One Christian men’s group I attend praises mentoring a lot. But something about that word has bothered me. Why?
After all, when I worked in Corporate IT, I did some mentoring. In Corporate, I passed along technical and organizational info about being a better programmer. Basically, I transmitted a reproducible body of knowledge and techniques.
But I see a danger when using the term mentoring in a Christian context: It’s a mistake to reduce Christian growth to a passing on of a bunch of techniques and info. Being the Christian fixer who is so experienced that he knows the correct way to handle any financial dilemma or parenting problem. Being a combo of Doctor Phil and Dave Ramsey.
But even if I were an expert on fixing the aftereffects of bad life experiences and resolving parenting dilemmas, I would still be missing the most important thing: life experiences are of some value, but they are not what makes someone worth imitating.
So what is the secret? What would make me worth imitating?
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Rather than having a qualifying list of life experiences, what really matters is how we react during any life experience. Can we help someone to think wisely about what God has brought into their life? If we do, we’re helping them develop wise biblical character.
I love the verse “Abraham grew stronger in his faith as he gave glory to God.” (Romans 4:20)
Shouldn’t a Christian mentor help a mentee grow stronger in their own faith and discernment? Helping them to better distinguish between a wise and a foolish usage of time. And between sound and thoughtless choices about money. And showing them how prayer and Scripture illuminate the correct path.
If that’s what mentoring is, it’s no longer just a corporate buzzword. Now it’s worthwhile for true growth. Count me in!