Why Your Church Should Raise Up Mentors — Part 1

Church. A place with four walls (or more), a roof, and maybe a steeple and stained glass. Right? Definitely wrong.

Church. A group of people who come together once or twice or thrice per week to worship God, great with a smile and a handshake, and serve others by holding babies in a nursery. Right? Still wrong.

While worship and ministry are key elements of a church body, we cannot stop there. God’s purpose for a church is also about every day of the week, not just on Sundays.

Opportunities to serve outside of Sunday mornings surround us — there are soup kitchens, neighborhood clean-up days, short-term mission trips, etc. But few ministry opportunities will have as significant and far-reaching of an impact as being a mentor.

What Is A Mentor?

I cannot explain mentoring better than the videos in Mentoring: A Gameplan for Poverty. If you haven’t watched those, open that link in a new tab and watch them. Now. Seriously.

OK, maybe you didn’t do that. For you rebellious people, here’s the gist: When you mentor, you are sharing the knowledge and wisdom that you were once taught, and you are sharing the love that has been poured into you.

But that last sentence doesn’t do the videos justice. Go watch them. I’ll wait.

Why You Should Mentor

Three basic reasons to mentor are:

  1. To meet a social and emotional need in the one being mentored.
  2. To meet a spiritual need in that mentee.
  3. To give you an opportunity to grow in Christ.

I’ll cover two reasons today, and the other one later in the week.

Meeting Social and Emotional Needs 

Mentoring is about sharing knowledge and love that you have received. For many kids, no one is teaching them about life, or at least, very few are giving them a positive encouragement and hope for their futures.

A gap exists — the child (with his blank slate) stands on one side of the canyon, and on the other side are all the tools that he needs to succeed in life. He can’t get to those tools on his own. He doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know. You become the bridge and the guide that leads him to the other side.

Children are hurting and disadvantaged. And we have a mandate. James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us:

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress…” (James 1:27)

A friend who works in the schools told me last year that for all the problems that he sees, mentors are needed to provide a model.

Meeting Spiritual Needs

You may be wondering how you can communicate the gospel while you are mentoring in a school setting. It’s true that a mentor cannot explicitly share his faith in most mentoring programs, but you can share the Biblical principles of respect, kindness, honesty, contentment, patience, etc. Furthermore, you own pleasant speech provides a model for children who may not witness that too often.

As you spend time with someone, developing a friendly and trust-filled relationship, you are creating the possibility open doors to deeper spiritual conversations. For an example of this, watch this video from Community Bible Church, where two students had a chance to share their faith. Watch the entire video, OK? Fine, lazy bones, skip to the 2:03 and 3:06 marks.

To Be Continued

Come back later this week (or better yet, subscribe to the blog by email or RSS feeds by going up and to the right of your screen) to read a third reason to mentor, and for some closing thoughts of how you can proceed.

Now, before leaving, watch the mentoring and CBC videos. You won’t regret it.

**image courtesy of guynhyen

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