How did Jesus mentor?
- He kept it to a small group. He chose 12 men to mentor. Out of those 12, he probably invested more in a close group of 3.
- He told them to follow him. You don't have to have all the answers to mentor someone, but you need to be heading in the right direction. In fact, the best way to mentor is to tell someone, "I don't have all the answers for you, but I know Who does. Let's pray together and ask God for the answers." You are not the solution or the savior. You always need to be pointing them to God.
- Jesus sat and taught his disciples. We mistakenly think discipling is going through a book study together. It's not wrong to do Bible studies together...but as you can see, it's only 1/10th of the mentoring process. And usually when Jesus taught, there was a great crowd of people--not just the 12. Teach those you mentor the truth of God's Word, but don't stop there.
- Jesus disciplined or corrected the disciples. He corrected wrong thinking and even rebuked them occasionally. That's part of the discipling process--to correct wrong thinking.
- Jesus used teachable moments. He saw a fig tree that was full and beautiful, but as he got close to it, he saw that it wasn't producing fruit. He rebuked it and it died. The next day, he pointed out to the disciples that you can't just appear fruitful, you must be fruitful or you're useless. It was a teachable moment.
- Jesus demonstrated how to live. From overturning the money-changers tables in the temple to healing blind men, Jesus was demonstrating the kingdom life. His purpose was love, holiness, and most importantly, pleasing his Father. He taught by example.
- Jesus involved the disciples. He made them exercise their own faith. You can have lots of head knowledge but until you DO the work, it's pointless. He involved them when he broke the bread and fish and fed the 5000. He had them cast their nets and invited them to walk on water. They put hands and feet to their faith under his leadership.
- Jesus prayed with the disciples. They often saw him go alone to pray...but then he also called them to prayer. He taught them that even he didn't do anything apart from his Father's will--and they shouldn't either.
- Jesus blessed them, encouraged them and gave them vision. He told Peter that his name was Rock. Peter didn't immediately become strong and courageous--Jesus was casting a vision of who he would be. Peter was instrumental in establishing the church.
- Jesus sent them out. He didn't keep discipling them forever. In fact, he had three good years to disciple them before he sent them out on their own. He wasn't a hovering mother hen afraid they'd fail. He knew they would, but he also knew they'd never accomplish much if they were tethered to him.
Mentoring is much easier than we think. It's inviting people into your life and walking with them and investing in them. But it's also making yourself vulnerable and letting them look inside your life. It's also a command--we're all to make disciples. Look around. There are lots of hurting people who need you in their lives!