Give Me a Mentor: Training for Christian Disciples

By Dr. Bob Martin III
Published 3 years ago

Every new and young Christian needs a mentor. In other words, mature believers help them become more like Jesus (Rom. 8:28-29).

Being discipled should be part of every Christian’s story. Sadly most Christians never have a mentor. As a result, many never begin their spiritual journey on the right foot. In other words, they don’t know how to utilize the resources to become a Christian disciple.

The four primary resources for becoming a Christian disciple are:

  1. The Bible
  2. The Holy Spirit
  3. Prayer
  4. Jesus’ example

 

What Should a mentor teach?

 

If you are a new Christian, ask yourself, “Now that you have the list, are you better off?”

Maybe not.

Why?

Because just trying to understand what each resource means can be intimidating.

For example, imagine a new Christian hearing their pastor or teacher say that they:

  • Need to study, meditate on, memorize and obey Scripture every day.
  • Pray continuously throughout the day using the ACTS method or Lord’s Prayer as their example.
  • Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into their life. Especially when facing challenges.
  • Follow Jesus’ example in every area of their life!

 

Is it any wonder so many new and young Christians feel overwhelmed?

So what is the solution?

In a word, “mentoring.”

A mentor acts as an accountability partner, advisor, confidant, and most important, example.

 

I.   Please Mentor Us Kids!

 

Nanny Goat protecting kid

 

Consider the illustration of young mountain goats called “kids.” It captures the reason every new and young Christian needs a mentor. Kids are very playful and active creatures.

But their romping can be hazardous. Kids live in the unsafe environment of steep mountains. If they make one wrong move, they will roll off a cliff.

So why don’t they end up falling to their deaths? In short, because of nanny goats.

Nanny goats stand between kids and the steep mountain. Nanny goats guard and watch over kids until they are old enough to care for themselves.

Maybe you don’t live on a mountain. But all of us are “kids” when we begin our spiritual lives as Christians. Every one of us needs someone more mature mentor to look after us when we first start.

 

II.   Become a Mentor Early in a Christian’s Life

New believers need mature Christians “discipling” them early in their spiritual lives.

Because new Christians “don’t know what they don’t know!”

Why? Without mentors, they could fall down a cliff into disappointment, disbelief, and doubt.

And if they leave the church, they don’t come back. And many have become more skeptical towards Christianity and its followers than before.

So creating a long-lasting Christian disciple means early and robust mentoring!

 

III.   Where Do New Christians Find a Mentor?

If you are a new member of God’s family, a more experienced Christian should be mentoring you (1 Cor 4:16). And there are various mentoring or discipling relationships.

Discipling occurs between:

  • Family members, especially parents and children (Eph 6:4)
  • Pastors and church members or leaders (Eph. 4:11-12; 2 Tim. 2:2)–whether in individual, group, or Sunday morning preaching settings
  • Between more mature church members and newer Christians individually (Ti. 2:4)

 

IV.   What Should a Mentor be Teaching Their Disciple?

 

What Should a mentor teach blog image

 

1.   A Mentor Should Encourage Scriptural Knowledge

Obtaining Biblical knowledge is critical. The Bible contains everything we need to live a godly lifestyle (2 Tim. 3:16-17). A mentor should teach a new believer how to study, memorize and obey Scripture.

 

2.   A Mentor Should Teach and Exemplify Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

A mentor should demonstrate a thriving spiritual life led by the Holy Spirit (Phil. 3:17; 4:9).

Further, the Spirit is the source of our “spiritual gift” for building up other believers and the church (Eph. 4:11-13; Gal. 5:22-23).

The Holy Spirit also illuminates our understanding of Scripture (John 16:13-14) and brings it to our remembrance when we need it most (John 14:26).

 

3.   A Mentor Should Show You How to Pray

A mentor who is a praying believer is an enormous gift to any new Christian. They can demonstrate how to “pray continuously” (1 Thess. 5:17) being guided by the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:18).

Learning a method of prayer is vital soon after becoming a Christian. Two methods are the ACTS model and the “Lord’s prayer” (Luke 11:2).

 

4.   Mentoring Means Illustrating Lifestyle Evangelism Within Culture

One of the greatest gifts a mentor provides is as an example. They show their disciples how to live “like Jesus” within the surrounding culture (Matt. 5:13; Eph. 5:8).

Lifestyle evangelism takes time and needs to be intentional (Rom. 8:29). We still carry our old self’s sinful baggage that must constantly be “put off”  (Eph. 4:22). And in its place, we are to “put on” our new “self,” created in the likeness of God (Eph. 4:24).

So a mentor needs to set reasonable expectations. They also need to be encouragers.

 

V.   What If Nobody Offers to Disciple You?

It is unfortunate but true. We older Christians often fail to reach out to disciple new and younger believers.

In case you don’t have a mentor, find one yourself!

However, choose wisely. Look for suitable characteristics. For instance, a mentor should:

  • Be mature in the faith
  • Live a Christ-honoring life
  • Be respected by the church family.

 

Invite that person to help you grow in faithfulness and spiritual maturity.

And finally, don’t forget to mentor others. Regardless of your age, as you spiritually mature, be sure to mentor someone yourself.

 

VI.   Now It’s Your Turn… What Are Your Next Steps?

You now know how important a mentor is to your spiritual life. What do you intend to do with this information?

Ask your pastor or church leader for names of mature believers who might be mentors.

Maybe you have someone in mind whose godly life you want to imitate.

If you are a long-time Christian, you know someone you could mentor. Speaking from experience, being a mentor is a great blessing. My family and I received far more benefits than any I provided them. Plus, above all, we saw the riches of honoring God.

 

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