Hebrews 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
I love this verse because it brings to my mind’s eye pictures and memories of Granny, Pa (my grandfather), Joan, Marie, Albert, Ginnie, Marilyn, Allen, Sadie, and others who invested part of their lives in me, my husband, and my children for the purpose of living the message of the Gospel.
Who are your leaders? Or even more important is the question… who are you leading?
To dozens of young people I am “Momma D”. The children and young adults who call me Momma D are those I’ve had the blessing of spending life with throughout my years in youth/family ministry. I’ve watched and helped these kids grow up alongside their parents and in some cases, acting as a parent when theirs weren’t up to the task.
I invest myself in these kids because I love them and care about their spiritual, physical and emotional well-being. I want them to know Jesus personally and to live His will for their lives. I’ve prayed with and for them, laughed with them, cried with them, studied with them, been scared with them, been angry with AND at them, praised them, and held them accountable for making poor choices.
I’ve done those things because that’s what a mentor does. According to the dictionary a mentor is a ‘trusted advisor’. This means as a Christian mentor you need to be ready, willing, and able to advise someone in a trustworthy manner.
What you need to do to be a good Christian mentor
- Know the Word of God so that you do not lead someone astray. No, you don’t have to have it memorized, but you do have to be familiar with God’s teachings and now to find the answers you and your mentee are looking for. Remember: As Christians we are to speak where and how the Bible speaks and to remain silent when and where the Bible is silent.
- Pray continually. Pray for yourself and the one who is looking to you for advice and leadership.
- Be transparent. They aren’t expecting you to be perfect. They don’t even want you to be. They just want you to be real, open, and honest.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and hold someone accountable. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
- Do and say everything in love—the Jesus kind of love.
- Don’t be afraid to make a judgement call. I know, I know, everyone and their brother says we’re not supposed to be judgmental. Not true! We cannot hold each other accountable without making a judgment call that someone is sinning. We cannot guide, mentor, and train up young people to be leaders if we don’t judge sin as sin and do what we can to keep ourselves and each other from falling into Satan’s trap. God will make the final judgement. Only God can declare someone as saved, but we are called to hold ourselves and each other to God’s standards for living. It goes back to the whole sharpening each other ‘thing’.
- Don’t be prideful. You are merely God’s tool to bring others up in him.
- Don’t give up. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we fall hard and stay down for quite a while. But part of being a Christian mentor is letting those you are mentoring know that it’s not over until they take their last breath—that God (and you) will always welcome their repentant self with open arms.
I think I can best sum this up by telling you what fifteen year-old Seth told me a few years ago.
We were sitting in a chapel service at church camp, listening to the preacher tell a story about an elderly woman the church he grew up in. He said the woman had taught Sunday School for sixty years—the class for nine to twelve year-old boys.
She’d had only one child of her own and had been widowed for many years when she passed away, but on the day of her funeral, the church was full of people who loved her—the majority of them being little boys and men who had had her as their Sunday school teacher.
The preacher went on to say, “The most unusual but special thing about Miss Lila’s funeral were the pall bearers. There were almost fifty of them; including three generations of the same family. All of them had asked to help carry Miss Lila’s casket in order to pay honor to the woman who had touched their lives so deeply.”
When the preacher finished the story, Seth, who was sitting in front of me, turned around and said, “Momma D, someday I want to carry your casket.”
Now I know to some that might sound strange, but those are among the sweetest words anyone has ever spoken to me. Seth’s words assured me that I was impacting his life and the lives of others for Christ—just like Jesus commanded us to do (Matthew 28:18-20).
~ By Darla Noble