DEVELOPING MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS

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1 DEVELOPING MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS

2 SESSION ONE MENTORING RELATIONSHIPS The length of time that a person is a Christian does not indicate the person s spiritual maturity. On the one hand, a new Christian may grow rapidly and become spiritually mature in a short period of time. On the other hand, a person may be a Christian for many years, but still remain spiritually immature. One important factor in this difference in rates of spiritual growth is mentoring relationships. A mentoring relationship is a relationship for the purpose of encouraging spiritual growth. When a Christian experiences spiritual growth in most cases he or she is involved in one or more relationships with other people who encourage the person to grow spiritually. But when a Christian fails to grow spiritually over a long period of time, in most cases there is a lack of involvement in mentoring relationships. There are many types of mentoring relationships: horizontal and vertical relationships, informal and formal relationships, pairs and small groups, and even distance relationships. In this session you will learn about these different kinds of mentoring relationships. You will also learn how you can use these different types of relationships to encourage other people to grow spiritually. Small Group Discussion 1. Read Acts 9:17-27 and Acts 11: How did the Christians in Jerusalem respond to the news that Saul had become a Christian? 3. How did Barnabas respond to the news that Saul had become a Christian? 4. Whose response helped Saul to grow spiritually? Why? In Acts 9:17-27, while Saul was in Damascus he became a believer in Jesus and was baptized. When Saul returned to Jerusalem the other Christians there were afraid of him. Before Saul became a Christian he had persecuted Christians. The other Christians could not believe that Saul had suddenly changed from one who opposed Christians to a person who witnessed boldly for Jesus Christ. However, Barnabas believed in God s power to change Saul. So Barnabas brought Saul to the apostles who were the leaders of the church in Jerusalem. Barnabas encouraged Saul to grow spiritually because Barnabas saw Saul s potential. He believed not only that Saul could follow Jesus, but also that Saul could become a leader in the church. Later, according to Acts 11, a new church was beginning in Antioch. Barnabas traveled to Tarsus to find Saul and bring him back to Antioch. Then Barnabas and Saul worked together to teach the new Christians in Antioch. This is another example of how Barnabas encouraged Saul to grow spiritually.

3 Small Group Discussion 1. Has someone been Barnabas for you to encourage you to grow spiritually? 2. Who are you Barnabas for now? Who are you encouraging to grow spiritually? Horizontal and Vertical Mentoring Relationships In every relationship you can encourage the other person to grow spiritually. Spiritual growth can take place both in horizontal relationships, when people consider one another to be equals, and in vertical relationships, when one person is considered to be superior and to the other person. Examples of horizontal relationships are friendships, teams and clubs, and some contemporary marriages. Examples of vertical relationships include parentchild relationships, boss-employee relationships, older brother-younger brother relationships, senpai-kohai relationships and traditional marriages. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Paul advises, Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity. In order to encourage another person to grow spiritually you must give him or her the proper degree of respect in the relationship. You must speak and act towards a superior as you would toward your parents, with humility and respect. It is inappropriate to act as though you are superior to those that society considers superior to you. On the other hand, you must speak and act towards a junior with kindness and concern, as if he is your younger brother. To be harsh and unkind towards those with lower status than you does not show Christ-like love and concern. In your relationships with equals you should have warmth, trust and openness. Try to relate with those who are equals as you would with your friends. Formal and Informal Mentoring Relationships The degree of formality and informality in mentoring relationships is determined by the location of the meeting and the preparation for the meeting. In general, the more casual the location of the meeting is the more informal the relationship becomes. Also, the greater the preparation is the more formal the relationship becomes. For example, if you meet with a person at restaurant to talk over lunch and prepare very little for the meeting, this is an informal mentoring relationship. On the other hand, if you meet with a group of people for a Bible class that you have prepared in advance to teach, this is a formal mentoring relationship. In most mentoring relationships there is a combination of both formal and informal elements of mentoring. In your small group, for example, you may serve as the ministry leader. When you prepare, train and lead other small group members in doing ministry you

4 are participating in a formal mentoring relationship. But when you meet with other small group members for a meal and fellowship, you are participating in an informal mentoring relationship. The most effective approach to mentoring will combine elements of both formal and informal mentoring relationships. Sometimes you will need to encourage other people to grow spiritually using materials that you have prepared in advance. This could be in a variety of settings, such as a Bible study, worship, a ministry project, or a meeting for intercessory prayer. At other times you will need to encourage other people to grow spiritually in a spontaneous way through every day conversation. This may take place during a meal, while you are traveling together, or while talking on the telephone. Any time that you are encouraging another person to advance in his or her relationship with Jesus, mentoring is taking place. Pair and Small Group Mentoring Relationships Effective mentoring may take place in either a one-to-one relationship (pair mentoring) or with a small group. One example of pair mentoring is when a person follows up the decision of another person s decision to become a Christian. The most effective immediate follow-up for a new Christian is done one-on one or one-on-two. This allows the opportunity to deal with specific questions and issues that the new believer in Christ is facing. Other examples of one-to-one mentoring may include training in a specific area, such as prayer, Bible study, witnessing or leadership. Informal pair mentoring takes place when you talk with one other person in order to encourage the other person or one another spiritually. This could be during a meal, at a coffee shop, during a break at work, or any other time and place that two people could meet together. Small group mentoring takes place when a group of people meet together to encourage one another spiritually. Small group mentoring will always include fellowship. It may also include worship, Bible study, prayer, evangelism or ministry. It may be informal or formal. In most cases, one or more people will lead the group. When their leading the group activity calls for advanced preparation, the small group mentoring is formal. When little or no preparation is necessary the small group mentoring is informal. Both pair and small group mentoring should be mutually beneficial. In other words, through the relationship each person is encouraged to grow spiritually. The responsibility of the leader is to lead the group in a way that allows each participant to have the opportunity to experience spiritual growth. In order for this to take place, each participant must have the opportunity to speak and the responsibility to listen. An environment must develop in which each person senses that he or she has value, is loved, and can show love to others. When people are able to open their hearts and share their real thoughts and feelings without fear, and when everyone encourages every one else, all of the participants are likely to experience spiritual growth.

5 Distance Mentoring Relationships Distance mentoring relationships take place when people use a means of communication other than meeting together for the mentoring relationship. This may include such means as telephone, and internet chat rooms. There are some cases when mentoring may take place exclusively through distance relationships. This may occur when those involved in the mentoring relationship live in different cities or even different countries so that they do not have the opportunity to meet together. More often distance mentoring takes place as one aspect of a mentoring relationship. This occurs when people who meet together for mentoring also with one another by other means such as telephone and . In today s fast paced world where so much communication takes place by cell phone and , distance communication is likely to become one aspect of most mentoring relationships. There will be many occasions when you will want to talk and even pray together with people you are mentoring by cell phone, and internet chat rooms. Be careful to do this in a way that you do not release private information about yourself or another person. Protection of privacy is necessary to maintain openness and trust in mentoring relationships. Personal Application 1. Write down the names of people that you have a mentoring relationship with. Beside each name answer the following two questions. (1) What aspect(s) of spiritual growth are you encouraging in the other person? (2) What aspect of spiritual growth are you experiencing through the relationship? 2. Plan to meet with someone this week to encourage spiritual growth. This may be either pair mentoring or small group mentoring. It may be either informal or formal. However, you do need to have the goal that those who participate will be encouraged to grow spiritually. Do whatever advanced preparation you need to provide an opportunity for encouragement and spiritual growth. 3. Carry out your plan for mentoring this week. 4. Be prepared to talk about what God taught you through this experience at the next training session.

6 SESSION TWO CHARACTERISTICS OF A MENTOR Small Group Discussion 1. What did you learn through the personal application of session one? 2. Read John 5: Describe how meeting Jesus changed Simon s life. Before he met Jesus, Simon worked as a fisherman with Zebedee his father, Andrew his brother, and their partners, James and John. As a result of meeting Jesus, Simon realized that he was a sinner. He saw that he was living a selfish life and that his life did not honor God. After he met Jesus, Simon turned away from his old way of life and began a new life as Jesus disciple. Jesus was a catalyst who caused Simon to change his way of life. A catalyst is a person who encourages change. Simon had grown up in a fisherman s family and learned the fishing trade from his father. Simon, most likely, expected to live his whole life as a fisherman. Simon continued to live as a fisherman until Jesus came along and encouraged him to begin a new way of life. Jesus role as a catalyst was necessary for Simon to change. A mentoring relationship is a relationship for the purpose of encouraging spiritual growth. For this spiritual growth to take place, at least one person in the group must serve as a catalyst. This catalyst must encourage people not to continue to live in the same way that have always lived. The catalyst must encourage the other people in the group to change spiritually. The catalyst that encourages spiritual change in a mentoring relationship is called a mentor. In this session we will look at six characteristics that are needed for effectiveness as a catalyst or mentor in a mentoring group. You will be encouraged to evaluate the degree to which you have these characteristics. Finally, you will begin to take steps towards growth in order to become a more effective mentor. Six Characteristic of a Mentor 1. Spiritual Growth A mentor leads by example. Other people will learn more by watching your actions than they will by hearing your words. Paul instructed Timothy, Don t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). In order to encourage others to read the Bible, pray and witness, you must be doing all of these things on a regular basis. In order to encourage other people to be Christ-like in their speech, love and actions, you must be Christ-like. In order to encourage other people to grow spiritually, you must be growing spiritually.

7 2. Self-Awareness A mentor is aware of his own SHAPE, and uses his SHAPE as a basis for encouraging others to grow spiritually. Your SHAPE includes your spiritual gifts, passion to serve, abilities, personality and experience. God has provided you with your SHAPE in order to prepare you in a unique way so that you can encourage other people to grow towards spiritual maturity. According to Ephesians 4:12-13, the purpose of your SHAPE is to prepare God s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. To learn more about your SHAPE see the Toolbox unit Prepared by God to Serve. 3. Discernment A mentor listens to other people with an open heart. He tries to understand the other person s spiritual, emotional and physical condition. Then he responds to the other person on the basis of that person s needs. God s Word instructs us, Love must be sincere.... Share with God s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.... Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:9, 13, 15). A mentor does try to train everyone on the basis of a preplanned curriculum. Rather, he feeds the hunger in the other person s soul. The mentor brings spiritual health by healing the hurting heart. Beginning at the other person s point of need, he encourages spiritual growth. 4. Flexibility A mentor is capable of adapting to the time, location and training method that is most suitable to the needs of the other person. Rather than insisting that spiritual growth be based on one training method or curriculum used at the same place at the same time, the mentor is willing to meet people where they are. This may lead to a combination of training approaches that is both formal and informal, horizontal and vertical, pair, small group and distance. It may lead to meeting with people in restaurants, coffee shops, train stations and community centers. It will necessitate the use of a variety of materials and methods that encourage spiritual growth. This flexible approach to training must be carried out while keep three principles in mind: (1) The training is based on the Bible. (2) The training meets the spiritual needs of the people involved. (3) The training leads to spiritual growth through practical application of the principles in God s Word. 5. Service A mentor serves the people he is encouraging. His example is Jesus who washed His disciples feet. Jesus said, Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you (John 13:14-15). Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus

8 (Philippians 2:3-5). When you serve other people in the same way that Jesus did, you are allowing Jesus to serve other people through you. You become Jesus hands to meet the needs of a hurting world, whether you are feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or being a friend to those who are lonely and in need of encouragement. This is how you can obey Jesus command to love others in the same way that Jesus has loved us. If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:12). 6. Encourager A mentor encourages other people to excel. He is willing to take a subordinate role if this enables another person to achieve greatness for God s glory. For example, John the Baptist said of his relationship with Jesus, He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30). Another biblical example is Barnabas who encouraged Saul to grow spiritually until Saul was ready to lead. Then Barnabas allowed Saul to become the leader in their missionary work while Barnabas continued to work with Saul as his assistant (Acts 13:1-12). Your effectiveness as a mentor will not be measured by the power, influence and honor that you achieve for yourself. Rather, your effectiveness will be measured by the spiritual maturity of those who have a mentoring relationship with you. Small Group Application 1. Evaluate your character as a mentor each of the following areas on a 1-5 scale: 1=weak, 2=fair, 3=average, 4=good, 5=excellent. (1) Spiritual growth (2) Self-awareness (3) Discernment (4) Flexibility (5) Service (6) Encourager 2. Discuss ways that you can help each other to become stronger in areas of weakness. 3. Conclude with a time of prayer for one another. Personal Application 1. Plan to meet with someone this week to encourage spiritual growth. This may be either pair mentoring or small group mentoring. Do whatever advanced preparation you need to provide an opportunity for encouragement and spiritual growth. 2. Carry out your plan for mentoring this week. 3. After the mentoring meeting evaluate your mentoring character again as you did in the small group evaluation. 4. For each area of weakness write down one or two things that you plan to do to grow in these areas.

9 5. Be prepared to talk about what God taught you through this experience at the next training session.

10 SESSION THREE MENTORING EVALUATION Small Group Discussion 1. What did you learn through the personal application in session two? 2. Read Matthew 28: What was Jesus goal for His disciples? Jesus called twelve men to become His disciples. Yet Jesus goal was not only for these twelve men to follow Him. Jesus goal was to encourage these twelve men to grow spiritually to the point that they could make disciples. Jesus plan was to teach His disciples so that they could teach others. Jesus said, Teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:20). Paul instructed Timothy, The things that you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others (2 Timothy 2:2). Paul said that he had taught Timothy so that Timothy could teach others what he had learned. Timothy was to teach others in a way that those who learned from Timothy would be able to teach others. The goal of training disciples is to develop disciples who can train other disciples. In the same way, the goal of mentoring is to develop spiritually mature Christian who can mentor other people to become mature Christians. In this way, discipleship training and mentoring are two words for the same thing. Mentoring relationships are an effective method for doing discipleship training. In order to find out if you are reaching your goal in mentoring relationships, you need to do a basic evaluation. This evaluation is based on four questions. While session two called for an evaluation of the mentor, this evaluation requires you to look closely at the persons who are receiving the mentoring. 1. Is the other person(s) growing spiritually? Does the other person pray and read his Bible regularly? Does he gather with other Christians for worship and fellowship? Does he witness and participate in ministry activities? Does his character reflect the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-25? 2. Is the other person(s) serving other people on the basis of his spiritual gifts? Does the other person have a growing awareness of his SHAPE? Is he serving other people on the basis of his SHAPE? Is his SHAPE -based ministry helping other people to grow spiritually? 3. Is the other person(s) develop the character of a mentor? Is the other person growing in the areas of discernment, flexibility, service and encouragement? Is he giving rather than only receiving? Is his heart filled with the love of Christ for other people? Is he sensitive to their needs? Does he allow his hands to be used by Jesus to meet the needs of

11 others? 4. Is the other person(s) mentoring other people? Is the other person continually looking for people that he can encourage to grow spiritually? Is he mentoring you? Is the other person involved in mentoring relationships with other people? Are the people that he is involved in mentoring relationships with growing spiritually? The onset of each of these four criteria will usually appear in a regular succession. As the next criterion appears all of the prior criteria should continue. In other words, first the person will begin to grow spiritually. Then, while she continues to grow spiritually, she will begin to use her spiritual gifts to serve other people. Next, while continuing to grow spiritually and use her spiritual gifts, the other characteristics of a mentor will begin to appear and develop. Finally, the person will begin to mentor others. Over time the mentoring relationship will change, but the relationship will not end. A mentoring relationship is similar to a parent-child relationship. When the child is young he needs the parents to help him with everything. When the child grows up, he can live independently. But he still turns to his parents for advice, help or encouragement in times of need. As the child grows older he matures to the point that he can also assist his parents. The time may come when you stop meeting with a person on a regular basis to encourage spiritual growth. But you will still meet or talk occasionally when the person needs advice or encouragement. There will also be times when the person that you helped to grow spiritually will be able to help you. She will be like a grown daughter who helps her aging parents! Small Group Application 1. Talk about one of your mentoring relationships. Evaluate it one the basis of the four criteria in session three. Which level is the person(s) you are mentoring on? 2. Share ideas on how each person could encourage the person(s) he is mentoring to develop to the next level of maturity. 3. Conclude with a time of prayer for each other. Personal Application 1. Talk with persons you are mentoring about their level of spiritual maturity. Ask them how you can encourage them to move to the next level of spiritual maturity. 2. Make a specific plan with the persons of how you will help them to grow spiritually. 3. Begin to carry out your plan together. Reflection 1. What did you learn about developing mentoring relationships through this study?

12 2. What questions do you have about developing mentoring relationships? 3. What is your plan to share what you learned about developing mentoring relationships with another person?

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