let's review these five elements. As God makes us available to mentor, we link
up in heart with a man or woman through Bible principles. We help him/her
progress in accountability and assignments. We bond through prayer, solve
problems together, and get out of the holy huddle in practical
ministry. However, nothing is in concrete. Only the Holy Spirit can
change a person. As I mentor others, I'm continually crying out to God for a
holy walk in the Spirit, to be ready for those that God is preparing. Then as I
encourage and carefully model what God has taught me, the Spirit will deepen
the mentoree's love for Jesus.
In this process of mentoring, God blesses the mentor exceedingly. The longer
you mentor, the richer you are in blessings. With a heart to
mentor, you'll never lack ministry. Claim Isaiah 43:4,
Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I
have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy