I want to preface this article by stating that I don’t know all there is to know on this topic. Through this written piece, I simply aim to share what I have learned from Scripture, my mentors and from my time as a mentor.
After answering the question of why spiritual mentorship is necessary in SPIRITUAL MENTORSHIP: A Call to all Christians (Previous article here), we will now look at how it’s done. In the article linked, we concluded the fact that the call Christ has given us to make disciples is much more than just sharing the gospel, helping individuals reach baptism and calling it a day – and thus, spiritual mentorship is a necessity.
This practice involves time, teaching, engaging the inclinations of the heart and redirecting them towards godliness, helping someone with the challenges faced in their day to day walk with Christ and more. The primary objective of the mentor is to help the mentee grow in their relationship with the Lord and with the day-to-day implications of that relationship. This involves showing people how to love and live for the Lord. The mentor-mentee relationship is characterized by sharing on both ends, and exchange of trust and honesty and the edification of both parties. The mentor is to be fully dependent on the Holy Spirit for discernment and insight as he/she navigates the relationship with their mentee(s).
Christ’s style of mentorship was very clear. He shared knowledge and principles with His words and actions. He taught them the way they were supposed to live by living it out Himself first. Spiritual mentorship is fully dependent on submission to Christ. The Apostle Paul explains the concept of spiritual mentorship well in the following texts:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.”
No one should serve as a mentor if not yet wholeheartedly sold-out for Jesus. Anything less than this can be very detrimental for the mentee and the mentor.
If you have read this far and still feel that the question of how mentorship is to be done is not fully answered, you are probably expecting a copy and paste strategy of sorts. If this is you, I’m sorry to say I will not be providing much of that. The only straight forward advice I can give you (that was given to me by one of my mentors), is not to take on too many mentees. You don’t want to be in a position where you over commit and under provide. In addition to that, I advise having same-sex mentor-mentee relationships. And that’s it. The reason I’m steering away from mapping out what the relationship dynamics should look like to the dot is because each mentor-mentee relationship will look different. The same way that the Truth reaches people in different ways, is the same way that people will require different approaches to grow within their knowledge of the Truth. This is one of the reasons it’s crucial for the mentee to be fully led by the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, helping other Christians grow should be a priority – and so we should all be doing this in one way or another. At the same time, each of us should be seeking help for ourselves from others, to assist us in our own growth. May God help us as we seek to improve in these areas.
By Cwayita Madala