The Bible, Christians, and Mentoring

Dr. Elaine Bednar

Women In Discipleship – Blog Post 4

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice – Phillipians 4:9a

“Mentor” is defined as a wise and trusted counselor or teacher. As the last blog shared, the actual term, mentoring, does not appear in the Bible. The blog also shared that Scripture does include numerous examples of mentoring. To refer back to two, Moses was mentored by his father-in-law Jethro, first as son-in-law and then as a leader. The mentoring relationship between Eli and Samuel prepared Samuel for the tasks and responsibilities that were his after Eli’s death. Neither relationship could be called discipleship as Jesus has not yet made his appearance. Discipleship starts when Jesus mentored his disciples. Jesus made his style of mentoring clear: he led so that we can follow. He was a shepherd of budding shepherds.

Martin Sanders shares in The Power of Mentoring, that mentoring is shaping people that will shape the world. Paul’s mentoring/leadership model was clear and simple. “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice” (Philippians 4:9a). I believe Paul’s message was, “Let me mentor you. Let me be your role model.” He reminds the new Christians at Thessalonica to “follow our example” (2 Thessalonians 3:7). Paul’s model, to provide and example, teach so that others can learn, and model as a role model, are features of mentoring which are indispensable in developing fully devoted followers of Jesus that transmit the faith from one generation to the next. If mentors expect others to follow their example, they must be committed to following Christ. Any insincerity—“do what I say, not what I do”—will be negative and harmful to the mentoring relationship.

Elders in the local church also do their work by mentoring. Peter admonishes, “Be examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3), and Paul explains to the elders at Ephesus, “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you” (Acts 20:17). Paul’s message to the elders is, I showed you, now you show them. I would submit that if a Christian leader is not mentoring someone, she is not living up to her calling.

To provide for the mentoring needs of a leader’s community of faith, the leaders must be intentional and continually expanding the circle of mentors by equipping others to mentor. And in equipping others, mentors would be well served to remember that each person is a distinct and unique individual. Therefore, mentoring models need to be adapted for each of those unique individuals.

Mentoring models include one-to-one, such as Elijah and Elisha, one-to-two, such as Moses to Joshua and Caleb, and group such as Jesus and the twelve disciples. There also exists a unique individual model such as the one between Jesus and Peter, and even one for a timid leader such as Paul and Timothy. Mentoring is not a one size fits all model—but it is a model that is Christ centered. It does appear that the kind of people God uses significantly were/are those whose character conformed/conforms to Christ’s.

Now knowing this, do you need a mentor? Stay tuned for the next blog?

The Co-Founders

Dr. Elaine Bednar DMIN, LPCC-S, LCDC III

Dr. Bednar is also the founder of Dr. Bednar Counseling, LLC. Her education includes Doctor of Ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary. MA in Clinical Pastoral Counseling from Ashland Theological Seminary, and BA from The Ohio State University, with distinction in Psychology. She is a licensed professional clinical counselor and a licensed chemical dependency counselor.

Dr. Bectoria Stafford MSW

Dr. Stafford is also the founder of Dr. Bectoria Stafford, LLC. Her education includes Doctor of Ministry degree from South University, MSW: Eastern Washington University School of Social Work, and a BA: University of Washington, with distinction in Psychology. She is a licensed social worker.

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