Discipleship

How to Develop a Mentoring Program

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Mentoring is an aspect of discipleship. It is important and imperative. In fact, this is the sum total of what the purpose of the Church is all about. Christ calls us to encourage and equip people so that we can all worship Christ and thus live out a real, effectual, impacted, Christian life.

Proverbs 18:24; Colossians 2:7; Hebrews 10:24-25

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7

Mentoring is an aspect of discipleship. It is important and imperative. In fact, this is the sum total of what the purpose of the Church is all about. Christ calls us to encourage and equip people so that we can all worship Christ and thus live out a real, effectual, impacted, Christian life. What you do not want is for your church people to simply be churchgoers who live for nothing and thus do nothing; rather, you want them to be partakers in the Kingdom. You should want your church to succeed in Christ; we do this by helping our people to hear and know the Word so we are all doers of His Word too. Guidance, learning, and support will make this work as we sharpen one another in love and obedience.

This is not just a call; it is a mandate that is imperative! It is, in fact, the most important thing Jesus asked us to do as believers and as a Church. Remember, Jesus' purpose for His three years of earthly ministry was the discipleship and equipping of the 12 Disciples. This was His drive and where most of His time was spent. He was focused on the teaching of the kingdom of God, teaching men to see beyond their present situation to the life to come. With His teaching, Jesus entrusted His church and people to the care of the people He taught. They were to replicate themselves to others. The objective was that every Believer was an equipper, every member a minister, every Christian involved in the life and gifts of the Body to influence the world.

All Christians need to follow the great Commission. We can do this by training and facilitating programs of Discipleship. More experienced and knowledgeable Christians can mentor younger ones in the faith. Older adults can help with younger adults, and older, more experienced couples with newer couples. Older high school students can help with elementary and junior high; college and young adults with the high school students and older adults helping in all age categories as primary caregivers and disciplers.

Making mentors and "mentees" is also making disciples; it takes vision and the understanding of Scripture. It gives the church a purpose to form leaders who grow other leaders as an outgrowth of their growth. The real, effectual Christian, especially the leader, who disciples and equips others is a person who is living the faith for him self and setting goals for his personal growth before he sets goals for others. His skills and abilities are growing him to be a better worker because first, he is striving to be a better child of God.

For anyone, especially youth, utilize adults who love the Lord; youth could be assigned another youth for whom they are responsible for care. Make sure communication is open, such as phone and personal contact once a month, and informal get-together times. Make sure one of these is on discipleship. Training and curriculum will be provided.

Why a Mentoring Program?

  • God calls us to do this! Matthew 28:16-20, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Galatians 6:1-10, Mark 1:35 - 2:12. These passages tell us discipleship and mentoring are not an option, but a command. We must follow out of obedience, and mentor in a multigenerational lifestyle, caring for the total person. It will move us from "just" praying to praying with care.
  • Maturity rose out of webs of relationships of older people interacting with and discipling the younger (John 1:36-52, Acts 10:10).
  • Acts 11-15 tells us leadership is about discipleship as Barnabas was with Paul.
  • The Gospels tell us the models Jesus used were mentoring and small groups.
  • John 15 tells us discipling and mentoring are lifestyles of personal dedication by our obedience; we see people being taught and equipped to live for Christ physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally, as well as spiritually.

The Goal of Mentoring

From the character of Christ will come the conduct of Christ-If we choose to follow Him. Then, those values of our daily walk, which drive our spiritual life and behaviors, will, in turn, influence others. We have to know that we cannot lead where we have not been, or go where we do not know the direction. This is why discipleship is so essential to the aspect of being a Christian.

  • We are called, not to just visualize mentorship, but to do it; not to just talk about it, but to do it. One cannot just think about dinner and satisfy hunger; the meal has to be prepared and then eaten!
  • The effective church will take Scripture and the call of our Lord seriously, and then implement it into a functioning mentoring program!
  • The end result will be spiritual maturity and personal growth that will spill over as greater service and glory to our Lord. A church becomes a force for the Kingdom as a life and a neighborhood are reached.

The effective church is one that is mentoring, building relationships, and teaching its members by other, caring people who are, themselves, being discipled, equipped, taught, encouraged, and led. The death of a church happens when we follow political trends-not the national politics, but the patriarchal personalities that want to control people, not disciple them. In addition, when we have a controlling attitude, we are not allowing God to control us, thus, we have become empty shells and hollow logs. Being hollow means we have nothing working within us; there is no Creator of the universe leading and directing our ways, so we become worthless to the Kingdom of God.

These are time-tested tips to consider. (This curriculum may be far more comprehensive than you need.)

  1. Pray and ask God for a vision and a plan.
  1. Develop a "Mission Statement."
  1. Write a Program Proposal.
    1. Start by reading through our material and/or doing research from other organizations.
    2. Get organized and lay out your plan and goals.
    3. You do not need to reinvent the wheel; use our materials or someone else's as long as it is biblical and good.
    4. Check out your denominational resources on the Web.
    5. See what other churches the sizes of yours are doing successfully.
    6. Now begin to develop ideas and goals and whatever else you need to do to get started.
    7. Do not be afraid to start small. There will be fear and apprehension, and it may take more than a year before it is accepted church-wide. Work on a few groups of mentors and build from there. Two good successes are far better than a couple of dozen failures.
  1. Create a committee or board (advisory council or steering committee.) for overseeing and a person or pastor to head it. Accountability and cooperation are key. Remember, many hands make light work!
  1. Work on a Budget.
    1. What are the other resources will you need (time, money, people)?
    2. What problems will you face? How will you solve them?
  1. Recruit and advertise.
    1. The job is to connect people to people, even those who may feel, and be, lonely and isolated. We must reach out as a team effort, linking people with introverted personalities, those who are reluctant at interacting with others, as well as with people who are more extroverted and do not have this problem.
    2. Have testimonies in church and people sitting at a table in the church lobby available to answer questions.
    3. Have an orientation and training with follow-up.
  1. Follow through with enlisting qualified, godly people into your program.
    1. Who are the adults and youth to whom you want to reach out?
    2. What significance do you want your program to make on the mentors?
    3. What impact do you want the "mentees" to have on the lives of any other of the people involved? From the Word? Church? Christian living?
    4. Where will the mentoring take place? What are the options? Formal? Informal? Up to the mentor?
    5. What existing programs do churches in your area have? Visit them; see what is good and usable, and what can be improved for your program.
    6. Who will be the people and staff (if you have the funding) to assist in your mentoring program? Do you need a consultant in developing your mentoring program?

For mentors:

a. Who are the potential mentors you want to recruit? Make a list and check them out. Get to know them before assigning! Perhaps have a contract for them to sign that states the vision of the program and the responsibilities.

b. The mentor agrees to participate and cooperate in the program for at least six to nine months preferably for the year.

c. They commit to be there for their mentee, and support the program in any way they can, prayer, monetary, time or...

d. Have a screening process to weed out harmful personalities and people with bad intentions. Check references, especially if they will work with youth. Check your church's insurance guidelines too.

e. Have some kind of matching process, such as shared interests, hobbies, and/or compatible temperaments.

f. Monitoring and supervision is a must for accountability, Q&A, and to prevent or solve any problems.

g. Provide more training, resources, and encouragement.

h. Do not forget to recognize your mentors, such as an annual banquet, thank-you notes, testimonies in the service, and/or a show of gratitude for their work.

For "mentees;"

a. The participants should have a desire to know Christ, be willing to grow in Christ, or be willing to have someone in their lives as a friend and guide. Never force this, unless this is some kind of needed intervention, and then make sure you have qualified, supervised people.

b. The "mentee" needs to commit to the program for a specified period of time such as six or nine months, so not to waste time or resources.

c. You can have a sixty- or ninety-day trial too. This is also to make sure that your match is workable. Sometimes personalities do not mix well and you have to switch people around.

d. The "mentee" agrees to participate and cooperate in the program.

e. You may consider having an application process.

  1. Provide the curriculum and ideas, perhaps a training manual (this series is your training manual).
    1. A simple job description may be necessary to define the purpose for the program and responsibilities.
    2. Listening, guided support, and teaching are core values for a successful mentoring program.
  1. Provide extra events and socials for multigenerational gatherings.
  1. Have celebrations to encourage and affirm people.
  1. Evaluate the program at least annually. Pray and seek ways to improve and solve problems.
  1. You can use the material from this curriculum and the article on mentoring to build your own manual and instruction. Sometimes you just need to do it, praying and working it out as you go.

Just as anyone can be a friend, anyone in Christ can be mentored or can be a mentor. This is a tough task, but it is very doable and effective for His Glory.

You and your People can be Mentors

Just as anyone can be a friend, anyone in Christ can mentor. We cannot expect only a select few to take up this call and imperative, and we do not need to be spiritual giants to do the work. We just need to be authentic in Christ, be willing to learn and grow as one of His disciples, and reproduce our knowledge and experience to others. Many people may fear this, thinking that are not good enough or even unable; perhaps they feel anxious when it comes to reaching out to someone for the faith. Being a mentor or a "mentee" requires a big step of faith that many do not want to take. But you can! Therefore, the excuses pile on top of and over our responsibility. That is a flaw in our human nature, our sinful nature. If we all just sit in the pew and expect someone else to disciple others, we are disrespecting our Lord and ignoring His caring command. When no one teaches or shares the Christian experience and life, what are you doing in church? Nothing is more important, according to our Lord. Having a mentoring program must be priority one!

Check out some passages that tell us discipleship and mentoring are not an option, but a command: Matthew 28:16-20; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Galatians 6:1-10; Mark 1:35 - 2:12. We must follow out of our obedience and mentor in a multigenerational lifestyle, caring for the total person. This will move us from just playing church, to really being a church.

1999, 2008, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools, www.discipleshiptools.org

Into Thy Word 2007
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