Vol.25 No.1 May 2006

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The Essence of Mentoring

by Dr. Ken Whitten
Edited by Dr. Waylon B. Moore

Names are important. Letís look at a man who was nicknamed, “Barnabas.” His name means “Encourager,” “Son of Consolation.” His real name was Joses, or Joseph. Some people are encouragers — some are discouragers.

Ever meet a discourager? Like a drink of water to a drowning man, they can brighten up a room by leaving it. Discouragement is a dark room where the negatives of fear and failure are developed. Bill Glass is an evangelist. He was speaking in a prison to an audience of over 1,000 prisoners. He asked them this question, “How many of you were told by your parents that one day you would end up in prison?” Almost every one of them lifted his hand. Some encouragement! It was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

God has cornered the market — all encouragement comes from God. So all discouragement comes from the devil. God is the God of all consolation, and encouragement (2 Corinthians 1:3). Youíre never more like God than when you are encouraging people, and never more like the devil than when youíre discouraging people. We all need a Barnabas — somebody who will encourage us. Letís look at five instances in the life of Barnabas who encouraged people as a master mentor.


This was a time of great persecution. These early Christians had their goods confiscated. Many of them were hiding in secret caves, or put to death. Barnabas was a wealthy man — he was a landowner (Acts 4:36-37). He sold his land, and brought the money and laid it at the apostlesí feet, and said, “Use this for someone who needs help.” He knew the difference between ownership and stewardship. Levites werenít supposed to own land. They were supported by freewill offerings of the Lordís people. He was a burden-bearer, a load-lifter. He saw a need, and he met it. There may be someone you know whoís struggling right now financially. You could help them.

“But Pastor, if I give them what I have, then I may not have enough left when I need it for myself.” Friend, itís not what you keep in the barn that multiplies — itís what you sow that multiplies. God says, “Give and it shall be given you.” He took the resources God gave him, and he used it for those who were hurting. No money? You can give love, or help. For those who are ill, homebound, single moms — do some yard work, help them with housework or grocery shopping; service their car; rotate their tires. Be a good role model for a child. Be a tutor. Take a small boy fishing. Visit an elderly shut-in. retired executive, businessman — you can give wisdom. Live next door to a newlywed couple? They donít even know how to set up a budget. Do someoneís income taxes for them. There is so much we have to give to others. Barney means “Son of Encouragement — Son of Refreshment.” When people are around you, are they refreshed?


Three years had passed since Saulís conversion. Nobody knew where he had gone. The Church had heard rumors he was saved, but had vanished. They had enjoyed a rest from persecution. Now Saul was back. Worse yet, back in Jerusalem. Worse still, he was seeking to join the fellowship of the church. Everyone was frightened. He was a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin — they didnít trust him. “. . . but Barnabas took him. . .” (Acts 9:26-27). Barnabas moved in to this lonely man; he reached out and took him in.

There are lonely people who desperately need your love — who desperately need you to include them. That new convert has lost most of his former friends. A friend is someone who comes in when everyone else has gone out. We need to be careful. A Bible fellowship or house group can become a “Sacred Society for Snubbing Sinners.” A psychiatrist said: “70% of todayís population suffers from chronic loneliness.” The Apostle Paul never forgot what Barnabas did for him. Paul knew what it was like to be received because he knew what it was like to be rejected. He wrote “Wherefore receive you one another, as Christ also received us, to the glory of God” (Romans 15:7). Barnabas was a load-lifter. A Friend-finder. Do you have a sacrificial friend (not based on cost)? A selfless friend (not based on condition)? A steadfast friend (not based on comfort)?

Mentors lift the lonely and misunderstood just as Barnabas sponsored Paul.
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Mentors lift the lonely and misunderstood just as Barnabas sponsored Paul.


Our scene shifts to Antioch. People are coming to Christ! Revival fires are breaking out everywhere (Acts 11:20-24). The heads of the Jerusalem church send Barnabas to investigate: is it wild fire or genuine fire? Barnabas arrives, sees the unusual work of the Spirit and an explosion of Greek and Roman converts! Babes in Christ starting out need your affirmation and mentoring with the Word of God. Barnabas risked possible reaction from the Jerusalem authorities by immediately asking Saul to come and together they taught the church there for a year. They were called “Christians” first there, because of the two menĎs constant emphasis on the person of Christ.

There are three kinds of leaders: Risk-takers, Care-takers, and Under-takers. Do you know someone whoís getting ready to start something that needs encouragement? They want to write a book, advance their education, start a business. Trying to have a baby, or want to adopt. Affirm them. Thereís fear. A mentor comes alongside and says, “Hey, I believe in you. I believe in the grace of God I see in you and through you.” Barnabas: Burden-bearer, Friend-finder, and Bridge-builder.


Barnabas saw the new church in Antioch and said, “We need someone to help disciple (see Acts 11:25-26). Who do I ask? Peter? Too impulsive. Maybe James? Too rigid. John? No, too emotional. Philip? Too busy. I know: Paul!” A bold move! “I need a man to enlarge the church, encourage the Christians, and evangelize the city.” Barnabas was bringing in a man bigger than he was. Bigger in talent and genius; bigger in grasp of truth; bigger in breadth of vision; bigger in boldness of action. Spurgeon, the great pastor and preacher, said, “It takes more grace than I can tell to play the second fiddle well.”

Barney wasnít interested in starting a cult called “Barneyís Boys.” A mentor sees potential and gives time and love to develop others. Barnabas never wrote a book in the Bible, but over half of the New Testament as we know it was written by the guys he encouraged through mentoring: Paul and Mark. Not everyone is a great leader, but you can be a great encourager. A Burden-bearer. A Friend-finder and Bridge-builder. And a Disciple-developer!


Later Paulís the leader on a new mission trip. Barnabas is a follower. Paul and Barnabas disagreed on taking Mark on a new ministry (see Acts 15:36-41). Paul was thinking, “This is not a nursery school. John Markís a quitter, a mommaís boy. He quit once, heíll quit again.” So Barnabas took John Mark — found this failure, this quitter, and put his arm around him. Paul took Silas.

Who was right? Paul was — logically. Barnabas was — lovingly! Failure is not final if you have a mentor. Be a Failure-fixer. Years later, Paul is under a death sentence and writes, “Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for the ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Someone Paul didnít trust later became profitable because of the mentoring of Barnabas. Mark is still profitable, enriching us with his action-packed Gospel. And much of his narrative is quoted by Matthew and Luke.

Editor: Letís think together about the two giants in ministry, the “first team” in Acts? Wouldnít we agree it is Peter and then Paul, who dominate this book? Then how do we raise up Peterís and Paulís in our churches? Through the mentoring of a potential mentor: an Andrew and a Barnabas! They find the world changers. There is an Andrew, a Barnabas (male or female) in your church NOW. They are like budding flowers which need a bit more sun and rain to blossom to maturity. As they grow, God will use them to find and train the world-changers. The first team is really Andrew and Barnabas. Will you be Godís mentor this year to seek out, through prayer and encouragement, a first team guy or gal?

Ken Whitten, our family friend, is senior Pastor of Exciting Idlewild Baptist in Tampa, FL. He has held many offices of honor with Southern Baptists in Florida. He was recently President of the Pastorís Conference, SBC, and serves on the Board of International Mission Board.


– Author Unknown

Editor: My pastor and son was preaching about the will of God and said, “Life is a series of small decisions, insignificant events that become major later on.” In the horrible hour of 9/11, it is told that these people from the Trade Center lived because of a little thing.

“The head of a company survived because he had to be there to start his son in kindergarten. Another man was alive because it was his turn to bring donuts. One woman was late because her alarm clock didnít go off on time. Another was late stuck because of a traffic accident on the NJ Turnpike. One missed his bus. One spilled food on her clothes and had to change everything. Oneís car wouldnít start. One went back to answer the phone before leaving. One couldnít get a taxi. One had a child that dawdled and wasnít ready in time. One man wearing a new pair of shoes developed a blister on his foot. He stopped at a drugstore to buy a bandage, and is alive today.

“Now when I am stuck in traffic, miss an elevator, turn back to answer a ringing telephone. . . all the little things that annoy me I think to myself, this is exactly where God wants me to be at this very moment.

“Next time your morning seems to be going wrong, the children are slow getting dressed, you canít find the car keys, you hit every traffic light, do not get mad or frustrated. God is at work watching you. May God continue to bless you with all those annoying little things and may you remember their possible purpose.”


May 16-25 BRAZIL Ministry:
5/17 Arrive Sao Paulo — Fly to Londrina. Conferences hosted by Bob Sarles.
5/20 Saturday Fly to Curitiba. Overnight with Mark Johnson family.

Photo of Curitiba Hosts with Dr. Moore.
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(l-r) Curitiba Hosts with Dr. Moore: IMB Sarah, Caron, Mark and Stephen Johnson.

5/21 Sunday a.m. Preach. Afternoon: Fly to Foz do Iguaçu. Meet Phil Kesler, host. Preach that evening. Mon.-Wed. Seminary Conferences.
5/24 Fly to Sao Paulo. Overnight to Atlanta.
25th back in Tampa.

May 31 Ė July 5 FBC, Lakeland, at the Mall. Teach LIVING GODíS WORD each Wed. for six weeks to Menís Study Group.

June 11-13 SBC at Greensboro, NC.


For that laptop you take on vacation, or have a short Mentoring Seminar with your church group or family. NEW. The Mentoring Workshop on 8 DVDís! Be in the marvelous conference with Dr. Waylon Moore, Dr. Bill Steeger, and four others sharing how you mark others for eternity. Build a caring group of character and service. Sixteen messages for a bargain $95. Includes a Leaderís Manual of Powerpoint cells. Student Manuals $8.

The Building Disciples Toolbook: Just out on CD, with new type, our red Building Disciples Notebook. All 300 pages: Download from CD and print. Recall? six weeks immediate follow-up; 20 weeks of discipleship Bible Study. Life-changing disciplines, for family fun and growth. Memory verses for adults/children. Bible studies on family, evangelism, prayer, stewardship, spiritual gifts, discipleship. Adobe format. Get CD $17

MENTORING LECTURES at Midwestern Seminary — How can you apply scripture to daily living? Thatís the bottom line! Dig into life-changing biblical truths from a master mentor and pastor. Passionate, inspirational, spontaneous! Hear Dr. Moore and delight in straight-from-the-heart class messages. Over 12 hours of HOW. CD MP3 $15

LIVING GODíS WORD, Lifeway Pub. 96 pp. Used for mentoring in 10,000 groups. Also in Spanish. “I was a Christian for 18 years. The Bible was boring until I did Living Godís Word and discovered the Scriptures alive with joyous application!” $9.95

FIRST STEPS - “Simply the best follow-up tool in print.” Set of 5 for $9. Surrounding NIV Gospel of John are six entry-level lessons, all linked to John. Written by our world authority on nurture, each lesson combines Johnís best verses. Use for nurture or pre-evangelism. Questions on verses highlight topics: the Gospel, Assurance, Lordship, Forgiveness, Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Discipleship, Claiming promises, and Witnessing. Plus — WHY AND HOW TO HAVE: daily devotions, memorize scripture, give your testimony, take sermon notes. Bargain: Box of 76: $121.84; plus postage of $9.50. Other books: Under $12 = $3.50; $12-$18 = $5; $19-$25 = $6; $26-40 = $9; above = the actual cost. CDís postage = $2.50.


How you encouraged us with prayer!! You were there as God marked hearts in five nations in '05. Thank you, dear ONES, for giving at Christmas to the ministry. You met a real need. Link with us now also. In country Brazil Air flights and hotels are much more than expected. They want to re-print my books in Portuguese ($2,000).

Photo of Dr. Moore in mountains of Brazil.
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Dr. Moore visits mountains of Brazil.

PRAY as I teach Pastors to mentor men. Clemmie continues active and a blessing to all. Bruce and Heather are enjoying their marriage, and the challenge of church planting. Join Martha in praying, just WHERE in Germany to plant a new student ministry.
We love ya,

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