Gospel Mentoring: Part One
Life and relationships are messy and hard. There are roads you haven’t traveled down before and lessons you haven’t learned when you’re already taking the exams for them in life. We have many books, messages and blogs that have sought to provide clarity to these kinds of life challenges with mixed results. While we have abundant resources that offer helpful information, there is little to provide the life-on-life transformation like a mentor. In our culture and in our churches, mentoring has become a buzzword that means everything and means nothing at the same time. The benefits of mentoring in which someone helps another from a personal wealth of knowledge or ability are very limited and temporary. There is a type of mentoring that offers unlimited capacity for growth in both people and to the benefit of others around them.
The core of our journey with God is the Gospel. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom.1:16).” When we learn to understand the Gospel as something more than a set of beliefs that secures our eternity, we can understand it as a powerful agent of change for our lives, enabling us to experience them in abundance (Jn.10:10). Too often we find the Gospel to be something that is nebulous and undefined, but the Bible is very clear as to what the Gospel is for us when we first believe and as we grow in our knowledge and relationship with God through it (2Pet.3:18).
At its core, The Gospel means: I can’t, God can, Jesus did and the Holy Spirit does. I will never be able to get to God on my own and the more I try to do it by myself, the wider I understand the gap between Him and me to be. God is all-powerful and, because of His love for humanity, He was unwilling to watch us remain separated in position or practice. Jesus accomplished the work of redemption and rescue for us by living a life we can’t, dying a death we should have, and being raised again to show His power over sin and death. Now we experience life in Him by faith and receive His grace through the Holy Spirit as He continues to guide and empower us every day.
Gospel mentoring offers the realities of this power in the life-on-life pattern of mentoring. While typical mentoring may encourage the mentor to lead from their personal resources and strengths, Gospel mentoring allows the freedom for both people in the relationship to admit weaknesses and expect the grace of the Gospel to fill those holes and provide hope in difficult situations.
The following sections will focus on five specific areas of Gospel mentoring impact. They are not designed to be ironclad rules but rather principles for more effective relationships that stick together and point to Jesus and the power He has made available in these types of relationships.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Have you ever been mentored by someone? What was it like?
- Have you ever been a mentor? Did you feel pressure to ‘have it all together?’
- How does the Gospel empower you in this kind of relationship?
- What aspect of this kind of relationship would be most freeing for you?