The Importance of Mentoring in Leadership Development
“what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Ti 2:2)
Paul mentored Timothy. Timothy grew up hearing the Scriptures taught, participated in the life of the church, and went on missionary journeys. All of these were instrumental in his growth. But it was Paul’s mentoring of Timothy that prepared him for leadership. It prepared him for mentoring in two ways.
One, it allowed Timothy an inside look at the struggles and joys of ministry as he was with Paul during his ministry. He got to see the grace of God at work in sustaining Paul and his team through trial after trial after trial. God could be trusted. This wasn’t a doctrine he learned merely from hearing it taught from a pulpit, but a truth he embraced because he witnessed it in the life of Paul.
Two, it gave Timothy a model for ministry that he could pass on to others in such a way that would equip them to pass it on to others still. That’s what this verse above is about. This model is repeatable.
We need a Paul in our lives for these two reasons. We need a Paul to show us how the grace of God sustains and fuels our faith in the midst of the trials of life. And we need a Paul to model for us how we can minister to others.
Paul did not invent this method, either. Paul’s mentor was Barnabas. It was Barnabas who first led their missionary journeys. It wasn’t until Paul was ready did he take the lead.
Barnabas, Paul and Timothy are not the only models we see in Scripture. In the Old Testament we see David and Jonathan, whose friendship helped David to eventually grow into the King after God’s own heart. We also see Elijah and Elisha, the two prophets who faced impossible odds as they stood against the hordes of false prophets as well as the King and Queen of Israel. Elisha began as Elijah’s apprentice, as God instructed Elijah to take. Upon the conclusion of Elijah’s ministry, as a result, Elisha inherited a “double portion” of the spirit that rested on Elijah that he might continue the ministry. And, of course, the greatest model for mentoring is Jesus and his disciples. This was Jesus’ model to turn the world upside down.
So, who is your mentor(s)? And who are you mentoring?
The women of the church have a formal process for mentoring called Heart-to-Heart. As men, the mentoring that goes on is less formal. It’s there, but not often recognized as mentoring. As we roll-out the findings of our Leadership Development strategy, my prayer is to see mentoring become more intentionally practiced among the men. This is how we will see the future leaders of our church developed.
For the Kingdom,