Making Disciples – The Mentoring Process

by Lee Buford on September 13, 2010

I’m really excited about the discipleship initiatives we kicked off this week at Renewal Church. Yesterday we began a new series, The Discipleship Experiment, and this weekend we will hold our first Multiplying Disciples Summit. I am trusting God to do some BIG things in and through both of these to bring us closer to Him and give us a better understanding of what He’s commanded us to do…go make disciples (Mattew 28:19).

One particular piece of making disciples that is near and dear to me is the concept of mentoring. It is vital that we all have a mentor, someone we can look to for guidance, wisdom, encouragement, and accountability along our journey to be more like Christ. In fact, having several of them is ideal, but at least ensure you have one to start. It is also vital that we are willing to mentor others. The one-on-one time spent in discussion, prayer, and study is something that cannot be duplicated in a group setting.

I’m not an expert on the subject matter of mentoring, but I can tell you first-hand that it works. It has worked for me. It currently works for me. It works for others, and it will work for you too.

I have one friend/mentor that I meet with on a weekly basis, often over lunch at one of our favorite local restaurants. We spend a lot of time talking about all aspects of life, but the majority of our time is spent talking about God. Not about what we are doing as disciples, or as Christian men, but about God…God Himself.

I’m going to share more about that relationship and mentoring focus in an upcoming post, but I wanted to share three things I have learned are essential to effective mentoring relationships, and why I believe they are essential to making disciples:

Intimacy

A one-on-one setting encourages an intimacy that’s often missing in group settings. Bonds are developed…true friendships with brothers or sisters, and these friendships foster a higher level of trust and confidence between individuals. Intimacy breeds a willingness to go deeper and be transparent. Intimacy allows us to truly love and care about the other person enough to make the investment.

Depth

The intimacy created in such a relationship provides the foundation for a deeper, more meaningful relationship. And not only is there greater depth to the relationships, but there is a much greater depth to key topics discussed and studied. There is a greater depth to the desire to get to know and be more like Christ. Depth is maturity in the Christian faith, and we should seek to go as deep as God will take us on a daily basis.

Transparency

Digging incredibly deep into your personal relationship with God and your understanding of exactly Who He Is, with a person you have an immense amount of trust and respect for, yields perhaps the key component to the mentoring and discipleship process:  transparency. Without transparency no mentoring relationship will work, especially not one intended to make and grow disciples. Transparency allows for accountability, and ensures both parties are able to move past any boundaries that could inhibit the process of growth. There are no secrets. There are no limits.

As I mentioned, these are three key aspects of the mentoring process, but only three. There are certainly others, and you may have a couple to add from your own experience.

What aspects, or key characteristics, of an effective mentoring process have you found to be vital to the process? How have these proven helpful for and/or others?

 

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