apprenticeship

The Importance of Mentors

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In order to be successful in any area of life – family, business, religion, education, etc. – you NEED mentors. Mentors are men and women who are further along than you are in your respective field, and are willing to teach, encourage, and train you.

The Apostle Paul understood this powerful concept. He wrote about this exact subject to a young pastor that he personally mentored:

You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. – 2 Timothy 2:2

The use of mentors, especially in church leadership, causes exponential growth. As each person faithfully mentors a handful of people, each one of those students can then become mentors to another small group of people. Mentoring done right is an incredible cycle of growth and teaching. It is through this intentional, life-on-life process that disciples of Jesus Christ are formed and nurtured.

I am beginning a new season in my life that will be largely influenced by mentors. I have been accepted into the Kairos Project at Sioux Falls Seminary. This project will structure my education around three mentors: a faculty mentor, a ministry mentor, and a personal mentor.

Before even beginning this process, I have been meeting with a pastor on a monthly basis for growth and encouragement.

As I have been thinking through the benefits of mentors, I have two questions for you:

1. Who is your mentor?
Whether you desire to grow in business, family, religion, or a different area, you NEED to make it a TOP PRIORITY to meet on a regular basis with a mentor. As you meet with the mentor, come with a teachable attitude. Mentoring fails when the student is arrogant and refuses to learn from the experience and knowledge of the mentor.

2. Who are YOU mentoring?
We see that Paul’s instruction to Timothy includes teaching other people. Mentoring should be a cycle – you are taught so that you can teach others. Is there someone in your respective field that is inexperienced? Offer to buy them lunch and form a mentoring relationship with them.

If you are on staff at a church – Who can replace you? Good leadership is shown through the ability of being replaced easily. Being irreplaceable is simply a sign of failing leadership (Pastor, I am looking at YOU because we have an unhealthy tendency to rarely delegate which results in burnout and depression!)


What are some of the benefits you have experienced from mentors? Let me know by leaving a comment!

The Sacred Apprenticeship

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Have you apprenticed yourself to sin or to God? Are you experiencing death or renewal? Who is molding your life – is it the desires of your flesh or the Holy Spirit of God?

In Garretson, I am meeting with a great group of people every Tuesday afternoon to study the book of Romans. This work of literature is considered by many to be one of the most influential letters in all of history. In Romans, the Apostle Paul is explaining and clarifying the Gospel for a group of ancient believers in Rome. It was written over a thousand years ago but is extremely relevant for today.

In Romans 6, Paul makes the point that all of us are either slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. To look at this from another perspective, we all serve some type of master. This is true whether you are religious or not. You either serve the master of sin or the master of Christ.

Dave Seemuth, in his commentary on Romans, explains it this way….

 “In certain skilled crafts, an apprentice works under a master, who trains, shapes, and molds his apprentice in the finer points of his craft. All people choose a master and pattern themselves after him. Without Jesus, we would have no choice – we would have to apprentice ourselves to sin, and the results would be guilt, suffering, and separation from God. Thanks to Jesus, however, we can now choose God as our Master. Following him, we can enjoy new life and learn how to work for him. Are you still serving your first master, sin? Or have you apprenticed yourself to God?”

Below are three ways you can apprentice yourself to God.

  1. Spend time with Him!

It is truly strange that there is such a large number of Christians who think they can grow in their faith without ever seeking the God they claim to know. If we had the opportunity to meet our favorite celebrity, we would be willing to give up an entire week’s worth of sleep! How come we hit snooze on the alarm clock multiple times and forget meeting with the God who CREATED our favorite celebrity?

How can you possibly be trained, shaped, and molded by someone you never speak with?

Spend time THIS week seeking the God who made you. Be still and seek God through prayer and Scripture. (If you have never read the Bible, I recommend the Gospel of John as a good starting place!)

 

  1. Work from HIS wisdom!

An apprentice does not make up how to do the craft. You apprentice yourself to someone to specifically learn the set of skills you need to be successful. How often do Christians (me included) try to serve in ministry without seeking God for a proper understanding on how to do the work in the first place!

I think all Christians (and churches) are guilty of this in some degree. We are guilty of thinking we are “clever” enough to strategize our own way of doing ministry. Then, when things do not go as WE planned, we expect GOD to bless it!

The next time you make a decision, spend time seeking God’s direction! Instead of expecting God to bless YOUR “amazing” plan; seek to pattern your life and decisions after HIS wisdom.

 

  1. NEVER graduate!

The goal of a regular apprenticeship would be to learn the skill or craft and then venture out on your own. Unfortunately, many Christians have applied this type of thinking to their sacred apprenticeship. Christians begin their faith attending church, committed to community, and seeking God; then, out of pride and foolishness, they decide their too “spiritual” for these things.

Lack of accountability will ruin your life and demolish your integrity.

An apprenticeship with God lasts for all eternity. You will never graduate from the foundation of His Scriptures, the support of His Church, or the strength of His Spirit.

On a daily basis, seek to spend time with God, work from HIS wisdom, and NEVER graduate His apprenticeship as you “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” – 2 Cor. 3:18

 

Have you apprenticed yourself to God? If so, what are some other helpful disciplines to grow in the Christian faith? Leave a comment and let us know!