It’s the high school football coach who drove us to not settle for mediocrity. It’s the school teacher who saw our gifts and challenged us to develop them. It’s the youth pastor who took us on the mission trip that opened our eyes to the world around us. It’s the leader who engages us, pushing us to do and be better.
It’s the mentor—the people in our lives who deepen our walks with Jesus, push us to be better, and disciple us in maturity.
Webster’s Dictionary defines mentorship as “the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor.” A mentor carries the appropriate balance of encouragement and development. Hebrews 13:7 is a verse that speaks to directly mentorship. It reads, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
alf and Johnny
In the hills of East Tennessee live two Gideons—Alf Taylor and Johnny Molloy. They have had a mentoring relationship for many years, building a lifetime of partnering together in serving the Lord. “I understand the value of mentorship, because I have been on the receiving end,” says Johnny.
Johnny believes building the relationship is key. This is accomplished by doing things like fishing together, going to ball games, and spending time building a rapport with each other. “There is a spiritual component to it, but also a relationship-building aspect, in being there for each other,” says Johnny.
“I understand the value of mentorship, because I have been on the receiving end.” —Johnny Molloy
Johnny looks up to several men who have served the Lord faithfully for decades. He has seen the value of mentorship through their faithfulness that is genuine, based on a love for Christ and His glory. “These men are titans of the Christian faith,” says Johnny. His faith has grown exponentially since joining The Gideons and serving the Lord with these men of deep faith.
One time, after wondering who the person would be to speak at a church on behalf of The Gideons International, Alf told Johnny, “You are going to do this Gideon service in our church.” After that day, Alf joined Johnny for several church presentations in their area, mentoring him and helping him grow in his knowledge of ministry of The Gideons.
“I want my life to be held accountable, because I want to always be better,” says Johnny. “I want to be a better servant today than I was yesterday.”
There is a give and take in the relationships we build—being poured into and then turning around and pouring into others. Alf invested in Johnny; and similarly, Johnny is working with new Gideons as well—building relationships with these men, encouraging their walk in Christ, and mentoring them. Why? To reach the end goal of looking more and more like Jesus every day.
mentors in the bible
Scripture is full of narratives that show a biblical model of mentor relationships. The driving factor is missional living that develops your faith and points people to Christ. Consider the following examples:
Moses and Joshua. In Deuteronomy 31, Moses summoned Joshua and told him, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:7-8)
Naomi and Ruth. In the first chapter of Ruth, we read about a conversation between Ruth and Naomi. “But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.’ And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.” (Ruth 1:16, 18)
Jesus and His Disciples. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus mentoring His disciples. He told them, “’Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (Matthew 4:19-20)
These biblical examples of mentorship provide insight into how the Holy Spirit works through a Godly mentor to invest into another person. The end result is for the person being mentored to look more and more like Jesus every day.
“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 (ESV)
As Christ followers, every aspect of our lives should be grounded in God’s Word. With that understanding, the second chapter of Titus provides a great model of mentorship. Click HERE to download The Titus 2 Model of Mentorship resource to learn more.