According to Wiki, Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.
In the world and particularly in the business world, mentoring often refers to the transfer of knowledge or skills between two people and is usually part of some mentoring program. Mentoring is also understood to include such concepts as teaching, coaching, sponsoring, modeling and guiding. Biblical mentoring is not a program. It is the process of influence through relationship, to facilitate the growth of Christ-like character in another.
There are two essential differences between mentoring in the business world and how the bible describes it:
- Biblical mentoring is not the transfer of skills and knowledge, but the development and maturing of Christ-like character in an individual. We do not create mirror images of ourselves but encourage the image of Christ in each other.
- The final goal is not the ability to perform in a situation, but for the mentee to desire to duplicate Christ-like character traits in another, creating a third generation of disciples.
Although mentorship is not a biblical term, the concept of mentorship can be seen in the relationships between Priscilla and Aquila to Apollo, Barnabas to Paul, Paul to Titus and Timothy, Elizabeth to Mary and Naomi to Ruth.
I like the definition of Elizabeth Inrig in “Release your Potential”:
“Mentoring is the process of developing a person to their maximum potential for the Lord Jesus Christ. The object of mentoring is improvement and holiness, not perfection. A mentor is someone committed to helping another grow so that the process of maturing continues for a lifetime and helps them realize their God-given purpose and achieve her God-given life goals.”
The formal or informal process of one person investing in another person’s life is mentoring.
A mentor is someone committed to helping another grow, it is a purposeful intentional relationship so that a person can grow into their maximum potential for the Lord Jesus Christ over time. It is not a program, but a lifestyle that is transferred.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor 11:1)
Being mentored is observing godly people who motivate you to follow the Lord more closely. Sometimes it is being influenced to Christ in a single moment or multiple conversations. Some mentors come in the form of books, or conferences, our hearts burning to know God like they know God. Mentoring can be formal or informal, without being noticed or openly planned and purposeful.
What is mentoring?
- Mentoring is for a season – from one coffee appointment to a series of weeks, months together. It is not likely to be for a full lifetime, so having a season of closure should be expected.
- Mentoring is a personal relationship, not a partnership. It is based on a relationship and is effective within the boundaries of a relationship. One cannot mentor outside of the relationship.
- Mentoring is a demanding relationship. The essential requirement of any mentoring is maturity. Mentoring is not intended to be therapy. It is being godly yourself first and then to invest in another person’s life.
- It is a changing, dynamic relationship. There is no set approach to mentoring, it grows and changes according to the needs and questions of the one being mentored. Actions that are taken in the process of mentorship enhance the mentorship relationship rather than replace it.
- It requires investment in significant moments, whether planned or spontaneous, where Jesus is transferred from one life into another.
The best mentor is the Lord Jesus Himself, who believed in mentoring (or discipleship). He invested his life into the twelve, teaching and shaping their lives and character so that they ultimately went on to teach and disciple others in the third generation of disciples.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matt 28:18-20)