To quote John Donne and to disagree with the song by Simon and Garfunkel, “no man is an island.” We need one another and that is the beauty of the Body of Christ. The mature Christian who has walked with the Lord for some time has the responsibility of finding and then mentoring/discipling the young Christian. In the same way, the young Christian has the responsibility of seeking out mature Christian(s) who they can learn from and grow together with. As followers of Jesus Christ, we must constantly seek out mentoring relationships both in terms of mentoring others and being mentoring ourselves. I met a man yesterday who told me that we really don’t need to attend church because church is anywhere you go where you meet with another Christian. Of course there is some truth to that, but often people who hold to such a view are not willing to commit themselves to a local body of believers because they don’t want the accountability and commitment that comes along with church membership. I won’t belabor this point, but to put it simply, we need the church and we need one another – meaning, we need fellow believers in our lives. The author of Hebrews put it this way. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) If you are interested in a mentoring relationship, here are some general guidelines that I have adapted from chapter 13 of “The Mentoring Relationships You Need To Succeed In Life,” by Paul Stanley and Robert Clinton.
1. Establish the mentoring – meaning, develop the relationship.
2. Jointly agree on the purpose of the relationship – this could be something like “to grow together in the knowledge and obedience of Christ.”
3. Determine the regularity of the interaction – you have to make this a priority or other things will inevitably creep in.
4. Determine the type of accountability – how will you keep each other accountable?
5. Set up communication mechanisms – make sure you are free to challenge one another – even the mentoree to challenge the mentor. Often we need to be rebuked and corrected.
6. Clarify the level of confidentiality – make sure both parties understand what is confidential and what is not.
7. Set the life cycle of the relationship – most mentoring relationships don’t last for years and years and as you know our lives are constantly changing.
8. Evaluate the relationship from time to time – is the purpose of the relationship being realized?
9. Modify expectations to fit the real-life mentoring situation – unfulfilled expectations can damage the relationship quickly, so make sure you are on the same page and make adjustments as needed.
10. Bring closure to the mentoring relationship – this is a new opportunity to seek out other mentoring relationships.