After hosting and then saying goodbye to a young person, who had spent the afternoon with us; I was struck with this idea of influence. We influence everyone we come into contact with, We also influence people unknowingly.
And how we treat people is more important than what we teach. How we teach is more important than what we teach. This is a very hard word for teachers to hear who have excellence as their goal.
Think about Jesus as a teacher. He is the best person and best teacher.
He could teach the Law or The Torah pedantically. He could preach in the streets. And he could accommodate himself to the liturgical customs of the local synagogues and bring a message from the scrolls there.
But he also taught in many other ways, like parables and stories. He also mixed doing with teaching, as in doing healings, deliverances and miracles. He also taught through questioning his listeners.
Why would the way we teach, train, model, mentor or disciple people not be the way that Jesus did it? We have done it our way and wondered why it has not worked very well. Jesus needs to be Savior, Lord and King of how we live, influence and teach.
The younger generations need mentoring. They need Jesus style mentoring. Something has been missing.
Mentoring is different than the way we have been teaching.
The younger generations have been taught, preached at, lectured, admonished, rebuked, encouraged and entertained. But, their leaders, their teachers, their elders and their parents have failed to influence them the way that Jesus did with his disciples.
What do I mean or or how has this happened?
We have neglected taking up Jesus' style and ways. Influence through mentoring has become a lost art for many Christians.
We have been failing to disciple people. Why? Because, in a nut-shell, we say to our learners, "Do as I say and not as I do". This does not work well and is called hypocrisy. This is the charge that Jesus leveled at the elite teachers.
This is a profound insight about influence. People will do what you do more than believe what you say.
The Christian life is more about being and doing than educational knowledge.
I have probably had hundreds of teachers, from kindergarten through the present. The handful that I remember, loved me in some fashion: They came into my personal space or invited me into theirs and expressed genuine caring.
The fruit of the Spirit is more important than knowledge or the gifts of the Spirit.
Mentoring is when you live with someone. Many of us are not able to take on a mentorship where we live with someone to learn life from them.
Mentoring means living together, sharing life: teaching and learning how to live, do and be; close up.
Mentoring involves caring and sharing, living and being together. Mentoring involves more listening and less talking: Hearing stories and sharing stories.
Lots of patience.
Walking beside a person.
Helping the other person discover who God made them to be and what the dreams are that God has put in their hearts.
Mentoring involves working together, playing together and a lot of eating together: Walking together and praying together with a lot of questions. And good mentors are able to say, "I don't know, but I will walk with you".
Influence is something that we do, whether we like it or not. Influence is a responsibility for which we are accountable for. Many methods of influence do not work well in that they do not touch the heart and form a life towards God.
Mentoring is what is missing. Jesus mentored his learners but many learners are not mentored by us. Instead, we keep using methods that do not make people have lives for God.
A simple definition of mentoring is guiding people, in their lives, from beside them.