The answer is almost always the same. Whenever I ask young believers—Christians who are godly and mature beyond their years—how they grew so rapidly in the faith, I know what they are going to say. An older, wiser believer invested in them.
In short, they were mentored.
As I look back on my own life, I can see this was true for me. Key spurts of Christian growth often coincided with older, wiser Christians in my life who invested in my life—a soccer coach, an upperclassman in college, a young pastor. The friendships with these men played a big role in who I am today.
Such a pattern should not be surprising. The Bible is full of stories of believers investing in relationships with other believers. Just think of Paul and Timothy. Or even the way Jesus invested in his disciples, particularly Peter, James, and John. God’s truth is best delivered in a relational context.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that growth cannot happen without a mentor. Sitting faithfully under the weekly preaching of the Word, and reading good Christian books, can play a tremendous role in our spiritual development, even if a person never has a mentor.
But, this does not negate the reality that mentors can have a significant impact on our spiritual growth. They can help us apply those resources to our lives in ways that we may not be able to do on our own.
For these reasons, I particularly excited for a new book on mentoring by wife Melissa who is the director of women’s content for The Gospel Coalition. The book releases with Crossway this week (June 9th!) and is entitled, Growing Together: Taking Mentoring Beyond Small Talk and Prayer Requests.
The subtitle gets to the heart of what makes this book unique. While there are many books out there about mentoring, this is one of the few that actually provides a framework for what to do in the actual mentoring meetings.
Often times a mentoring relationship is started with good intentions. But once the two people actually meet together, key questions comes up: What do we do now? What do talk about? Most books on mentoring don’t answer those questions, so meetings often devolve into small talk and prayer requests. But, this new book provides a chapter-by-chapter guide for the key issues to cover in a mentoring relationship. I know of nothing else quite like it.
This volume could be used in all sorts of different situations, but would be particularly useful for women’s ministries looking to launch a new mentoring initiative in their church. Each mentor would have a ready guide for how to proceed and what to do.
Here’s the description and endorsements: [Read more…]