Hello Hello How’s it going?
Today I want to talk to you about a powerful means of growing in your faith and your leadership.
Mentoring: it’s a word that gets tossed around a lot but isn’t always explained. And we are going to talk about Mentorship for the next few weeks. Next week: How to find a mentor? The week after: how to be a mentor? But for Today lets start at the foundation: Why does mentorship matter? Why would you want a mentor?
I read this great book this summer called “Great Mentoring: For Real Life Change.” And a lot of the things we are going to talk about over this month are drawn or inspired by this book.
So first: what is mentorship?
I like this definition from Lynn Smith: “A Relational Process of Sharing Resources to Empower Others.”
- There is a relationship between people.
- There is sharing between people.
- And there is empowering through people.
Beyond this, Mentorship is rooted in scripture.
So many of the figures we honour as key people in the stories of our faith had mentors.
I want to focus on one mentoring relationship. The relationship between Paul and Timothy.
Paul, as you may know, is the champion of the faith. He spread the gospel across the known world and is attributed with the success of the Christian Faith, of developing critical theological ideas, and for writing a huge percentage of the New Testament.
He was THE Christian and he mentored Timothy. Here’s how Paul described his relationship with Timothy in Phil 2:19-23:
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.
Paul’s description of Timothy here demonstrates some of the keys of mentorship.
“A Relational Process of Sharing Resources to Empower Others.”
Let’s Break it down:
- Relational Process
At the heart of mentorship is a relationship between two people. This relationship is evident in how Paul talks about timothy. Their relationship spans the New Testament and there are whole letters from Paul to Timothy under the title of 1 and 2 Timothy. And those books ultimately show the effort and reflection that Paul gave to Timothy. And all of it stemmed from their relationship
- Sharing Resources
A leader that mentors someone else is sharing their experience, their wisdom, their skills, and their insights into the one they mentor. Paul talks about how Timothy worked with him side by side and in doing so Timothy had access to all that Paul had to offer. Paul shared his ministry with Timothy and in doing shared all of his resources through their relationship.
- Empowering Others
The most quoted part of the letters to Timothy is this: Don’t let others look down on you because you are young but set an example. You know Timothy lead a church as a young person. In fact, Paul sent him to lead (just like referenced above) and Paul having sent this young leader out into the world writes to him the most powerful words of encouragement I can imagine. We treat these words like they are general truths (and in one sense they are) but in another sense they are very specific words to a specific person from their mentor. Can you imagine what it would be like to have Paul say these sorts of words to you? Like I said Paul was the champion, the best, the most successful, the most well known, he was everything to the early church and Paul is using his power and influence to say Timothy you can do this. Paul backed Timothy and empowered him through his mentorship.
So we return to the question of the day: Why would you want to have a mentor?
To develop a relationship with someone you trust.
To gain access to resources you do not yet have
To be empowered in your life and ministry.
What would it mean if on your hardest day, where everything went wrong, and you feel like you have nothing to be proud of you had a person in your life you could go to and talk it through?
What would happen if when you hit a wall on a project, or felt like you were struggling to understand something about your life you had access to a person who has already walked through the challenge?
Who could guide on the journey?
What would it be like to have someone cheering you on?
This is what mentorship is about.
My challenge for you today is…
Consider what it would mean to have a mentor in your life and to begin imagining what sort of person that could be? Do you know someone already who you would love to have as a mentor? Do you wish you could find someone like that? What would they be like? Why would you want them to be your mentor? What is that thing that sets them apart? Take some time this week to really about and pray about the potential for a mentor in your life.
Hey, we want to be supportive of you as you go about the complicated thing that is living every day. We are praying for you. We believe in you. And we are excited to see the person you are becoming. As we think about mentorship and building toward your own future know that we are always here to chat and to explore how we can work with you to find a mentor and even be mentors if we can. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And in the meantime: keep being awesome!
This post is part of our Leap of Faith Audio Check-ins. We want to encourage you to leap into your faith and continue to grow at home, at school, and in your church. These audio check-ins are meant to encourage you as live out your faith every day.
Want to keep growing?
There are more episode of Leap of Faith and other resources for you to grow in your leadership and faith here.