When I first started this blog in February, I started it with the goal to encourage those who wanted to start in Ministry or serve God to do so God’s way and not their own or man’s way. I have seen that it’s not enough to have a goal, a vision or even a passion, what is most crucial is that we have a God-given anointing to do that particular work. After I posted my first post On when to start your ministry on Linkedin, I received a response that read along the following lines ...”not until you have sat under a leadership figure”. I felt so aggravated when I read this because I felt that
- this individual had no idea where I was coming from and what I was trying to say and I even wondered whether he had read the blog post or not and
- I felt that you don’t need any other leadership figure apart from Holy Spirit.
But even as I brushed this comment underneath my proverbial carpet, it must have been churning around somewhere in the depths of my mind before working itself into my spirit because I suddenly began to let this thought slowly see daylight again, it wasn’t until I re-blogged the following post that I sat down and examined what the Holy Spirit was saying to me.
Question: do you need to have someone with more experience supporting you in your ministry?
Answer: Yes, I really think that you do.
However, I don’t think it’s as simple as going to your local church or Pastor and asking to follow him/her around like a lapdog. I think there is a big difference between becoming a replica or a shadow of someone else to becoming the person that God wants You to be.
Why do I think that we should seek support in our ministry?
First and foremost I think it’s biblical, no matter how anointed we feel we are there is always a training ground where God brings people into our life that will support and minister to us. If I think back to Saul and David even though they were both anointed God gave them Samuel, even Samuel had to be ‘under’ the tutelage of Eli. Elisha had Elijah to tutor him, the disciples had Yeshua and Yeshua then commanded them to go out and make even more disciples. I believe that these discipleship chains are purposeful physically as they give us hands on knowledge and experience but also spiritually as the wisdom and the anointing of that individual is in a sense ‘passed down’ to their mentee, I believe that this acts as a training ground so that each generation is spiritually stronger than the last.
Secondly, it is a sign of humility and a desire to learn as much as you possibly can so that you will be as effective as you can possibly be in your ministry. If we feel that we know everything that we need to then we are limiting ourselves and as such we are limiting how God is able to use us, we need to accept that we don’t know everything and that there is still so much more that we could learn. The Bible gives us a great example of this in Gehazi Elisha’s servant (mentee), who because of his own pride and assurance of his own knowledge acted in his own self-will which resulted in him suffering leprosy. This is a marked contrast from Elisha, who lovingly followed and learnt from Elijah and was given a double anointing of his spirit.
Thirdly, a good mentor will have more experience and knowledge than you have therefore, they should be seen as an invaluable resource of wisdom (application of knowledge to everyday situations).
Proverbs 19: 20 – Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.
Proverbs 12: 15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise.
Proverbs 13: 10 – Only by pride comes strife: but with the well advised is wisdom.
What should we expect from a good mentor?
I think the most important thing we should look for in a mentor is anointing, that individual MUST BE a born-again Child of God, not simply by what they say but by their fruits. It doesn’t matter if that person holds a Phd in Divinity or Theology, if they think that they are the world’s best theologian, philosopher or teacher what matters most is that they have been affirmed and chosen by God if God chose a humble shepherd to be King over Israel and Yeshua chose fisherman and tax collectors, why should we look at the outwards signs of righteousness? We should ask God to let us see how He sees and not the other way around.
Secondly, your mentor should have a similar anointing to you they should be a kindred-spirit. God makes us all unique but even in our uniqueness there are similarities, for example in my walk I have come across many people who have a calling to help those who are sick in some way, God has given us a similar spirit to reach those who are broken or hurt, we have a different spirit to those who have been called to become missionaries etc. Each part of the body of Messiah has a different work to perform and as such requires a different anointing to perform it, we can not expect an arm to understand how the leg works or any eye to be the same as a hand, therefore we must ask God to lead us to someone who will help us to grow in our area of anointing. This does not mean that we can’t take support from any others but that we should be aware that their perspective and their focus is different but complimentary to our own.
Thirdly, your mentor has to be called into mentoring at that time; they should feel a strong desire or attraction to mentor and as such they will be looking for that special someone to pass on their knowledge to. You will find that some people have knowledge that they just don’t want to share, don’t look to these people to mentor you as they will always be holding something back their interest is to keep you always behind them. You want to find someone who will help you and support you in finding your own unique calling, and as such this will not affect your mentor at all unless you are a dubious person who just wants to steal your mentor’s ideas and use them for your own. However, as mentioned previously we have the example of Gehazie to illustrate how God repays such people.
The attitude of a good mentor can be found in the pages of God’s word:
2 Timothy 2: 2 – And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
1 Peter 5: 1-5 – So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
1 Thessalonians 2: 8 – So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.
Fourthly, I don’t believe that you should ‘pay’ your mentor but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t repay them in some way. You’re mentor may be a ‘coach’, but they should not be coaching you, the relationship between a mentor and a mentee is totally different and as such is not something that you should buy. A mentor can still be a paid coach to others, whilst in a sense being drawn into a unique relationship with you because this relationship is more of a discipleship or apprenticeship, it is a divine conventional relationship where God is intimately placing you together to create something beautiful. If this person you approach requires payment, then the chances are that this person isn’t the right person for you but you may still wish for them to coach you.
Proverbs 15:31-33 (KJV)
The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
In conclusion, I think as those interested in ministry we should begin to ask God to lead us to our mentor. If you have already had a biblical mentoring experience maybe you are finding that God is calling you to find your own mentee. I have been thinking about my own mentor, wherever they are thinking about all the things that I will learn and be able to use to bless others, maybe they are even now longingly searching for someone to pass down their own knowledge and wisdom to, but I know in due time God will lead me to them.
Have you received mentoring, how has it benefited you? Or maybe you are a mentor, what one lesson could you pass down?
Other posts you might enjoy
useful resources on mentoring