Gospel Mentoring: Part Five – Engaging in Gospel Conversations
When I travel there are moments when I sense God clearly calling me to reach out and engage a stranger in a conversation. Sometimes they’re listening to music, sometimes reading a book, and sometimes they’re just sitting in silence looking off into space. These conversations are always great at pushing me to the Gospel. They always start with a prayer in my heart for God to give me courage and the right words to communicate love, acceptance and compassion for the other person and that the truth and the power of the Gospel would stay with them longer than I’ll be able to. While we’re talking I know that our time is probably short and I’m trying to genuinely learn about them, care for them and share with them for the sake of their next step with God, no matter what it is. This level of focus and intentionality comes easily for me in these kinds of conversations, but its much more difficult when I’m in the routine of my life, including mentoring relationships.
Gospel mentoring engages in Gospel conversations; not just surface level sharing. It has to start with prayer that doesn’t just want Jesus to show up but needs Him to. Without Jesus, you just have two people trying to navigate a life that is too big for them with challenges that are too hard for them. When we approach the throne before we meet, while we meet, and after we meet, there is a natural humility that comes into our perspective. Additionally, it reminds us that the Holy Spirit is actually in the conversation with us and we should be intentionally sensitive to His presence and input in the issues we are facing.
Oftentimes, this is where I struggle because in my pride I want to dispense truth, but Gospel conversations are bigger than being a truth-teller. Gospel mentors trust the Holy Spirit to be at work in the life of a mentoree and don’t jump in too quickly to replace Him in their lives. Additionally, there are significant questions that you may know the answers to but it would be healthy for the other person to come to that conclusion on their own.
This is also a key area for the mentor to model an attitude as a co-learner and fellow believer in need of the Gospel by sincerely listening to the mentoree rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak or constructing advice in advance. When we force ourselves to actively listen to the other person, we give the Holy Spirit opportunity to speak to us at the same time and in a way that filling up every moment with more words simply can’t provide.
It’s been said that love covers a multitude of sins and I would say that Gospel conversations cover a multitude of mentoring sins. We can mess up in a lot of areas but if we will jointly commit to having great conversations where listening to one another and the Spirit of God is clearly the priority, then we can build a deeper relationship and reliance on the power of the Gospel.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- What are the most engaging parts of conversation for you? (Listening, Talking, Observing)
- What is the difference between hearing someone and listening to them?
- How does the Gospel free you from the expectations of forming your next statement instead of listening?
- How important does this part of mentoring seem? How can you apply it’s importance in your mentoring relationships?